Ukraine suffered its first death from swine flu, as the government declared a massive quarantine and control effort to head off a possible epidemic, the Interfax news agency reported. The victim was a man living in Ukraine's western Lviv region, said Health Ministry spokesman Roman Pavliv.
The government announcement one week after reports surfaced of as many as 30 deaths potentially caused by swine flu, all in Ukraine's western provinces.
The Health Minister currently was monitoring 22 persons in the region showing swine flu symptoms, of which one had been confirmed as suffering from full-blown swine flu, according to the report.
"Unfortunately, we can state that there is in fact a swine flu epidemic in the country," said Vasyl Kniazhevych, Ukraine's Health Minister, at a Kyiv press conference. "We have a lot of work to do."
Ukrainian Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko ordered a massive and for Ukraine unprecedented disease-control program to go into effect immediately in an attempt to prevent the spread of the disease.
Schools nationwide will close for three weeks, and "all mass gatherings will be forbidden," Tymoshenko said, in comments reported by Channel 5 television.
The bans would come at the height of Ukraine's football season and autumn school semester. They would hinder much political campaigning planned by candidates in the January presidential elections.
A "full quarantine" will be imposed in nine of Ukraine's western provinces, with police monitoring the entrance and exit of all persons, she said. It will block those lacking justification for travel.
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