Swine Flu Outbreak Costs Mexico $2.2 Billion

Staff Report
The Associated Press

MEXICO CITY (AP) - Mexico's finance secretary says the swine flu outbreak has cost the Mexican economy at least $2.2 billion.

Agustin Carstens says the government will implement a $1.3 billion stimulus package, aimed primarily at small businesses and the tourism industry, the sectors hardest hit by the epidemic.

The government will temporarily cut health insurance payments for small businesses and reduce taxes for airlines and cruise ships.

Tourism, the country's third largest source of foreign income, has taken a serious blow with hotel occupancy at half its normal rate.

Many airlines have canceled flights because of the outbreak.