If the coronavirus outbreak wasn’t deadly enough, China is now facing the bout of swine flu with as many as 56 deaths reported in Taiwan. By Bayar Jain

At a time when the world is panicking over the deadly coronavirus, Taiwan is having to deal with the spread of Swine flu as well. With 10 confirmed cases of the coronavirus in Taiwan so far, the number of deaths due to this H1N1 flu is significantly higher at 56. According to Taiwan’s Centres for Disease Control (CDC), this number accumulated over the past three months. Moreover, according to local news media, 13 deaths have been recorded in the past week. These deaths were of people aged between 47 and 97, including an 80-year-old woman who developed a fever in late December, eventually dying of pneumonia and respiratory failure in hospital. Of the severe cases, 41 per cent of the patients are older than 65; while another 32 per cent are in the 50-64 age group.

In order to combat the influenza, the CDC is operating a seasonal influenza vaccination campaign since November 15. As a part of this campaign, locals – separated into three categories: elementary to high school; health care workers; and senior citizens – are being given free shots. However, despite this initiative, citizens have not reaped the benefits. This is evidenced by the fact that 98 per cent of the influenza patients had not received any flu vaccines, and almost 80 per cent of them have chronic diseases.

In India, the first case of influenza H1N1 was reported on May 16, 2009 from Hyderabad. That year, 981 people were killed in India due to the virus, whereas in the following year the number rose to 1,763. The ten-year period between 2009 to 2019 registered more than 1,37,323 cases and 10,614 deaths in India, making it one of the worst outbreaks of swine flu in the world. In 2020, one person from Greater Noida has been tested positive for swine flu, making it the first Indian case this year.

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