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With the World Health Organization having raised the alert for the H1N1 flu pandemic to its highest level — Phase 6 — the government needs to take a coolheaded approach by carefully monitoring how the pandemic evolves.

This is the first influenza pandemic since 1968, when the Hong Kong flu killed an estimated 1 million people. H1N1 flu appears to pose a lesser threat than the Spanish flu of 1918, which is estimated to have killed 40 million people. Good cooperation among WHO, national and regional governments, medical institutions and researchers could minimize its impact.

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