Belgian cemeteries prepare for the worst over swine flu
Cities and towns in Belgium have been asked to prepare their cemeteries for an expected rise in deaths due to swine flu, a regional official has announced, following the recording of the first fatality.
"We have asked the municipalities to dig graves in advance, to avoid any problems that might be posed by frost in the winter," he said.
"We must avoid any painful, unforeseen problems for the families," he added.
On Thursday, a 34-year-old woman became the first Belgian to die due to the effects of the A(H1N1) virus, contracting a double pneumonia sparked by the potentially deadly illness.
More than 800 people have been killed around the globe by the A(H1N1) virus, which first surfaced in Mexico in April, and the World Health Organisation has warned that the pandemic is now unstoppable.
Deaths have now been recorded in five European nations: Belgium, Britain, France, Hungary and Spain.
Recent statistics show that some 700 cases have surfaced in Belgium since April 27, with 600 of them discovered in the last two-and-a-half weeks.