Topic: Ukraine's swine flu crisis
- Ukraine to check pharmacy stocks, prices over flu outbreak
- Ukraine confirms 39 swine flu deaths
- Russia offers Ukraine aid in fighting swine flu
- Ukraine imposes quarantines to curb swine flu spread
KIEV, November 2 (RIA Novosti) - An outbreak of swine flu, which hit Ukraine last week, has claimed the lives of 22 people, the country's deputy health minister said on Monday.
Vasil Lozoryshynets said 22 out of a total 67 deaths from flu or acute respiratory illness have been confirmed as caused by the H1N1 virus.
The deputy minister said 255,000 flu cases had been reported in the country as of Monday, with 15,000 receiving treatment at a hospital and 170 being admitted to intensive care departments.
The government has imposed quarantines in nine western provinces to curb the spread of swine flu, which originated in the Tirnopol Region.
All education establishments in the capital, Kiev, were closed on Monday until further notice due to the flu pandemic. Wearing medical masks has been a must in all catering places, shops and social services facilities across Ukraine since Friday.
President Viktor Yuschenko has requested help from other countries. Late on Sunday, Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko and other top officials met a cargo of 300,000 doses of the Tamiflu antiviral medication arriving from Switzerland at Borispol airport.
However, the premier moved to calm panic on Monday saying there is no swine flu pandemic in the country at the moment.
"I want to underline that we are having a seasonal flu epidemic, which occurs every year," Tymoshenko told a government meeting also attended by heads of pharmaceutical companies and medical equipment producers.
Tymoshenko criticized drug stores for shortages of medicines and blamed "media hysteria" and politicians' populist statements for causing the deficit. She pledged further measures to curb flu, as well as panic.
Tymoshenko is a front-runner in the January 17 presidential election in the ex-Soviet state.
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The growing outright rivalry between the United States and China gives Russia more foreign policy weight, enabling it to assume the role of a balancer. So far it has been doing so rather skillfully. Today it may participate in a joint naval exercise with China that Beijing positions as outwardly anti-American. But tomorrow it can team up with the naval forces of the Old World.