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France will not raise flu alert level, says health minister

Video by Shirli SITBON

Text by NEWS WIRES

Latest update : 2009-06-12

France's Health Minister Roselyne Bachelot says the spread of swine flu across France is too moderate to justify raising the country's alert level, despite the World Health Organisation's decision to declare a global pandemic.

AFP - France will not follow the World Health Organisation's lead and raise its swine flu alert from a level five to six, the health minister said Thursday.
   
"With 73 registered cases of type A flu, France can remain at a level 5A," said Roselyne Bachelot, who was taking part in a forum on bioethics in the western city of Rennes.
   


Bachelot was reacting to a decision by the WHO on Thursday to declare a swine flu pandemic after the infection spread to 74 countries, triggering the first global flu epidemic in four decades.
   
WHO director-general Margaret Chan said in Geneva that the UN body had decided to raise the pandemic alert level from five to six.
   
Bachelot said the WHO decision "does not imply that every country is going to move to level six" and that governments were free to decide which means were appropriate to tackle the outbreak.
   
French health and interior minister officials are to meet on Friday to discuss the swine flu outbreak, which has not claimed any lives in France.
   
Fewer than 150 people have died from the A(H1N1) virus and WHO officials have cautioned that raising the alert level did not mean that they were expecting the death toll to rise dramatically.

Date created : 2009-06-12

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