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Swine Flu May Delay Ukraine Election, Yulia Says No

9. November 2009 by Daniel 0 Comments

Amid conflicting reports of the seriousness of swine flu in Ukraine, government officials suggested this week that it may be necessary to delay the country’s January presidential election as a result of the outbreak.


An aide to Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko suggested delaying the vote from January until May in order to give the government time to bring the supposed epidemic under control. Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko, however, was quick to respond that delaying the election is unnecessary. Both Yushchenko and Tymoshenko are candidates in the presidential election.


The latest report from the Ukrainian health ministry put the number of deaths from swine flu and acute respiratory illness in the country at 155. However, the World Health Organization has confirmed only three deaths from swine flu in Ukraine, leading some to question whether the government has exaggerated the effects of the outbreak for political purposes.


In recent weeks, officials have closed schools and restricted regional travel in Ukraine in response to the outbreak.


At the same time that talk of delaying the elections began, Tymoshenko declared in a meeting with representatives of the World Health Organization that there were “positive signs” showing a decrease in the rate of people infected with the flu and acute respiratory illness.


Meanwhile, protesters in Kiev burned a replica of a surgical mask to protest what they viewed as government-inspired hysteria about the swine flu, according to the Moscow Times.