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The Exeter City Council, in southwest England, has announced plans to use 19th-century catacombs to contain the overflow of swine flu victims if the pandemic worsens.
"A council spokesman said the plan could be put into operation if the cemeteries and the crematorium could not keep up with funeral demands," according to Agence France-Presse. "We have some empty catacombs in an old cemetery in the city," a councilman said. "These are 19th century underground burial chambers which are normally a tourist attraction," he added, but can "be safely used for their original purpose and allow us to temporarily store bodies in the remote possibility that the need should arise."
Seasonal flu kills about 12,000 in England and Wales, or about 215 deaths each day during the approximately two-month season according to the Cabinet Office.
The total British swine flu death toll since the epidemic began three months ago, including also Scotland and Northern Ireland? About 30. Total swine flu deaths in the area around Exeter? About zero.