Colombia Finance Minister Oscar Ivan Zuluaga expressed his concern
Tuesday about the possible negative effects on the Colombian economy,
particularly the tourism industry, if the swine flu virus finds its way to the country.
The Colombian economy already has been hit hard by the global financial crisis and the dramatic consequences of an outbreak of the virus inside Colombia would be “very serious”, Zuluage said after talking to his Mexican counterpart Agustin Carstens.
“The basic suspension of ordinary life, all public acts, the visits to tourism establishments, the canceling of numerous activities and things like that can generate additional pressure on the economic activity at an already very difficult moment,” Zuluaga said.
“We have to do everything within our power to control the spreading of this problem, otherwise the consequences for the economy in general are disastrous,” the Minister added.
Zuluaga added that no sectors of the economy would be immune to the consequences of an outbreak. “Tourism, visitors, the export of products; Many countries want to close the doors for certain kinds of products believing that this can be of consequence.”
The government will evaluate the impact of a possible presence of the virus in Colombia and decide “what needs to be done about the economy.”
Meanwhile, the number of probable swine flu cases in the country was brought down from twelve to four. According to Social Welfare Minister Diego Palacio, these patients are under strict medical observations, because they show symptoms of the swine flu. Results of tests that could confirm or deny if it is the possibly deadly virusare not expected until Thursday. Another 42 people are also under surveillance, but do not show specifri signs of the virus.
The airports of Bogota and Medellin are on heightened alert for the possible entry of carriers of the virus and port authorities in Turbo on the Atlantic coast have increased the level of alert to limit the risk of the virus entering Colombia.