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Schools Closed In Russian City Due To Flu Outbreak

PSKOV, Russia -- Officials in the northwestern Russian city of Pskov have closed all schools and universities due to a flu outbreak, RFE/RL's Russian Service reports.

Health officials have said that the number of people with flu and respiratory illnesses in the region is almost twice as high as usual for this time of the year.

Twenty cases of swine flu have been officially confirmed in the Pskov, a city of some 200,000 people that is 20 kilometers from the Estonian border.

Aleksandr Nesteruk, Pskov's chief hygiene inspector, introduced the quarantine regime and said a special hotline has been established to assist people in getting up-to-date information regarding the availability of drugs against flu symptoms in the city's pharmacies.

The price for surgical masks to protect against the flu and medicine to for it have been raised considerably in the city's pharmacies in recent days, RFE/RL reports.

There have been 19 confirmed deaths in Russia from swine flu and more than 4,500 cases.