Cuba to limit Mexico flights amid swine flu fears

Mon Apr 27, 2009 4:08pm BST

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(Adds one Havana to Mexico City flight suspended, details)

HAVANA, April 27 (Reuters) - The Cuban government said on Monday it would limit flights to and from Mexico as one of its measures to prevent an outbreak of swine flu on the island nation.

Representatives of Cubana Airlines said the state-owned carrier had canceled its Havana-to-Mexico City flight for Tuesday, but not yet for the days beyond that.

One official with the airline said the flight was suspended due to swine flu precautions. But another said it was canceled for other reasons and that it had nothing to do with the illness that has killed 103 people so far in Mexico.

There usually are at least four flights daily between the two countries, which are separated by the 115-mile-wide (185 km) Yucatan Channel.

The government announcement, published on the front page of Granma, the newspaper of the ruling Communist Party, did not mention whether any swine flu cases had been detected in Cuba.

Government sources told Reuters that medical teams would question passengers arriving on flights from Mexico and check them during their visit to Cuba to see if they showed signs of illness.

Medical personnel throughout the island were to be briefed on what to look for and how to deal with any cases of swine flu they found.

Sources also said pigs throughout Cuba were being monitored for symptoms.

The government advised Cubans to wash their hands frequently, and to cover their mouths and nose when they sneeze or cough to help limit the spread of germs.

(Reporting by Jeff Franks; editing by Pascal Fletcher and Will Dunham)




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