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New Zealand confirms over 300 A/H1N1 flu cases
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The number of Influenza A/H1N1 confirmed cases in New Zealand rose to 303 on Monday, up 45 from Sunday, with 219 active cases reported in the past seven days.

The Ministry of Health said the greatest number of infected people came from Wellington, with 118 affected, followed by Auckland with 91 cases. Canterbury had reported 67 cases and the Bay of Plenty Lakes region, 13.

The Ministry of Health said the majority of people experiencing relatively mild to moderate symptoms and there was no need for alarm.

The virus is also likely to cause many more infections than are seen with seasonal or ordinary winter flu, because most people have little or no immunity to it.

However, Health Ministry officials have said the actual number of people infected was likely to be "in the thousands" as doctors had stopped testing every patient.

An infected 30-year-old woman, with pre-existing illnesses, remained in critical condition at Wellington Hospital.

More cases were expected as the pandemic continued over the coming months and the virus was expected to cause many more infections than ordinary flu because most people had little or no immunity to it.

Health authorities were well-prepared should the outbreak became more severe, and they were preparing to manage the virus in the community, the ministry said.

Meanwhile, Auckland and the Bay of Plenty and Lakes region on Monday followed the lead of Wellington and Christchurch and began focusing on managing A/H1N1 flu cases rather than trying to contain the virus.

In Christchurch on Sunday night, the flu center extended its opening time by six hours a day to cope with the number of people referred to it with flu symptoms.

Health officials urged people who thinks they may have influenza should stay home from any place or activity where others are around.

(Xinhua News Agency June 22, 2009)

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