China reports suspected swine flu case

BEIJING — A Chinese man returning from studying at a U.S. university has become the first suspected case of swine flu in mainland China, the Health Ministry said Sunday.

The ministry identified the patient as a 30-year-old student surnamed Bao, but did not specify where he studied.

China has been accused in the past of not acting quickly enough to combat the spread of diseases, especially the 2003 global outbreak of SARS. Chastened by that experience and subsequent threats from avian flu, the government this time has acted quickly and decisively to block an outbreak, but some of its measures have been criticized as excessive.

The swine flu-prevention measures include bans on imports of pork from Mexico, some U.S. states and Alberta in Canada. Beijing has also canceled direct flights between China and Mexico. Authorities require arriving travelers with flu-like symptoms to report themselves and have placed some travelers under weeklong quarantines.

China's tough measures drew complaints from Mexico that citizens were being quarantined based on nationality. China has defended the steps as necessary to block swine flu from entering the world's most populous nation.

The Chinese territory of Hong Kong earlier reported a case of swine flu diagnosed in a 25-year-old Mexican who flew to the city.

The virus has killed at least 53 people and sickened more than 4,370 in 29 countries, mostly in the U.S. and Mexico, but has so far largely spared Asia.


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