Mexico and Hong Kong: Fears over the fatal swine flu virus

Confirmed and suspected cases of swine flu keep increasing and the fatal influenza epidemic has spread worldwide at an alarming speed.

As of 28 April 2009, more than 100 people have been killed by the disease in Mexico, and more confirmed cases have been found in Canada, the United States, Spain, Britain and South Korea. Suspected cases have also appeared in Brazil, France, Israel and Australia.

Margaret Chan who is now the Director-General of World Health Organization (WHO), previously served as Director of Health in Hong Kong and led the Hong Kong government to tackle the 1997 H5N1 avian flu and 2003 SARS outbreaks. Nevertheless, Hong Kong residents are expressing their fears over the leadership of Margaret Chan to fight against the recent swine flu.

Martin Oei, a senior journalist in Hong Kong, is skeptical of Margaret Chan's capability to handle another outbreak:


I believe any journalists or news commentators who have been working for over ten years shall not remember Dr Margaret Chan, the current the Director-General of the World Health Organization. When she served as Director of Health in Hong Kong, with her performance in the fight against H5N1 and SARS, it was absolutely ridiculous that she could earn massive support from China to be elected as the Director-General of the WHO. I have mentioned in the previous article that I would have rather chosen Dr Shigeru Omi from Japan.

As swine flu is spreading across the world now, it will be a big challenge for Margaret Chan. As a Hong Kong resident, looking back for her performance in H5N1 and SARS, do you have confidence in her? So, Hong Kong people have to wish for good luck and fortune by ourselves…

Other Hong Kong people also joined the discussion on Hong Kong Discuss in mocking Margaret Chan for her advice, “I eat chicken everyday,” during the early outbreak of avian flu in 1997.

Reader Phmo wonders:


I don’t know whether Margaret Chan is eating pork every day this time too!

And Edric taunts her with:


She will eat China imported pork every day

Meanwhile, the past dismal experiences of 1997's avian flu and 2003's SARS outbreak might trigger Hong Kong people’s fears over the recent swine flu. There are currently five students from the Chinese University of Hong Kong on exchange in Mexico and one of them, Daydrew Ng, wrote on Facebook of his decision to leave Mexico immediately:

Daydrew Ng at 3:55pm April 27
我同sandy 會這個星期走…我知我冇什麼資格影響你的決定…但大家都係係mexico exchange 的香港人…算係比較了解你現在心情的人….我真係覺得…我地應該走!!!


因為我肯定的係…我有好多愛我的朋友和家人…佢地都好擔心我…我唔想佢地為我擔心, 佢地支時我每一個決定, 但我都要正面回應佢地的支持…唔可以令佢地失望!…

Sandy and I will leave this week. I know I cannot affect your decision, but I understand your feeling at this moment as we are all Hong Kong people now on exchange in Mexico…..I really believe….we should leave now!!

I am not sure whether mass media are exaggerating…I don’t know the real situation either…but there is no need to know….

I know for sure that I have many friends and family members whom I love very much….they are worrying about my situation…I don’t want to let them down….they will support my every decision and I have to respond positively to their support….can’t let them be disappointed!!


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