By Heejin Koo and Hanny Wan
May 2 (Bloomberg) — South Korea confirmed its first case of swine flu one day after a patient in Hong Kong was diagnosed with the disease, as Asian health officials battle to contain a virus that has spread to at least 14 nations on three continents.
“After a period of cell cultivation, we have deemed that the patient has contracted the virus,” Lee Jong Koo, director of the Korea Centers for Disease Control & Prevention told reporters today in Seoul.
South Korea this week raised its alert status, issued a travel “restriction” warning on Mexico, tightened checks on inbound travelers and boosted inspections of pork products. Hong Kong declared a public emergency after confirming its first case yesterday, one day after the World Health Organization said it may soon declare the world’s first influenza pandemic since 1968.
Hong Kong’s first swine flu patient is a man who arrived from Mexico on April 30, Chief Executive Donald Tsang said yesterday, urging the public not to panic. The government said today it moved 12 guests of the Metro Park Hotel, where the man stayed, to a holiday village prepared as a quarantine center.
Taiwan’s Centers for Disease Control told 24 people who traveled on the same Shanghai-to-Hong Kong flight and later returned to Taiwan to quarantine themselves until May 7, it said in a statement last night.
Hundreds more cases of swine flu are suspected in New York, Mexico, Australia and New Zealand…