HONG KONG (Reuters) – Across Asia, people are closely following the global spread of swine flu from Mexico and preparing for the worst after the World Health Organization raised its alert level for the outbreak.
Authorities in the region have boosted surveillance at airports and hospitals, stockpiled anti-viral drugs and other supplies to fight any outbreaks.
Face masks and anti-viral drugs like Relenza and Tamiflu flew off the shelves from pharmacies in some cities on Tuesday.
"It's really apparent, people have been buying face masks all day," said Cyrus Chan, the boss of a dispensary in Hong Kong's Wanchai bar district who had sold out his entire stock of 10,000 adult face-masks and only had child sizes left.
"Since SARS, this is the second time there's been such a great demand," Chan added, as a steady stream of customers asking for masks were told there wouldn't be any new stocks of adult masks till later.
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