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650,000 would die from bird flu, says Govt.
Last Updated: 1:05am GMT 29/10/2007
It is a grisly scenario: 650,000 deaths, with bodies piled up in shipping containers before being buried in mass graves all over the country.
That is the nightmare envisaged by the Government in what it describes as the "very likely" event of a bird flu pandemic.
The alarming prediction is contained in a confidential Home Office document drawn up to help councils and other organisations deal with a catastrophic outbreak of the deadly H5N1 strain of the virus.
It says that an estimated 650,000 people in England and Wales could die from the virus in a "reasonable worst-case scenario" – more than double the 320,000 estimated in the "prudent worst-case scenario".