Pig flu hits mainland China

CHENDU: China confirmed its first mainland case of swine flu on Monday and launched a search for the patient’s fellow air passengers to prevent the virus spreading in the world’s most populous nation.

The 30-year-old man surnamed Bao was hospitalised with a fever after arriving in Sichuan province in south-western China on a flight from the United States via Tokyo and Beijing on Saturday, the Ministry of Health said.

Officials said Bao, whose full name was not given, was in a stable condition at a hospital in the Sichuan provincial capital of Chengdu. Bao had travelled to Beijing on Northwest Airlines flight NW029 from Tokyo before connecting on a domestic flight to Chengdu, the ministry said.

China, which has come under foreign criticism for its tough swine-flu quarantine measures, launched a search for Bao’s fellow passengers from both flights, state media said. About 120 of the Tokyo-Beijing passengers had been found, Xinhua news agency said, quoting Beijing’s emergency response office. There were 233 passengers on the flight, 106 of them foreigners, the health ministry said. Officials had contacted many passengers and were “persuading them to take quarantine measures,” Xinhua reported.