Quarantines and medical detentions are among the aggressive measures that Chinese officials have taken to slow the transmission of H1N1, which quickly spread worldwide after being diagnosed first in North America.
To protests from around the world, China isolated entire planeloads of people entering the country if anyone on the plane exhibited flulike symptoms. Local authorities canceled school classes at the slightest hint of the disease and ordered students and teachers to stay home. China was virtually alone in taking such harsh measures, which continued throughout most of the summer.
Now, Chinese and foreign health officials say that some of those contested measures — more easily adopted by an authoritarian state — may have helped slow the spread of the disease in the world’s most populous country. China has not had to cope with a crush of cases, and it began administering a vaccine for swine flu in early September, the first country to do so.