Schwarzenegger proclaims state of emergency; one possible flu death

Schwarzenegger proclaims state of emergency; one possible flu death Sacramento - California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger on Tuesday declared a state of emergency to help the largest and most populous state in the US deal with the outbreak of swine flu. "While there is no need for alarm, it is the governor's top priority to limit the swine flu's spread as quickly and effectively as possible and this action represents one more step being taken to strengthen California's response capabilities," said an announcement from Schwarzenegger's office.

The proclamation cuts government red tape and orders all state agencies and departments to help the Department of Public Health and the state emergency plan to take whatever measures are needed to combat the potential pandemic.

The proclamation came after the Los Angeles Times quoted the Los Angeles County Coroner's office as saying that two deaths there may be due to swine flu. Both victims had been diagnosed with pneumonia and tests were being conducted to determine the cause of death.

A total of 11 infections have been reported in California but none of the confirmed cases so far have been serious.

Four new cases were confirmed since Monday. Three of them involved people in San Diego and Imperial Counties close to the Mexico border. The fourth case involved a student at a Sacramento school which was closed by health officials following the outbreak.(dpa)