World Notes: Dispatches from Asia. Pyongyang on H1N1 “Alert”; Ludhiana (India) on H1N1 “War Footing”

PYONGYANG: The H1N1 flu situation remains unclear in North Korea. Indications, though somewhat tenuous, suggest the situation is serious. The Wall Street Journal reported the country issued a nationwide alert on H1N1 in late December. Earlier that month North Korea’s official news agency (KCNA) reported that nine people had contracted the H1N1 virus in the capital Pyongyang and in the city of Sinuiju, which is near the Chinese border. Aid groups based in Seoul relayed that dozens had actually died from H1N1. North Korean strategies to deal with H1N1 include early closure of schools for the winter break and the strengthening of customs inspections on the border with China. In mid December, the South Korean government shipped 500,000 doses of antiviral medicines to North Korea, whose hospitals have scarce supplies and equipment.



LUDHIANA: The Times News Network reported that the Indian Medical Association (IMA) has asked the government for 50 ventilators to help get city hospitals “on a war footing.” According to IMA, only 160 ventilators are currently available. A stream of reporting in Indian media indicate that city hospitals are unable to cope with increasing swine flu patient case loads. Isolation wards are at capacity and patients have been refused admission. To relieve case burdens, the government set up a temporary 24-hour OPD (Out Patient Department). However, news accounts suggest the facility has been underutilized and under-publicized., inc.

ABC: Fighting Off Swine Flu With Mugwort Tea & Garlic Juice?
TNS: Isolation wards full, hospitals say no to H1N1 patients
TNN: H1N1: Request for 50 ventilators
TNN: H1N1 OPD fails in objective
WSJ: North Korea Seen Battling Wave of Flu

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