More on swine flu battle in China. This is from NY Times:
By EDWARD WONG
Published: November 11, 2009
CHANGGANG, China — Few farmers in this southern village gave much thought to the epidemic that had begun spreading rapidly in the United States early this summer until the authorities sealed its 100 residents off from the outside world for about a week. It turned out that a visitor from California had shown symptoms of the swine flu virus, or H1N1, when he arrived for a funeral.
The village of Changgang was quarantined for about a week. Quarantines and medical detentions are among the aggressive measures that Chinese officials have taken to slow the transmission of H1N1, which quickly spread worldwide after being diagnosed first in North America.
To protests from around the world, China isolated entire planeloads of people entering the country if anyone on the plane exhibited flulike symptoms. Local authorities canceled school classes at the slightest hint of the disease and ordered students and teachers to stay home. China was virtually alone in taking such harsh measures, which continued throughout most of the summer.
Now, Chinese and foreign health officials say that some of those contested measures — more easily adopted by an authoritarian state — may have helped slow the spread of the disease in the world’s most populous country. China has not had to cope with a crush of cases, and it began administering a vaccine for swine flu in early September, the first country to do so.
Foreign officials also say that China demonstrated an unusual openness to sharing information about H1N1 with its citizens and other governments, in contrast to its secretive approach to the near pandemic of severe acute respiratory syndrome, or SARS, a few years ago.
That is not to say that China has been spared. On Tuesday, Health Ministry officials reported an “explosive” growth of H1N1 on the mainland because of the onset of winter, with 5,000 new cases in the previous three days pushing the total to more than 59,000.
At least 30 people have died here after contracting H1N1.
Exact data on the virus are hard to pin down; many more cases are suspected than confirmed, and countries often use different methods to identify cases. Still, the indications in China are much more positive than those in India. Like China, India has more than a billion people, many living in poor, rural conditions, and was exposed to the virus after it had been identified in the West. The Indian Health Ministry has reported 505 deaths.
The United States, where the virus was spreading before it was identified in the spring, has reported more than two million cases and about 4,000 deaths in a population of 300 million.