July 28th festivities and parades suspended indefinitely to avoid swine flu epidemic

A day after the Health Ministry confirmed Peru’s twelfth swine flu death, mayors across the Andean country announced the indefinite suspension of festivities, gatherings and parades planned for Peru’s Independence Day on July 28th.

Although Peru’s Health Ministry has not officially asked mayors to do so, in San Isidro, as well as in the Lima districts of San Borja, San Juan de Miraflores, Ventanilla, Independencia and Barranco, school-organized parades, step horse shows and concerts have been cancelled.

Municipal authorities have also adopted a string of special measures to ensure that Independence Day shoppers – 3 million in the populated district of Independencia alone – are not contaminated by the AH1N1 virus.

Two weeks ago, Education Minister Antonio Chang announced that Peru’s public school children will start their mid-year vacations two weeks early in an attempt to stem the spread of AH1N1 flu virus.

As of July 6, 2009, the virus, declared a global pandemic last month by the World Health Organization, or WHO, had infected 94,512 and caused 429 deaths worldwide.

In Peru, 2,761 cases have so far been confirmed, and 2,390 patients released from the hospital after receiving treatment.

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