At a WHO media briefing today, Keiji Fukuda, MD, the WHO’s assistant director-general for health security, emphasized that the rationale for any future move to pandemic alert phase 6 wouldn’t be based on disease severity, but rather on sustained outbreaks in more than one WHO region. On Apr 29 the WHO raised the pandemic alert to its current level, phase 5, which signifies sustained community outbreaks in two or more countries within one WHO region. May 4, 2009 The CDC will work with international health authorities to monitor the southern hemisphere’s flu season, beginning shortly, to see how the novel H1N1 strain behaves in competition with other flu viruses. “That will tell us a lot about whether the virus is changing and what measures we might want to take in the fall,” Besser said. The CDC will begin reporting “probable” cases of flu in addition to confirmed cases to give a better sense of the size of the US epidemic, acting director Dr. Richard Besser said Monday. In addition to the 286 confirmed cases, there are more than 700 probable cases in the United States. The World Health Organization (WHO) reported 1,085 confirmed cases of influenza A/H1N1 (swine flu) and 26 deaths in 21 countries as of 18:00 GMT (noon US EST) today, up from 985 cases in 20 countries reported earlier in the day. Mexico has reported 590 confirmed cases and 25 deaths. The WHO’s latest total reflects today’s updated US numbers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which stand at 286 cases and 1 death. [WHO update 14] Tomorrow the WHO will host its second scientific teleconference to address clinical issues surrounding patients who have influenza A/H1N1 (swine flu) infections, the WHO’s Fukuda said today at a media briefing. The conference will allow scientists to share information on crucial topics such as disease severity. The topic of the first teleconference, held on Apr 29, was the influenza situation in Mexico.
Denmark’s PKA has joined Laerernes Pension and AP Pension in backing Sparinvest Property Fund III (SPF III), which has raised a further €90m in a second closing, bringing the total raised to €243m.There are now six investors in the fund – the first closing was last June.SPF III, a fund of funds, will continue the global value-added investing strategy of the previous fund, SPF II, according to Bo Jensen, managing partner at Sparinvest Property Investors.It will invest primarily in the Americas and Asia (40% of the portfolio each), with 20% in Europe, through carefully selected “hard to find” small and medium-sized managers with hands-on operating experience. “We find good local partners to work with, as we can’t be experts all over the world,” said Jensen.SPF III will invest only in unlisted real estate, focusing mainly on the equity quadrant.The fund will commit to 14 managers and has already invested with four: two in the US, one in the UK and one in China.It hopes to select a Japan and a further US manager by year-end.The fund will maintain a prudent leverage ratio of approximately 50% loan-to-value.Its return target is 11-13% net IRR.Jensen said SPF II, which had its final close in June 2011, had seen a “fantastic” performance, with an IRR of 13%.The new fund will build and reposition commercial real estate, including retail and office properties (making up 25% and 20% of its portfolio, respectively).Residential (25% of the portfolio) will include the development of apartment blocks in India, China and South America.Jensen said this would focus on housing for middle class and lower-income families.“We normally don’t do luxury apartments, as it is too risky, with too much competition,” he said.Around 15% of the fund will be in debt instruments.PKA has now committed €60m to the fund, having committed €50m to SPF II.Nikolaj Stampe, head of property at PKA, told IPE: “We chose the fund because we wish to invest abroad but don’t have the resources to investigate markets, especially far-flung regions like the US.“We wanted a fund of funds to spread risk. And as Sparinvest is a Danish company, it is easy to work with them, especially in terms of taxation and auditing.”Stampe said PKA could also increase its exposure to specific markets by making separate co-investments to funds SPF III commits to, with Sparinvest handling the day-to-day business.PKA’s five constituent pension funds each has an allocation of 8-10% to real estate out of the total DKK200bn (€27bn) portfolio.However, Stampe said the aim was to raise this to 10% for all five funds over the next three years, with 20% of real estate allocated to international property.Meanwhile, there will be two further closings for SPF III, in Q1 and June next year, with a final target of €400m.