Tag Archives: world health organisation

Indonesia reports first death from H1N1 flu

2009-07-26T100314Z_01_NOOTR_RTRMDNP_1_India-413182-1-pic0

Indonesia reports first death from H1N1 flu

Indonesia has confirmed its first death linked to the H1N1 flu virus after a 6-year-old girl suffering from severe pneumonia died in Jakarta, the health ministry said.

The girl was admitted to hospital with fever, coughs and respiratory problems, the ministry said on its website.

The World Health Organisation has confirmed 800 deaths globally from the H1N1 virus, which has spread to 160 countries.

But health experts say that figure does not reflect the true number of people killed by the virus. Flu can kill people in various ways, including by causing pneumonia, heart attack, stroke or multiple organ failure.

Indonesia has confirmed 343 people have been infected with the H1N1 flu strain as of July 24.

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Flu seen prolonging, deepening recession

uk.reuters.com

Flu seen prolonging, deepening recession

LONDON  – The H1N1 flu pandemic is likely to push Britain into a longer and deeper recession because of its potential impact on consumer spending and travel, a consultancy and a business association estimated on Friday.

The total cost of the flu outbreak for Britain was likely to be around 5 percent of GDP, on top of the impact of the worst financial crisis to hit the country in decades, a report from consultants at Oxford Economics said.

This view was broadly shared by the Federation of Small Businesses, which said the pandemic could force 120,000 small businesses to suspend operations.

“We’re expecting the cost to the whole economy of 3 percent of GDP,” said the organisation’s spokesman Stephen Alambritis, who predicted disruption from cancelled meetings, suspended travel and parents staying home to care for sick children.

“The cost of absence at work is the main cost that has to be met by businesses, and that’s up to about 900,000 pounds a day,” he said. “We’re expecting the impact to start in September, but the worst will be the last quarter of this year.”

Britain has Europe’s highest death toll to date from disease, with 29 fatalities since the virus emerged in Mexico in April, and the World Health Organisation said 431 people had died globally as of early July.

British health officials are initially planning for up to 30 percent of the population to fall ill, with up to 12 percent of the workforce absent at once.

Both Alambritis and Oxford Economics said the pandemic’s most severe impact would occur in the last three months of 2009.

Even without the impact of the pandemic, Britain is facing its deepest recession since World War Two — earlier this week, the International Monetary Fund forecast a GDP contraction of 4.2 percent for Britain this year, with 0.2 percent growth in 2010.

Marie Diron, author of the Oxford Economics report, said she expected the pandemic to cause the economy to contract by an extra 1 percentage point this year, and a total loss of 5 percent of output during the six months of the pandemic.

This estimate assumes 30 percent of people worldwide and in Britain are infected, of whom 4 in every 1,000 will die, and that the economy will be affected in a similar way to how SARS hit east Asia in 2003.

But given the fragility of the world economy because of the financial crisis, Diron said there was a risk the pandemic could tip Britain’s economy into a downward deflationary spiral, potentially causing the economy to shrink 7.5 percent next year.

“(In) the worst-case scenario, recovery is postponed by three to four years,” she told Reuters, adding that between 2010 and 2012 consumer prices would fall due to cutbacks in spending.

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H1N1 swine flu virus – Flu threat to economy mostly in the mind for now

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H1N1 swine flu virus – Flu threat to economy mostly in the mind for now

One of the few certainties about the H1N1 swine flu virus is that it would have to turn much deadlier than it seems right now to cause a major drop in global economic output.

A renewed rash of media headlines suggests the virus, the subject of a World Health Organisation (WHO) pandemic alert since June 11, could deliver the next big blow to the global economy. But there is no reason to take that for granted and experience shows the impact could just as easily be limited.

The fear factor on its own could reduce travel, tourism and leisure, but that demand-side decline could also be short-lived even if it is sharp, and followed by a sizeable rebound, as the SARS epidemic in Hong Kong in 2006 suggests.

Warwick McKibbin, the Australian designer of one widely cited simulation model, says the potential loss ranges from 0.8 percentage points of global GDP in his ‘mild scenario’ to 12.4 percent of GDP in the most extreme case of a virus more deadly than the Spanish flu of 1918-19, which killed 40-50 million.

The mild scenario is the most plausible right now, he says, given the WHO tally of 816 deaths for 134,503 confirmed cases.

“It’s a little bit worse but not a lot worse than a regular influenza cycle,” McKibbin, director of the Centre of Applied Macroeconomic Analysis at the Australian National University, said.

Even if a panic-driven drop in consumption did slow the pace of recovery from the current recession, the hit would probably be too small to derail it, as long as it is just a scare, says Marco Annunziata, chief economist at UniCredit bank.

“I can however imagine a worst case scenario where the panic is so intense and widespread that people avoid all crowded places for an extended period,” he says. “But I think in most plausible scenarios this (hit to the economy) would be temporary and contained.”


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