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Passengers who shared Mexico flight are free from virus so far

Sixty-eight people on the same Mexico City to Shanghai flight as a Mexican man who tested positive for the A-H1N1 flu virus in Hong Kong are not displaying flu symptoms, Shanghai officials said yesterday. They are currently under quarantine in the city.

Meanwhile, 20 passengers who were on the Mexican's flight from Shanghai to Hong Kong, China Eastern Airline's MU 505, had flown back to the city yesterday afternoon.

The 20 passengers, members of a Shanghai tour group to Hong Kong who were cleared of infection in Hong Kong, have also been put under quarantine, according to Shanghai Health Bureau.

But another 15 members of the tour group, who sat nearest the Mexican man, are still under quarantine in Hong Kong. There was no report on their condition yesterday.

The 20 who returned had not been near the flu victim, the Shanghai Tourism Administration said.

The passengers who landed at Pudong International Airport last Thursday on Aeromexico Airlines' AM098 flight were 48 Shanghai residents, 13 Mexican crew members and 7 non-local Chinese, said Shanghai government officials.

They were divided into two groups in two hotels, one in Nanhui District, the other in the Pudong New Area and will be kept under medical observation for a week.

Of the 176 passengers on AM098, excluding the 55 in Shanghai, 111 went to 18 Chinese mainland cities, which have taken similar measures against the epidemic, while 10 others left the mainland for Hong Kong, Japan and Thailand.

None of the passengers quarantined in China had shown flu symptoms as of yesterday noon, The Health Ministry reported last night.

Xu Jianguang, director of Shanghai Health Bureau, said local authorities would ensure the people under quarantine in the city were looked after. Internet access would be provided in their rooms and they could choose their own food.

"When first moved to the hotels, some Mexican people said they preferred delicious Chinese food and now they say they miss Western food. We will meet all such dining requests raised by the quarantined people," Xu told a press conference.

He said the health bureau was planning to set up a team of psychologists to help those under quarantine ease any mental stress or other issues they might have.

The bureau also said that 59 family members of the quarantined Shanghai locals would been confined to their homes for a week. They will also be under medical observation. District authority workers will ensure they have sufficient food supplies during this period.

Officials said 28 airport workers who were in contact with the Mexican victim during his stopover at the Pudong airport had also been quarantined.

Xu also said Shanghai had sufficient reserves of drug and medical treatment appliances to respond to a flu outbreak.

China had canceled a chartered flight to pick up 120 or so stranded Chinese citizens in Mexico, China Southern Airlines said late last night.

The airline said it was fully prepared for the charter mission, but it was up to the government as to when to implement it.

Chinese government has suspended flights from Mexico to Shanghai.


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