May 1, 2009 / 1:48 AM / 10 years ago

FACTBOX: Measures in North, South America against flu

(Reuters) - Governments across North and South America have taken measures to avert a pandemic as the new swine flu virus spreads from Mexico, where up to 176 people have died.

MEXICO

* The government urged Mexicans to stay home for a five-day partial shutdown of the economy through May 5. Essential private sector services were asked to stay open, including transport and health services, markets, grocers, pharmacies, telecommunications and media. Ports, airports and roads will not be closed. Police and army continue on duty.

* All schools closed until May 6. Gyms, churches and many restaurants were already closed.

* Emergency decree granted the government power to isolate sick people, enter homes or workplaces and regulate air, sea and land transportation to try to stop further infection.

UNITED STATES

* Declared a public health emergency. President Barack Obama said it was a “precautionary tool” that would give health officials resources needed to respond quickly and effectively.

* Said it will spend $251 million to buy 13 million more courses of flu medicine, and began sending 400,000 doses of treatment to Mexico.

* The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention was sending out testing kits to U.S. states that will allow individual state labs to confirm their own cases of swine flu.

* The CDC recommended schools with confirmed or suspected cases close temporarily. Anyone with symptoms was urged to stay at home.

* Washington advised Americans to avoid “non-essential” trips to Mexico and announced steps to release some of the U.S. stockpiles of the anti-flu drugs Tamiflu and Relenza.

* Officials said they were not testing air travelers from Mexico for the virus but the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention was preparing a “yellow card” for travelers explaining flu symptoms and precautions to take.

* Several major U.S. airlines were allowing customers to change travel plans to Mexico without any fee or penalty. Continental Airlines Inc will temporarily cut service to Mexico by 50 percent, citing reduced demand. Carnival Cruise Lines canceled Mexico port visits for 16 ships through May 11.

CANADA

* Advised against non-essential travel to Mexico.

* Two major airlines, Air Canada and WestJet Airlines Ltd, said they would temporarily suspend flights to Mexican resorts starting next week.

* Increased surveillance for possible new cases and urged people to take precautions like frequent hand washing.

* Government to provide extra health funding if needed, but for the time being it is just monitoring the situation.

* Launched public awareness campaign advising how to avoid catching flu.

CUBA

* Suspended all flights from Mexico for 48 hours.

PERU

* Suspended all flights to and from Mexico. All passengers arriving by air and by sea going through rigorous screening.

COLOMBIA

* Declared a disaster situation as a preventive measure to provide funds for increased monitoring of possible cases and clear the way for purchases of medicines and surgical masks.

* Advised people to suspend trips to Mexico, California and Texas.

* Health officials in capital city Bogota banned Mexican soccer teams San Luis and Chivas de Guadalajara from playing Libertadores Cup matches in the city’s stadium.

ECUADOR

* Ecuador barred foreigners who have been in Mexico from arriving in the country on commercial flights and also suspended charter flights to and from Mexico.

* Banned imports of pigs and pork products from the United States and Mexico as a precaution.

VENEZUELA

* Recommended people avoid travel to Mexico and the United States and stepped up sanitary control at airports.

ARGENTINA

* Suspended direct flights from Mexico until Monday, but maintained flights to Mexico. Installed heat sensors at main airport to track passengers for signs of the flu.

* Government sending two charter flights to Mexico to bring home about 150 stranded Argentines, who the foreign ministry has put up in hotels in Cancun and Mexico City.

BRAZIL

* Screening passengers on flights from the United States, Mexico and Canada for flu symptoms and placed an order for 100,000 surgical masks to be distributed at airports. Ships are also being screened.

CHILE

* Began screening passengers arriving by air from Mexico and the United States and called on citizens to avoid travel to countries with a flu risk.

PARAGUAY

* Declared a health emergency that would free up funds, if needed, and would give the government authority to cancel international events, if necessary.

BOLIVIA, PANAMA, URUGUAY

* Officials checked for people with flu symptoms arriving from Mexico and other countries including the United States where cases have been confirmed.

Compiled by Fiona Ortiz in Buenos Aires; editing by Mohammad Zargham

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