Mexican government decrees special powers in flu crisis

Reuters
April 25, 2009

Mexican President Felipe Calderon issued an emergency decree on Saturday giving the government special powers to run tests on sick people and order them isolated to fight the deadly flu crisis.

Mexico City has already shut schools and museums and canceled sporting and cultural events as an outbreak of a new type of swine flu killed up to 68 people in the country and spread north to infect some people in the United States.

Saturday’s decree, published in Mexico’s official journal, gives the government power to isolate sick people, enter homes or workplaces and regulate air, sea and land transportation to try to stop further infection.

The flu has rattled residents of Mexico’s overcrowded capital of some 20 million people.

Calderon tried to calm Mexicans earlier on Saturday, saying the flue was curable. He said health authorities easily had enough antiviral medicine for the 1,000 or so people suspected to be infected with the swine flu and that his government was monitoring the situation “minute by minute.”

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