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Mexico opens for business after five-day flu shutdown PDF Print E-mail
Thursday, 07 May 2009

The Mexican capital began to stir back to life on Wednesday with the streets again clogged with traffic and taco vendors working the sidewalks after authorities lifted a five-day shutdown to try to contain the deadly H1N1 flu.

Security guards at a tower block checked office workers with a heat scanner to make sure they were free of fever -- one of the flu's symptoms -- when they came back to work.

The government ordered all non-essential businesses to close last week to prevent infection, bringing Mexico City almost to a halt.

The public transport network has taken to disinfecting coins to prevent spread of the virus, which contains DNA typical to avian, swine and human viruses.

Even so, some Mexicans were nervous about returning to normal public life.

"Yes, I'm scared to return to the hospital because I'm working in the emergency room and the risk for contagion is high," said Nadia Zamora, 21, a medical student.

The number of Mexicans who died from the new flu virus jumped to 42 and the number of deaths in the United States rose to two when a Texas woman died this week.

Mexican schools remain closed as a precaution against the never-before-seen flu strain.

Restaurants and cinemas are reopening, although with temporary requirements for additional space between customers.

The flu crisis may knock 0.3 to 0.5 percentage points off Mexico's gross domestic product, Finance Minister Agustin Carstens said on Tuesday.

Many were eager to emerge from their homes where they have spent much of the past five days.

"There is no fear about reopening the school, we are eager to return because we have missed a lot of classes," said Ericka Vela, 28, a psychology student.


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