With several Gulf and Arab countries reporting confirmed cases of swine flu, the Supreme Council of Health reiterated yesterday that Qatar had so far remained free from the disease.
The Council, while urging the public not to believe in rumours on the issue, assured that it will promptly announce if any swine flu cases are detected in the country.
“The Council will not hesitate to declare any such cases that may occur in the country. We have adopted a principle of transparency and sense of responsibility as far as such issues are concerned,” said a statement issued by the Council yesterday.
“The Council is in close contact with the World Health Organisation (WHO) authorities for the sake of regional and international cooperation regarding the reporting of any swine flu incidence,” added the statement.
The Council further said that its keenness to keep the public informed about the issue, went hand in hand with its preparedness and the precautions already taken to prevent the spread of the disease in the country.
Quoting WHO data, agencies reported yesterday that swine flu has now spread to 73 countries with 25,288 people known to have been infected since the disease was first discovered in April.
The number of deaths rose to 139 after 14 more deaths were reported, according to the latest WHO tally of confirmed influenza A(H1N1) cases.
Most of the new cases were reported by the United States, with 2,163 new infections, bringing its total caseload to 13,217, including 27 deaths. Australia also posted a significant rise of 175 cases, bringing the total to 1,051. Chile likewise saw its caseload grow by 42 to touch 411.
Flu experts are carefully watching the situation in Australia and Chile. The two countries fall in the southern hemisphere which is entering the flu-prone winter season.
The Cayman Islands, Dominica and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) reported a case each to the WHO for the first time.
Trinidad and Tobago also joined the list of countries with infections after reporting two
new cases. Some affected countries no longer keep track of all the cases, according to the WHO, while others do not report daily.
Besides the UAE, other Arab and Gulf countries that have reported confirmed cases of swine flu include Egypt, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and Kuwait.
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