Mexico shuts down to beat flu

Mexico is set to begin a five-day nationwide shutdown of non-essential businesses in an effort to stem the spread of a new flu strain, as further cases of the disease were confirmed in the US and Europe.Health authorities in the country claim more than 160 have died of the virus, although the World health Organisation (WHO) has stated the official death toll currently stands at 12.

Mexican president Felipe Calderon has ordered government offices and private businesses not vital to the country’s economy to close to prevent further spread of the infection.

Airports will remain open as will essential services. US Airways Group spokeswoman Valerie Wunder said the airline has not canceled any flights to Mexico City, but is monitoring the situation. US Airways serves a number of Mexican cities including Cancun, Hermosillo and Guadalajara.

Globally, cases of swine flu have now been confirmed in 12 countries across three continents.

In cases outside Mexico the virus does not appear to be severe, although one death has been confirmed in the US.

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Some factories will stop production and schools are already closed. Residents have been urged to stay at home.
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