Panic in London

Published: Monday 15 February 1999

A STRAIN of influenza emanating from Sydney, Australia, is being blamed for causing chaos in London's health care system and delaying thousands of Britons from returning to work. The Sydney flu bug has been sweeping southern parts of Britain after initially being found in the British Midlands and the north of the country.

Health experts said the virus was responsible for confining 45,000 people to bed during the holiday season. The bug sparked chaos in London's ambulance and hospital services.

Victims panicked and made thousands of calls for help from the doctors on the emergency services telephone numbers.

"Doctors fear the situation will get worse as the Sydney flu bug, which can last up to 10 days, continues to sweep south from the north of England and the Midlands," stated English newspaper Evening Standard in a front-page article. A British hospital said it had been forced to hire a refrigerated trailer to store bodies because its morgue was overflowing with the victims of the flu epidemic.

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