With new A/H1N1 flu cases spreading around the world every day, criticism over China’s alleged overreaction to this new virus may finally be dying out. But leaders acknowledged the country is not in the clear yet. The arduous challenges of developing vaccines and preventing any large-scale outbreaks still lay ahead.
World Health Organization (WHO) Director General Margaret Chan announced at a briefing on June 11 that the WHO is raising the A/H1N1 pandemic alert level to six, the agency’s highest alert level, which means the world is in the early days of the first influenza pandemic of the 21st century.
Chan suggested that governments adjust their public health response to the pandemic to the development of the outbreak in their country. But she also emphasized that pandemic means geographical spread, not severity.”We also want to make clear that the higher level of the pandemic does not necessarily mean we are going to see a more dangerous virus or see many more people falling severely ill or dying,” she said.