Anya Tsukanova reports via AFP:
KIEV — Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko on Friday ordered a three-week closure of Ukraine’s schools and cinemas in the toughest measures adopted yet to combat the swine flu virus in Europe.
“From today, all the school establishments in Ukraine — be they private or public — will be put on three weeks of holiday,” she told her cabinet in comments carried on Ukrainian television.
Tymoshenko said the government would also be banning “all public gatherings, every concert and every cinema showing for three weeks.” The government will also introduce “special regimes” to limit the movement of Ukraine’s citizens from one region to another for non-urgent purposes, she said. Ukraine has borders with four EU countries.
The prime minister’s tough actions came as Ukraine confirmed its first deaths from the A(H1N1) virus, amid a growing panic over several dozen unexplained deaths in the west of the country.
Four people in Ukraine are now confirmed to have died from the virus, the secretary of the country’s national security council Raisa Bogatyriova said, according to the Ukrainian presidency. In the Ternopil region alone in western Ukraine, 30 people have died of unexplained causes in the last days, health ministry spokeswoman Lyudmila Gordon told reporters.
Tymoshenko also threatened to revoke the licenses of pharmacies that failed to stock the appropriate level of anti-flu medicine and masks. “We can say today that Ukraine has entered into the zone of the swine flu epidemic,” Health Minister Vassyl Kniazevich said.
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