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Australia raises swine flu alert level: health minister

Australia raised its swine flu alert level Wednesday as the number of cases nationwide climbed above 2,000, Health Minister Nicola Roxon said.

world Updated: Jun 17, 2009 12:48 IST

Australia raised its swine flu alert level Wednesday as the number of cases nationwide climbed above 2,000, Health Minister Nicola Roxon said.

Roxon said the alert level would move to the newly-created "protect" level, meaning anti-viral treatment would be focused on the most vulnerable while those with mild symptoms would have to rely on over-the-counter medicines.

"Australia is now moving to a new national alert level and we have developed a new response phase to manage the outbreak of A(H1N1) influenza called 'protect'," she told reporters.

Roxon said there were 2,026 swine flu cases in Australia, with 1,210 in the hot-spot, Victoria, although that state's tally has not been updated for several days.

The swine flu's spread in Australia was cited as a factor in last week's World Health Organisation (WHO) decision to declare the first global pandemic in 40 years.

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