In an effort to prevent any risk of transmission of the H1N1 virus,
Colombian children will not be allowed to go to school if they present
flu-like symptoms starting Monday.
The Ministry of Education called for
parents to keep their kids at home if they show signs of coughing, and
kids who arrive at school with such symptoms will immediately be sent
Starting next week school staff will be given guides explaining how to
deal with students who seem to have the virus. Hospitals will be given
the guides as well so health experts have the necessary information.
Handouts have already been issued to businesses outlining the same
guidelines. The first step is to stay at home so as not to congest the
The second step is to regulate the sale of face masks and medicine.
Foreseeing inflation in the price of face masks due to the suspected cases of the H1N1 virus
in Colombia, the government set the price at no more than COP 180. Since news came out a few days ago about the suspected cases, stores have raised the price to at least COP 1000. With the new regulations, stores found selling face masks at a price higher than 180 pesos will be fined COP 150,000, shut down for 30 days, and the owners
could go to jail for up to 30 days.
In Colombia there are 59 suspected cases of the H1N1 virus, 12 of which
are being tested in the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
in Atlanta. The results are expected this weekend. The government is
considering closing schools and universities depending on the lab results.
People who are suspected to have the virus are being contained in their homes.
Social Welfare Minister Diego Palacio said it is just a matter of time before the pandemic alert is raised to phase six.