Cases of swine flu were confirmed early today in Israel and New Zealand, the first definitive proof that the dangerous new virus has spread to Asia.
The World Health Organization, which yesterday raised its pandemic threat level from 3 to 4, two levels below a full-scale pandemic, will not meet today to consider another increase, a spokesman said at a news conference.
While the agency said people should think carefully before traveling to or from areas known to be affected by the flu virus, spokesman Gregory Hartl said it considers formal travel restrictions and border closures ineffective because people who would be screened could be infected but not yet showing symptoms.
"Border controls don't work. Screening doesn't work," Hartl said, according to Reuters news service, describing the economically-damaging travel bans as basically pointless in public health terms.