| GEO Health|
| Mexico helped avoid one million swine flu deaths|
| Updated at: 1006 PST, Saturday, April 24, 2010|
MEXICO CITY: The Mexican health minister on Friday defended the H1N1 alert he issued one year ago and said that Mexico's strict measures to contain the virus had helped avoid one million deaths.
"Mexico's response was transparent and immediate," Jose Angel Cordova said in comments to local media exactly one year after the release of the H1N1 alert spread panic across Mexico and the world.
"The prospect presented to us was deadly. There could have been two million sick people in three months and one million deaths," Cordova said.
Since raising the H1N1 alert on April 23, 2009, Mexico has registered more than 72,000 cases, including almost 1,200 deaths out of more than 16,900 worldwide.
Tourists fled Mexico's famous beaches and pre-Hispanic ruins last spring when the key industry was already hard hit by the financial crisis, as well as reports of deadly drug violence.
Former finance minister Agustin Carstens last year estimated the epidemic would cost the economy around 2.3 billion dollars, or close to 0.3 percent of gross domestic product.
Mexico's economy shrunk 6.5 percent overall in 2009.