ISLAMABAD, Jan. 12 (Xinhua) -- Pakistani Health Ministry informed the parliament on Tuesday that 219 cases of swine flu have so far been detected in the country.
Health Minister Makhdoom Shahabuddin told the National Assembly that 14 casualties have been reported due to the global disease.
He said the federal government has decided to install scanners at all international airports and ground entry points to control swine flu.
He said the government has also provided necessary medicines to the provincial governments and Pakistan Army for treatment of swine flu.
The deaths from H1N1 influenza since May 2009 have led to rising public fear and concern, and experts are calling on the government to introduce more preventative measures.
Experts say one of the factors behind the recent rise in H1N1 cases has been the return from Saudi Arabia at the end of November of thousands of pilgrims who had gone on the Haj pilgrimage.
"The return of 150,000 pilgrims in cold, dry weather raises the risk of swine flu as in these conditions the virus spreads rapidly," Rafiq Khanani, President of the Infection Control Society of Pakistan, recently said at a seminar in Karachi.
Shahabuddin said that 828 patients have been tested and 219 of them have been tested positive. He said that the World Health Organization had promised to provide vaccine by Jan. 10 but it has now sought a week more time to supply vaccine.
Officials say about two million vaccines would be available this month, with vulnerable people, including pregnant women and health workers, to be inoculated first.
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