Page last updated at 16:56 GMT, Friday, 12 June 2009 17:56 UK

Swine flu cases pass 1,000 in UK

Swine flu test
Anti-viral drugs are being issued to those affected by swine flu

The number of confirmed swine flu cases in the UK has reached 1,004, health authorities have confirmed.

The Health Protection Agency said there were 921 confirmed cases in the UK, with 72 new cases in England.

Later, Scottish health authorities confirmed a further 83 cases, most of them in Greater Glasgow and Clyde.

Health Secretary Andy Burnham told the Commons that the government did not believe that it could prevent a widespread outbreak "indefinitely".

Seventy-four of the new cases are in the Greater Glasgow and Clyde area, bringing the total number of confirmed cases in Scotland to 420.

Two more people have been admitted to hospital, bringing the total number to 11. Five more schools have been closed.

HPA figures showed there were 58 new cases in the West Midlands.

The total number in the West Midlands is up to 229, which represents almost half of all England's cases.

In a statement to the Commons earlier on Friday, Mr Burnham said 28 people had been admitted to hospital since the outbreak began.

Mr Burnham stressed that most of those people had made a full recovery.

He said: "We recognised from the outset that we would be unlikely to prevent a widespread outbreak indefinitely."

Pandemic

The UK has enough anti-viral drugs for 50% of the population and planned to raise that figure to 80%, Mr Burnham added.

The World Health Organization has declared a pandemic following a sharp increase in the number of cases in Australia.

Mr Burnham said: "In recent days there have been significant increases in the daily number of cases in certain parts of the UK - most notably Scotland where Health Protection Scotland has concluded that sustained community transmission appears to be taking place.

"This is characterised by an increased number of sporadic cases. That is cases with no identifiable link with other confirmed cases."

But he said the rise came as "no surprise" and was in line with what ministers knew about similar outbreaks.

Health minister Andy Burnham: "We now have enough anti-virals to treat half the UK population"

He said it was vital that the global community worked together and stated that the government had set aside a further £6m to help the international response.

Mr Burnham said that at some point the focus would need to move from limiting the spread of a localised virus, to "mitigating the effects of a widespread virus".

He said: "That point has not been reached yet."

Infection

Mr Burnham added: "We have advance purchase agreements which enable the UK to purchase up to 132 million doses of pandemic-specific vaccine - enough for two doses for 100% of the population, should this be necessary."

The government has also ordered 226m face masks, 34m respirators and 15.2m courses of antibiotics.

Mr Burnham also said there were no immediate plans for widespread closures of schools.

He said: "Obviously, there may be circumstances where the Health Protection Agency consider it necessary to advise school closures because that may help with local containment of the disease."

Meanwhile, shadow health secretary Andrew Lansley praised the work of those involved in tackling the outbreak and called for more effort to help poorer countries.

Pandemic status means the infection is spreading in at least two regions of the world.

While the virus originated in Mexico in April, it has since spread to 74 countries, infected nearly 30,000 people and caused 141 deaths.






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