BEIJIN - China said Tuesday the country was facing a “grim” situation in its efforts to stave off fresh outbreaks of swine flu, as monitors in France said the number of cases there was much higher than claimed.
China, the world’s most populous country, is scheduled to launch its nationwide vaccination program “this week”, Health Minister Chen Zhu told reporters, but he admitted Beijing was facing an uphill battle. “China will be facing a grim situation in the prevention and control of the A(H1N1) flu,” Chen said, adding that supply of vaccines would “fall far short of demand if compared to the demand of 1.3 billion people”.
In France, a flu monitoring agency which looks at cases region-by-region also said the number of cases was skyrocketing – far beyond the official figures released – with as many as 20,000 new cases nationwide every week. China, which last week approved a homegrown one-dose vaccine, said it would become the first nation to launch a mass program to inoculate the population against the virus. – AFP