MEXICO CITY/GENEVA (Reuters) - Mexico's president told citizens to stay home from Friday for a five-day partial shutdown of the economy, after the World Health Organisation raised its alert level and said a swine flu pandemic was imminent.
In his first televised address since the crisis erupted last week, President Felipe Calderon told Mexicans to stay home with their families. The country will suspend non-essential work and services, including some government ministries, from May 1-5.
President Barack Obama said during an evening news conference at the White House on Wednesday there was no need for panic and rejected the possibility of closing the border with Mexico.
"At this point, (health officials) have not recommended a border closing," he said. "From their perspective, it would be akin to closing the barn door after the horses are out, because we already have cases here in the United States."
Obama also praised his predecessor for stockpiling anti-viral medication in anticipation of such an outbreak.
"I think the Bush administration did a good job of creating the infrastructure so that we can respond," Obama said. "For example, we've got 50 million courses of anti-viral drugs in the event that they're needed."
Mexico orders economic shutdown; pandemic imminent | U.S. | Reuters