Chile Accuses Brazil of Slamming Doors on Tourism for Its Swine Flu Policy

Swine flu Brazilian government advice against traveling to A/H1N1 virus flu-stricken Argentina and Chile by people older than 60 and younger than 2 as well as those with weakened immune system was met by different reaction form Argentina and Chile.

President Bachelet said she was in complete disagreement with Brazil's recommendation. President Bachelet said she was in complete disagreement with Brazil's recommendation.

Argentina's Ministry of Health Graciela Ocaí±a said the Brazilian recommendation was "reasonable" similar to that "we applied on risk areas such as United States, Mexico and Canada", when the outbreak started.

Meantime Chilean President Michelle Bachelet speaking from the World's Health Organization offices in Washington said she was in "complete disagreement with the Brazilian government recommendation".

"The only solution is cooperation, joint efforts and not slamming doors to people's movements and visiting other countries", she added.

The Brazilian Health Ministry said in a communiqué that the recommendation was issued on the basis of "epidemiological criteria," since a "large number" of Brazilian patients with the AH1N1 virus caught the disease in Argentina and Chile.

The Brazilian government's measure could be extended to other countries "with manifestations similar" to those of Chile and Argentina, the note said.

"We believe that this kind of replies, adopted from fear, are not the replies that those of us working in health issues know are not the appropriate to address an epidemics of this kind", underlined Ms Bachelet who is a doctor.

At least 17 people have died from the A/flu in Argentina and 1,213 contagions have been confirmed, while Chile has had eight deaths and 4,315 people infected.

In recent weeks with the arrival of winter in the Southern Hemisphere, the number of A/H1N1flu cases in Brazil has multiplied and has now affected 240 people in the country, though no deaths have been recorded, according to official data.

Health Minister Jose Gomes Temporão said that travel has not been banned, but that recommendations have been made for people to use "prudence and common sense".

Previously the Health Secretariat of São Paulo state had "decided to recommend that people avoid traveling to Argentina and Chile because of the risk of contracting the (AH1N1) virus".

The emphasis in Argentina and Chile as high-risk destinations is because many Brazilians take advantage of the mid-year break to visit winter resorts like Bariloche in Argentina and Valle Nevado in Chile.

Mercopress

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