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Australia assisting Indonesia over bird flu: PM
www.chinaview.cn 2005-09-23 20:44:49

    CANBERRA, Sept. 23 (Xinhuanet) -- Australian Prime Minister John Howard said Friday that Australia is assisting Indonesia with medication of bird flu.

    Australia will fund 10,000 doses of the anti-viral medication Tamiflu for Indonesia, which has had four deaths from bird flu since July.

    The move came after the Australian government issued a warning about the risk of bird flu in 16 Asian countries.

    The Australian government advised Australians traveling to affected nations to make sure they had access to anti-viral drugs in the event of a large-scale outbreak.

    Anti-viral medicines and protective face masks are being stockpiled at Australian missions in those countries, it was reported.

    Howard said the government is watching the issue closely and isin close contact with Indonesian authorities in relation to bird flu.

    "We are very sensitive to the possibility of these outbreaks, and one of the issues that's going to be on the agenda at the APEC(Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation) meeting in (South) Korea, at the instance of Australia and the United States, that are in fact the possibility of the threats to pandemics," he told Australia's Southern Cross Radio.

    The United Nations is calling on Indonesia to immediately slaughter poultry in all affected areas as another 22 suspected cases remain under observation.

    The H5N1 strain of bird flu has killed dozens of people and resulted in the deaths of tens of millions of birds in Asia since 2003.     Enditem

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