Government's new approach to swine flu2nd July 2009
The government has switched its approach to the rising numbers of swine flu cases.
With containing the virus no longer regarded as an option, the emergency response is now moving to a treatment phase amid concerns that there could soon be as many as 100,000 new cases a day.
The move, aimed at relieving pressure on the health service, will mean that anti-flu drugs will no longer be given to the close contacts of those infected nor will lab testing be done to confirm cases.
The government said the new approach, which comes into effect immediately, is not a sign that the virus is becoming more deadly.
It will mean people with uncomplicated symptoms should contact the NHS by phone and if they are believed to be suffering from swine flu a family member can take a voucher to a drug collection point and take the drugs to them at home.
Health secretary Andy Burnham said: "The national focus will be on treating the increasing numbers affected by swine flu.
"Cases are doubling every week and on this trend we could see over 100,000 cases per day by the end of August."
He said efforts during the containment phase had provided “precious time” to learn more about the virus.
Scottish Health Secretary Nicola Sturgeon announced similar changes to the flu strategy at a simultaneous briefing in Edinburgh.
There have been more than 7,000 confirmed cases in the UK since the first outbreak in April. Three people have died, but all had underlying health problems.
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Title: Government's new approach to swine flu
Author: Mark Nicholls
Article Id: 12003
Date Added: 2nd Jul 2009