Three new cases of swine flu emerge

Two women and a child who arrived in the country are receiving treatment, the Ministry of Health announce.

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ABU DHABI // Three new cases of swine flu emerged yesterday, two women and a child who arrived in the country and are receiving treatment, the Ministry of Health announced. The cases bring the UAE's tally to 11, according to WAM, the state news agency. Seven of the eight cases that were previously announced have completely recuperated, while the eighth patient is recovering in an undisclosed hospital and is expected to be discharged within a day.

Meanwhile, other emirates are launching campaigns to educate the public about the H1N1 virus and help prevent its spread. On Tuesday the MoH launched a campaign in Sharjah to educate the public about swine flu, beginning with a two-day training workshop for about 40 health educators from Health Authority-Abu Dhabi, Sharjah Medical Zone, Dubai Health and other bodies. Dr Ali Shakar, the ministry's director general, said doctors and nurses had already fanned out to eight malls, with more to be added, to answer queries and educate the public on how the virus can spread.

The workshop was one of the first steps to an integrated national campaign on the issue, he said. "We need first to educate the health educators if we are to effectively pass on the right information to the public," Dr Ali said. Dr Khudri Awad, a health consultant at the ministry, appealed to people who believed they might have been exposed to the virus to stay at home until they knew for certain.

"Many people have misunderstood this to be a house arrest, but this is not the case," he said. "We only want to make them safe as well as their family by not spreading the disease." In Umm al Quaiwain, municipal officials are requiring barbers to wear face masks as precaution against swine flu. Men working in hair salons are at risk of contracting the virus because they are in close contact with a variety of individuals, said Ghanem Saeed Ali, the head of the municipality's public health section.

Inspectors are planning to visit salons to see if barbers are adhering to the new regulations, although Mr Ali would not say what action would be taken against those that were not. "We basically want to make it an awareness drive," he said, "though we would not entertain violators." Hamza Abdullah, working in Murshid salon in Frij Murar, said the municipality should distribute the facial masks because he could not afford to buy them.

"Again the municipality are every time coming up with new expenses. All they want is for us to spend without earning anything. Where to get this money now?" But another barber, Hassan Musa Mohammed, said the municipality was doing the right thing. "Even before the swine flu we were supposed to wear these masks. It's for our own good, not the municipality's."