Victoria’s swine flu case count jumped to 306 with the national figure sittingat 400.
Victorian Health Minister Daniel Andrews told reporters yesterday that the most of new cases confirmed overnight were aged from five to 18.
Six additional schools have closed today, taking the total number of Victorian schools shut to 11.
They include; Keilor Downs Secondary College, Melbourne High School, Canterbury Girls Secondary College, Warringa Park School, Mercy College Coburg and Gilson College Taylors Hill.
Thornbury High School and Mill Park Secondary re-opened today after being closed for a week following the diagnosis of two students with the H1/N1 virus last week.
Thornbury High School LOTE teacher Matthew Kokkinakis believes the move by his school was necessary to the successful control of the virus within the school.
“From the first moment the Year 7 and Year 9 boys were diagnosed, the school took measures to isolate the affected students and notify fellow students and their families,” he said. “VCE students have not been disadvantaged; those undertaking Unit 3 were allowed to come into the school over the week.”
Although Melbourne Girl’s College in Richmond remained open for two days following a Year 9 student testing positive to the virus, it was shut down on Friday following the confirmation of two more cases.
Fotoula Margaronis, whose two daughters attend the college, says that she is concerned but not panicking about the situation.
“They have not presented any symptoms but I will be keeping an eye on my girls so that if they come down with any symptoms I will act on it,” she said. “We cancelled their activities over the weekend including Greek school and are taking precautions to limit where they go for the week.”
Clifton Hill Primary School re-opened on Thursday, a week after a nine-year old student was the first Victorian to be identified with the virus. Maria Tsopanis, whose eight-year old son attends the school, is happy with the principal’s handling of the situation.
“Besides the initial confusion-when the school was not closed down immediately following the identified cases, I think that the communication link between the school and the parents was well developed,” she said.
Symptoms of swine flu include cough, runny nose, fever, headache, joint aches and pains, fatigue, nausea, vomiting and diarrhoea. The virus is derived from an animal influenza virus, meaning that humans have little or no immunity. The vaccine is expected to be released in the coming months.
Flu clinics have been set up at Plenty Valley Community Health at the Northern Hospital, Dandenong and Clayton, the Melton Super Clinic, the Craigieburn Clinic, the Austin and Royal Children’s Hospitals.
“Our advice is for parents to take their children if they develop symptoms to their local doctor who will then refer them to the clinics if necessary,’’ Premier John Brumby said.
Prime Minister Kevin Rudd said the Federal Government would rely on the advice of health authorities before deciding to ban public events as a way of containing the virus.