Australia decrees powers to quarantine swine flu victims

Australia decrees powers to quarantine swine flu victimsSydney - Australians suspected of having swine flu could be forcibly detained under a new quarantine measure decreed by the government.

"It would also increase the powers of the chief health officer, who would have the ability to detain an infected person if they are putting others at risk," New South Wales Health Minister John Della Bosca said in a statement Wednesday explaining the new powers.

"I must stress this is just precautionary - there is no suggestion we need these powers at this point in time, but we want to be able to respond quickly if the situation changes suddenly."

Ninety-one people have been tested for swine flu in Australia, but there have been no confirmed cases.

The captains of aircraft arriving from the Americas are now obliged to report to quarantine officers any passengers they suspect of having any form of influenza.