New Zealand fears swine flu will affect tourism

Wellington, April 29 (Inditop) New Zealand’s Prime Minister John Key warned Wednesday that the swine flu outbreak might have side-impact on the country’s tourism.

He made his comment following the laboratory confirmation Tuesday night of three cases of swine flu and the health ministry revealing that 179 people in New Zealand were in isolation.

Key, who also serves as tourism minister, said India had issued a travel warning and some Japanese tourists had cancelled trips to New Zealand.

“It is important to put it in perspective,” he said. “It is highly likely that most countries will have some outbreak of swine flu.”

New Zealand was handling it well and had high stocks of Tamiflu, the most effective drug recommended by the World Health Organisation. “But obviously it is of concern to us that there could be a side-impact on tourism here in New Zealand,” he said.

Key said he understood that India had issued a travel warning on a large number of countries, including the US, Canada and Britain.

New Zealand is the sixth country in the world to have confirmed cases of the virus.

On Wednesday morning, health officials confirmed 14 cases of influenza A in the Auckland region, including the three people who had the new swine flu strain of influenza A.

Twelve of the influenza A cases are from a 25-person Rangitoto College group which returned from Mexico last Saturday.