The World Health Organisation has raised the alert level for Influenza A (previously called swine flu) to 5. When it moves up to level 6, it is a full blown pandemic.
A pandemnic meams that the infection has spread to all the continents. But the fatality rate of the infection is still quite low at this time. Not many people die from Influenza A. More people died from ordinary flu than from Influenza A.
Two doctors told me that the measures being taken, such as wearing masks, are not necessary at this stage. It is more important to wash the hands to remove the virus.
A few friends have cancelled their overseas holidays, losing the money that they paid for the tours. It is rather wasteful and the risk is quite low. Perhaps, they are alarmed by the coverage in our newspapers and the advisory given by our Government.
President Barack Obama said that "We should be concerned, but not alarmed". By all means, take some precautions, but do not over-react in implementing the harsh measures - unless things get much worse than now.
Tan Kin Lian
The fatality level of Influenza A is 3%, compared to 65% for avian flu. More details
Latest update: 4 May
Report from Mexico said that there were only 19 confirmed deaths from Influenza A, instead of nearly 200 deaths reported earlier (which was over-stated). Less people are now infected.