QUITO -(Dow Jones)- Ecuador’s government declared a health emergency on Tuesday to prevent cases of a deadly swine flu, a Health Ministry official told Dow Jones Newswires.
“We are very concerned about the situation,” Marcelo Aguilar said in an interview. “No cases of swine flu have been detected in Ecuador, but we want to take preventive measures to be prepared if it is necessary.”
Aguilar asked people to keep calm because “there is no outbreak here.”
The emergency will allow for extraordinary spending on preventive measures of around $5 million, including the purchase of medicines and a public service campaign, a ministry official said.
Ecuador’s government has also placed a temporary ban on imports of pigs and pork products from the U.S. and Mexico and may also ban imports from Canada.
Doctors are screening passengers arriving at Ecuador’s airports and seaports if they have been in Mexico or the U.S. for signs of infection from the virus.
Doctors are working 24 hours a day at the international airports of Mariscal Sucre, in Quito, and Jose Joaquin de Olmedo Airport, in Guayaquil, to carry out medical checks on passengers with flulike symptoms.
-By Mercedes Alvaro, Dow Jones Newswires