April 28, 2009 / 3:40 PM / 10 years ago

FACTBOX-Defences against swine flu

April 28 (Reuters) - Here is a guide to precautionary steps being taken around Europe and Africa to combat a possible flu pandemic:

( * Star denotes new or updated entry )

EUROPE:

AUSTRIA — Has stocks of antiviral drugs sufficient to treat 4 million people (half the population), and has secured production capacity for prophylactic vaccines for the entire population. It has also stockpiled 8 million protective masks.

* BRITAIN — Advises nationals against non-vital travel to Mexico. Routine consular and all visa services at its embassy in Mexico City have been suspended. Has antiviral stockpiles for treatment of 50 percent of the population.

— Travel firms Thomson Holidays and First Choice have decided to repatriate their customers from Mexico and to cancel flights bound for Cancun. Thomas Cook is cancelling all flights to Mexico until May 5.

* BULGARIA — Advises nationals against non-vital travel to Mexico. Sofia airport boosts checks of passengers arriving from countries affected. Two thermal scanners have been installed at the airport. Customs officers are also checking the luggage of passengers arriving from Mexico, the U.S., Canada and Japan to ensure they are not importing pork products.

CZECH REPUBLIC — Circulates general information on the viral strain to hospitals, doctors and general practitioners. Has stocks of 2 million doses of Tamiflu, enough to treat one fifth of the population. At Prague Airport, information boards on swine flu have been put up and medical tests are available.

DENMARK — A general pandemic plan is in place since bird flu scare. Denmark has stockpiled Tamiflu.

FRANCE — Is strongly advising against travelling to Mexico. Has reinforced checks at airports, especially for people returning from Mexico. France has a stock of more than 30 million antiviral treatments, composed of 24 million doses of Tamiflu and 9 million doses of Relenza.

GERMANY — Advises nationals against non-vital travel to Mexico.

* GREECE — Has “strategic stocks” of Tamiflu and other antivirus medicine. Leaflets are being handed out at the airport. Passengers coming from countries where swine flu has occurred are being tracked and doctors at the airport will carry out checks.

ITALY - Pamphlets are being handed out to passengers at Rome’s international airport. Italy has 10 million doses of Zanamivir (Relenza) and 60,000 doses of Tamiflu as well as enough Tamiflu powder to make 30 million doses.

NORWAY — A “pandemic committee” will meet this week. Authorities have stored flu medicine covering one-third of the 4.7 million population.

* RUSSIA — Health ministry recommends Russian citizens avoid trips to Mexico.

— Aircraft personnel arriving from the Americas have been instructed to look out for passengers with flu-like symptoms. Planes, on which cases are suspected, will be taxied to special zones, and passengers and crews examined by medics.

— Has extended its ban on raw meat imports to the U.S. states of New York and Ohio. The ban will also apply to all raw and cooked meat products which could be carried in the luggage of passengers and crew, as well as to food served on board airplanes and ships which had stopped in those states.

— Had imposed bans on meat from Mexico and the states of Texas, California and Kansas, and to raw pork from Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Georgia, Louisiana, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Florida, countries of Central America and the Caribbean.

* SLOVAKIA - With population of 5.4 million, it has around 700,000 doses of Tamiflu in state reserves.

SPAIN — Distributes leaflets to passengers arriving from Mexico. Flights to Mexico are being equipped with face masks and gloves. Spain has a stockpile of 10 million doses of Tamiflu.

UKRAINE — Bans imports of live pigs and pork meat from countries where cases of swine flu have been recorded. This applies to Mexico, the U.S., Canada and New Zealand. All shipments received after April 21 will be subject to the ban.

AFRICA:

EGYPT — Increases medical staff at Cairo airport to check passengers arriving from Mexico and will monitor them during their stay.

* GHANA — Bans the import of pork and pork products. It has drugs available and a quarantine system in place should any cases be identified.

* SOUTH AFRICA — Outbreak response teams are operational in all provinces.

ZAMBIA — Has formed an emergency task force to deal with a possible outbreak of swine flu.

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