Sri Lankans asked to limit foreign travel to prevent swine flu spread

April 29, 2009 (LBO) – Sri Lankans should limit non-essential foreign travel to protect themselves from swine flu, the island’s health ministry said, adding that travelers from high risk countries were being screened at the country’s main airport. “The ministry of health appeals to the public to limit foreign travel to essential purposes to protect Sri Lanka from the global swine flu epidemic,” the ministry said in a statement.

The health ministry said a special team had been deployed at Colombo’s international airport to screen visitors from Mexico, United States, Britain, Spain, New Zealand and Canada, and ‘thermal scan’ machines would be deployed there.

The statement said the disease may start with fever, coughing, breathing difficulties and progress onto lung infections, which could be fatal.

The World Health Organization has warned of a significant increase in the risk of a pandemic with the United States Wednesday reporting the first death outside Mexico, which has 159 suspected swine flu fatalities.

New Zealand, the only country in the Asia Pacific region with confirmed cases, announced three more likely ones on Wednesday, taking the country’s total of probable and confirmed infections to 14.