Swine flu pandemic could cost £72bn, scientists warn

A swine flu pandemic could cost the UK economy £72bn, scientists have warned.

A report from the London School of Economics, London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and Edinburgh University advised against closing schools even if the current mild pandemic escalated, claiming it would put too much strain on an already ailing economy.

They said a “high fatality” pandemic would cut gross domestic product by 3.3% to 4.3%, or from £55.5bn to £72.3bn, Reuters has reported.

The study, published in the British Medical Journal, said: “School closures and… absenteeism, whether imposed by government or the result of fear of infection in the population, could greatly increase the economic impact of a pandemic while providing questionable health gains.”

To date, the H1N1 virus has killed 187 people in Britain.

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