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The H1N1 strain of flu is rapidly spreading into China’s vast countryside and there could be a spike in cases around the Lunar New

period when millions head back to their home towns, the health ministry said.

The world’s most populous nation has reported 648 deaths to date from what is often called swine flu, a tiny portion of the estimated 12,220 deaths around the globe, but has launched a massive vaccination campaign.

“Outbreaks in Beijing, Shanghai, other large cities and in schools have seen an obvious decline, but the virus continues to spread into villages and communities,” the Health Ministry said in a statement on its website (www.moh.gov.cn). Reuters

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