Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva Sunday urged the country not to panic about swine flu, after the number of cases suddenly soared and a cluster emerged in a key tourist hub.
Health authorities reported 106 confirmed cases of the A(H1N1) virus late Saturday, which was nearly seven times the number just three days earlier and includes a number of foreigners.
AdvertisementOfficials last week said 21 of the new infections were found among nightclub workers in the coastal city of Pattaya, who were tested after two Taiwanese tourists said on returning home they had contracted the disease there.
A Hong Kong visitor may also have contracted the virus on the southern resort island of Phuket.
"People should not panic. The death ratio for the new flu is probably lower than normal flu," Abhisit said in his weekly television programme.
He said the government was taking extra measures whenever cases were reported to confine the disease.
The government has begun a mass disinfection programme in hundreds of Bangkok's schools, while two private schools near each other in the capital were closed for a week after a student at one of them contracted the virus.
Thailand had its first reported case of swine flu on May 12 and its first domestic case in early June but there have been no fatalities.
The UN health agency raised its global alert for the virus to a maximum six last week saying it had reached pandemic status because of its geographical spread.
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