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Oct. 24 (Bloomberg) -- President Barack Obama declared swine flu a national emergency, the White House announced in an e-mailed statement today. The proclamation, signed last night, is designed to help U.S. medical treatment facilities deal with a surge in H1N1 influenza patients by waiving government rules on a case-by-case basis, the announcement said. For example, hospitals might be permitted to set up separate emergency facilities to deal with an influx of flu patients.