"According to the latest reports received on Tuesday, 24 persons have succumbed to H1N1 so far," said Deepak Bhatia, State Surveillance Officer of Punjab Integrated Disease Surveillance Programme.
Out of over 160 suspected patients of swine flu in the state, 67 have tested positive so far for the H1N1 virus, the official said.

In Haryana, swine flu has already claimed 15 lives this year while the number of positive cases has reached over 100.

As a part of Centre's guidelines issued to combat the H1N1 virus to states, health workers have been asked to screen people with symptoms of the flu on the basis of their severity and categorise them, he added.

Bhatia further said an advisory has been issued to both government and private schools to send students showing symptoms of swine flu on a five-day leave.

"The instructions have been issued to all government and private schools in the state in this regard," he said.

Students of all schools and colleges would also be monitored on a daily basis, as per the guidelines issued to educational institutions, he further said.

People were advised to avoid crowded places, not to sneeze or spit without the use of tissue paper/handkerchief and adopt practises of frequent hand washing with soap and water.     

Meanwhile, health officials of both Punjab and Haryana maintain that the situation is "under control" and hospitals are well equipped to take care of patients and there was no need for panic.

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