The world's governments raced to avoid both a pandemic and global hysteria on Sunday as more possible swine flu cases surfaced from Canada to New Zealand and the United States declared a public health emergency. "It's not a time to panic," the White House said.
Late Sunday, Mexico's health secretary raised the number of suspected deaths in that country to 103, and the number of cases to more than 1,600.
Mexico, the outbreak's epicenter, canceled some church services and closed markets, restaurants and movie theaters. A televised variety show filled its seats with cardboard cutouts. Few people ventured onto the streets, and some wore face masks.
Canada confirmed cases in six people, including some students who - like some New York City spring-breakers - got mildly ill in Mexico. Countries across Asia promised to quarantine feverish travelers returning from flu-affected areas.
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Image: Nuns wear facemasks during a closed-door mass at the Metropolitan Cathedral in Mexico City, on Sunday, April 26, 2009. Churches stood empty on Sunday in predominantly Roman Catholic Mexico City after services were canceled, and health workers screened airports and bus stations for people sickened by a new strain of swine flu that experts fear could become a global epidemic.
Toll in Mexico's flu epidemic rises to 103