U.S. President Barack Obama on Saturday outlined the "quick and aggressive" steps for the federal government to take to respond to the A/H1N1 flu virus that has left more than 140 cases in the country.
"Unlike the various strains of animal flu that have emerged in the past, it's a flu that is spreading from human to human," Obama said in his weekly address. "This creates the potential for a pandemic, which is why we are acting quickly and aggressively."
Although the strain has not been as potent or as deadly in the U.S., Obama warned that the country still has to take all necessary precautions in case the virus turn into "something worse."
As part of precautions, the Centers for Disease Control has recommend that schools and child care facilities with confirmed cases of the virus close for up to 14 days, and employers are also urged to do the same.
The president also urged parents and businesses think about contingency plans if children have to stay home.
"We have asked every American to take the same steps you would take to prevent any other flu: keep your hands washed, cover your mouth when you cough, stay home from work if you're sick, and keep your children home from school if they're sick," he said.
The White House has launched pages in social network like Facebook, MySpace and Twitter to support the ongoing efforts to update the public as quickly and effectively as possible, he added.
On the other hand, the U.S. will continue to invest in "every resource" necessary to treat the virus and prevent a wider outbreak.
"It is my greatest hope and prayer that all of these precautions and preparations prove unnecessary," the president said. "I would sooner take action now than hesitate and face graver consequences later."
(Xinhua News Agency May 3, 2009)