Members of a British student group quarantined by Chinese authorities over swine flu were “shocked” by their detention, but were being treated well, a teacher said yesterday.
The group of 52 students and teachers were quarantined after four students tested positive for the A(H1N1) virus after arriving in Beijing for a study tour, the British Council said earlier.
“It was a bit of surprise to be detained at the airport. We have been in a state of shock,” Ian Tyrell, one of the teachers leading the tour, said by telephone from the hotel where the group was quarantined.
Tyrell said there were some Americans and other nationalities under quarantine at the hotel, some of them students, but he could not provide a specific number.
“They are having a good experience. They are still excited to be in China,” Tyrell said.
He said that two of the children who tested positive for swine flu had since rejoined their groups in quarantine, while two others were “doing well” in a Beijing hospital.
China has launched aggressive measures to try and detect swine flu, including temperature checks on foreign flights into the country, and has quarantined dozens of foreign nationals since the virus first emerged in May. There have been about 1,500 positive cases of the virus in China, the Health Ministry said on its Web site, but no deaths have been reported.
Meanwhile, Singaporean authorities reported the first death linked to swine flu in the city-state after a 49-year-old man who was diagnosed with the virus died in hospital.
“He died of a heart attack, contributed to by severe pneumonia with underlying influenza A infection,” the Ministry of Health said.
The man, who had diabetes, hypertension and high cholesterol, was diagnosed with swine flu after he was admitted to a public hospital on Thursday, the statement said.
In other news, Georgia said it had confirmed its first case of the virus in a Georgian woman who had arrived from London.
And in Italy, the start of the next school year could be put back to try to reduce the spread of swine flu.
“A possible postponement of the start of classes has not been ruled out,” Italian Deputy Health Minister Ferrucio Fazio was quoted as saying by ANSA news agency.
In Morocco, two new cases were confirmed on Saturday, bringing to 28 the number who have come down with the virus in the kingdom, the health ministry in Rabat said.
One of the patients was a Moroccan woman aged 32 recently back from Britain and the other was an 18-year-old American who had come over from Spain.
EU Health Commissioner Androulla Vassiliou said on Saturday that the number of people across the EU who would need priority vaccination against swine flu had been estimated at 60 million.
However, Vassiliou also warned: “There won’t be vaccinations for everyone.”