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Several countries including Britain, Japan and China had urged the U.N. health agency to change how it decides to raise the alert level.
WHO chief Dr. Margaret Chan says the swine flu epidemic is in "a grace period" with the WHO alert remaining at phase 5 out of a possible six for the last month. She told the WHO annual assembly on Monday that no one can say how long this period will last.
Chan says the danger now is that the swine flu virus could mix with other flu strains and become more dangerous.
Meanwhile, officials from Britain, Japan and China believe the WHO's current system for alerting the world of a potential pandemic focuses too much on how widespread the disease has become without regard to its severity.
Some member nations are anxious to avoid having the agency declare a swine flu pandemic, because the ramifications of that scientific decision could be very costly and politically charged.
"We need to give you and your team more flexibility as to whether we move to phase 6," British Health Secretary Alan Johnson told the WHO Monday.
Japan also called for changes in WHO's system, which would move to pandemic if the virus starts to be transmitted among people outside schools, hospitals and other institutions where viruses typically pass quickly.
"It's certainly something we will look at very closely," Dr. Keiji Fukuda, WHO's flu chief, said of the proposal.
So far, the United States was noncommittal on the issue. U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius told The Associated Press she wanted more information on the proposal before taking a position, but that she was impressed how many countries supported it.