An outbreak of seasonal and swine flu, which hit Ukraine last week, has claimed the lives of 71 people, the country's prime minister said on Tuesday.

"Seventy-one people have died of flu as of today," Yulia Tymoshenko said reporting to parliament on the spread of flu and acute respiratory illness.

The death toll from the A/H1N1 virus has not changed since Monday's 22 fatalities.

The health ministry said on Monday 255,000 flu cases had been reported in the country, with 15,000 receiving treatment in hospital.

The government has imposed quarantines in nine western provinces to curb the spread of swine flu, which originated in the Tirnopol Region, closed all education establishments in Kiev and obliged people to wear medical masks in all catering establishments, shops and social services facilities across Ukraine.

Tymoshenko and other top officials met a cargo of 300,000 doses of the Tamiflu medication against swine flu from Switzerland at an airport on Sunday.

Slovakia closed two of the five crossings on the border with western Ukraine on Monday over the flu scare, according the AFP. Hundreds of thousands of people pass through the border checkpoints every day.

However, Tymoshenko, who insisted there is no swine flu pandemic in the country, but instead an ordinary seasonal flu outbreak, said on Tuesday "the situation has stabilized," as the growth of flu cases has slowed down somewhat.

Tymoshenko earlier criticized drug stores for shortages of medicines and blamed "media hysteria" and politicians' populist statements for causing the deficit. She pledged further measures to curb the flu, as well as the panic.

Later on Tuesday, parliament approved the allocation of 1 billion hryvnias ($125 million) on measures to fight swine and seasonal flu.

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