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Hong Kong's flu death toll reaches 181

ANOTHER eight people have died of severe flu, bringing the death toll this year to 181, said Hong Kong health officials on Saturday.

The Center for Health Protection said ten new cases have been reported in the past 24 hours. Seven of those patients died.

Dr. Leung Ting-hung, the Center's controller, said the flu virus is still very active and urged the public to remain vigilant.

The number of elderly people being admitted to hospital with flu has eased, but the number of children under five going in went up slightly in the past week, according to health authorities.

Leung said there was no need for children to start wearing face masks when they go to school, adding that a better way to stop the spread of flu at schools would be for any children showing symptoms to stay at home.

The authorities have pledged to procure as many new flu vaccines as possible, which should be available by April. Hospitals are facing a shortage of beds as Hong Kong grapples with a new strain of flu.

The H3N2 outbreak started on Jan. 2, and has led to the hospitalization of over 220 patients thus far.


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