Argentina on Tuesday suspended flights to and from Mexico in a bid to prevent swine flu from spreading to Argentina, presidential Cabinet Chief Sergio Massa said at a press conference late Tuesday.
The flights will be suspended at least until Monday.
In an unprecedented measure, Massa also called on everyone who has recently arrived in Argentina from the U.S., Canada and Mexico to notify the government of their presence in Argentina.
“We need maximum collaboration from people,” said Massa. “Over the past 20 days more than 60,000 people have entered Argentina from the U.S., Canada and Mexico. We need those people who to contact the government by calling a 1-800 Health Ministry number.”
(The number is: 0-800-222-1002. I tried calling the number before publishing this post. It is a Health Ministry message, in Spanish, that asks the caller to press any one of a number of options to (press #5 for questions about swine flu, for example. When I pressed #5, I was told this was an invalid option.)
Massa said contacting the government is necessary not only to protect the health of these recent travelers (which may include you, dear reader) but also others who may have come into contact with them.
Massa said the government will hold a press conference at 7:30pm every night to give updates about the state of swine flu in Argentina.
“People need to know that we’re not going to hide any type of information,” he said.
Argentina does not have any confirmed swine flu cases, though three suspicious cases are being studied.
The government moved on Tuesday to increase the Health Ministry’s budget by about $18 million to help it by more Tamiflu, an anti-viral drug used to help fight influenza. Argentina currently has 500,000 “treaments” of Tamiflu in stock, Massa said. That figure will increase to 610,000 units soon.