Mexico was optimistic that the swine flu epidemic was coming under control as it tried to mitigate the economic fallout, joining Canada and the United States in hitting out at pork boycotts.
Authorities in Mexico, at the epicentre of the H1N1 flu outbreak, said the national death toll had reached 19, as health officials around the world remained on high alert with more cases confirmed.
But Health Minister Jose Angel Cordova said “each day we’re seeing fewer serious cases.”
He said: “The mortality rate is dropping,” adding that there were “enough elements to say that we are in a stabilisation phase.”
Just days earlier, the Mexican government had spoken of 159 “probable” deaths from the new variant of swine flu, which was shown to be spread by human-to-human contact.
But stringent tests by US and Canadian labs on the mountain of “probable” cases excluded most of them, and left the much smaller confirmed toll.