"Takeout Only" Ordered For Mexico Eateries

A man wearing a face mask holds a statue of Saint Jude, the saint of lost causes, outside the Saint Jude Thaddaeus church in Mexico City, April 28, 2009. (AP Photo/Dario Lopez-Mills) AP Photo/Dario Lopez-Mills

Restaurants in Mexico City are being ordered to serve only takeout food in a widening shutdown to prevent the spread of a deadly swine flu outbreak.

Mexico City Interior Secretary Jose Angel Avila says all restaurants are prohibited from serving customers inside their establishments.

He said Tuesday the measure is meant to prevent people from gathering in close proximity and spreading a virus that has already killed as many as 152 people across Mexico.

Mexico City Mayor Marcelo Ebrard is ordering gyms, sports clubs, swimming pools and pool halls closed.

The shutdown also includes movie theaters, zoos and museums. Schools are closed nationwide.

In all, 1,995 people in Mexico have gotten pneumonia, though swine flu has not yet been confirmed. Of the 152 deaths, only 20 have been definitively linked to swine flu.

The World Health Organization raised its health alert to Phase 4 Monday, indicating the disease spreads easily but isn't yet a pandemic. World governments have been taking precautions, such as travel restrictions and warnings, though global health officials warned those measures were doing nothing to stop the virus' advance.

Meanwhile, U.S. scientists hope to have a key ingredient for a swine flu vaccine ready in early May, but even if all goes well, it still will take months before any shots are available for the necessary safety testing in volunteers.

In the U.S., health officials say the number of confirmed swine flu cases has jumped to 64.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Monday that the new count includes "a number of hospitalizations" but they did not say how many. CDC officials had said there had been just one person hospitalized.

The cases are still only in the five states where they previously were reported. There are 17 new cases in New York City, four more in Texas and three additional cases in California.

That brings the total confirmed cases to 45 in New York City, 10 in California, six in Texas, two in Kansas and one in Ohio.
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