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The number of swine flu cases in Japan soared over the weekend, raising the likelihood that the World Health Organization will soon have to raise its pandemic alert level to 6, the highest level.
Before the outbreak began last month, Japan used about 60 percent of the world’s stock of the antiviral drug Tamiflu.
If the World Health Organization finds sustained community transmission — that is, infections between people with no connections to travel from North America — it will presumably raise its pandemic alert level to 6, because Japan is outside the W.H.O. Americas region.
May 18 (Bloomberg) -- Asian stocks fell as Panasonic Corp. and Mizuho Financial Group Inc. reported losses and oil prices slumped.