H1N1 spreads in Asia

WHO reports that H1N1 infections are increasing in India, Thailand and Vietnam, and appear to have peaked in the Southern Hemisphere. “We are seeing the spread of the pandemic being reported in many of the tropic countries. And in Asia, particularly in India, Thailand and Vietnam. Also we’re getting into the monsoon season in those countries at this time,” WHO spokeswoman Aphaluck Bhatiasevi told reporters in Geneva.

Special H1N1 Screening Centers In New Delhi, India
Special H1N1 Screening Centers in New Delhi, India

Monsoon season coincides with regular flu season in Southeast Asia. Both seasonal and H1N1 strains of flu are being detected in the region, she said.


Flu forces Bangalore school closure – Knock-off/Counterfeit Antivirals

Our firm has several clients in India.  Today on the phone, one of my Bangalore clients told me that Bangalore schools have been closed for ten days in an effort to stop the spread of the flu.  There are shortages of masks, cleaners and anitvirals.  This has created an opportunity for knock-off and counterfeit drugs to make their way into the market – the new one is Tamifly.  I been writing pandemic exercises since 2003 and have often had the narrative include details on school closures, lack of supplies and counterfeit drugs and it is a surreal experience to see it happening before my very eyes…on a global scale.

On a personal note I will be in India and Singapore over the next two weeks working and well be able to observe first hand what is going on in those countries.

Dozens of rabbis fly over Israel praying to defeat swine flu

Dozens of rabbis and Kabbalah mystics armed with ceremonial trumpets took to the skies over Israel on Monday to battle the swine flu virus, according to local media reports. About 50 Jewish holy men chanted prayers and blew shofars (ritual rams’ horns) in an aircraft circling over the country in the hope of stopping the spread of the virus, some of those involved in Monday’s venture were quoted as saying.

“The aim of the flight was to stop the pandemic so people will stop dying from it,” Rabbi Yitzhak Batzri was quoted as saying in the mass-circulation daily Yedioth Ahronoth. “We are certain that, thanks to the prayer, the danger is already behind us,” added Batzri.

Tuesday’s newspaper report carried a photo showing bearded and black-clad Orthodox Jewish men standing on the steps of an aircraft of short-haul airline Arkia.

The Israel Health Ministry has confirmed more than 2,000 cases of swine flu, with five fatalities.