London, June 6: The number of people with swine flu in the UK is edging closer to 550 mark. According to the Health Protection Agency (HPA) there are reports of 19 new cases in England, 13 cases in Scotland, and one in Northern Ireland, taking the official figure to 541.
In England, five of the new cases were in the South East, four in London, four in the east of England, two in the East Midlands, two in the West Midlands, one in the North West and another in Yorkshire and the Humber region.
These include a 38-year-old woman, one of three people with swine flu in intensive care at the Royal Alexandra Hospital in Paisley, Renfrewshire, who gave birth to a premature baby on Monday.
The mother is in critical but stable condition, and the infant born at 29 weeks does not have swine flu. However, his condition is being closely monitored in the intensive care unit.
Other swine flu patients under observation in intensive care include a 45-year-old man and a 23-year-old woman who is stable and on the road to recovery.
Scotland hit hardest
Meanwhile, Scotland is the hardest hit region of the UK, per head of population.
There are 10 people being treated in hospital in Scotland with swine flu, including two healthcare workers and three critically ill people. None of the new cases are related to travel, suggesting the virus is now spreading through the community.
Three people are in the intensive care at the Royal Alexandra Hospital, Paisley.
The 45-year-old man, who was critical and in intensive care, is now showing signs of improvement and is reported stable. He has been moved into high dependency Glasgow’s Victoria Infirmary.
The regions affected by the new Scottish cases include Fife, Forth Valley, Glasgow and Clyde and the Highlands.
"The localized cases of swine flu found in the UK have so far been generally mild, and we have not seen evidence of widespread community transmission," said a spokesperson from the Health Department.
"We are continuing to work to slow the spread of the disease and to put in place arrangements to ensure that the UK is well- placed to deal with this new infection," he added.
Worldwide update of A/H1N1
The World Health Organization has issued a warning that it is on the brink of declaring a global pandemic, as the virus appears to be taking its toll outside North America.
Globally, there have been 19,315 confirmed swine flu cases in 66 countries. Though the maximum cases have been reported in Mexico and the U.S. with 117 fatalities, the virus is showing signs of spreading from person to person in countries such as Britain, Spain, Japan, Chile and Australia and India.