SYDNEY (AFP) - Australia prepared to ratchet up its swine flu alert Sunday and Saudi Arabia made plans to guard against the pandemics spread during the hajj as cases worldwide neared 30,000. Three days after the World Health Organization declared a global pandemic, Saudi junior health minister Khalid al-Zahrani said the ministry was shoring up health care services and monitoring for the disease. But the kingdom would not restrict entry to pilgrims because of the threat, the official SPA news agency reported. Saudi Arabia reported three new swine flu cases Sunday: a Mauritanian arriving from Canada and a Saudi brother and sister, taking to 12 the number of cases since the virus first appeared in the kingdom 11 days ago. In Australia, Health Minister said that with the national tally nearing 1,500 cases, the whole country would soon move to the sustain phase in line with hotspot state Victoria. This phase, Australias second-highest, gives authorities the power to cancel sports events, close schools and restrict travel, although officials say extreme measures such as closing national borders are unlikely. The WHO raised its global alert to a maximum six on Thursday, saying swine flu had reached pandemic status because of its geographical spread. Swine flu has so far infected almost 30,000 people in 74 countries and claimed 145 lives since it was first detected in Mexico in April, according to the latest WHO figures released Friday. A total of 1,458 cases of the A(H1N1) virus have been counted in Australia, the worst-hit Asia-Pacific country, with the fifth highest number of cases worldwide. As the numbers gradually increase in jurisdictions there will be steps over the coming days to move to a consistent alert level, Roxon said. Meanwhile, Thai Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva urged the country not to panic after health authorities reported 150 confirmed cases of the virus Sunday almost 10 times the tally just three days earlier. People should not panic. The death ratio for the new flu is probably lower than normal flu, Abhisit said. France meanwhile reported a further two cases of the disease Sunday after 11 school children were hospitalised following a suspected outbreak near Toulouse, in the southwest. The 11 pupils, aged around 11, were admitted to hospital with suspected A(H1N1) infections. It is in the southern hemisphere that the need for a vaccine is more urgent, as countries there are heading into winter and the height of their flu season. Swiss pharmaceutical giant Novartis on Friday stole a march on competitors by announcing it had completed a first batch of its vaccine for pre-clinical trials. A spokesman told AFP it hoped to have a vaccine in production by September or October. Novartis said it hoped to start trials on patients in July and to gain a licence soon after. It said more than 30 governments had already asked for A(H1N1) virus vaccine ingredients. The US government gave Novartis 289 million dollars (205 million euros) to help develop a vaccine. It also placed an order with Sanofi-Pasteur of France, which said it hoped to have doses ready for clinical trials in coming weeks. British-controlled GlaxoSmithKline said it could produce a vaccine in four to six months and that it was ready to convert a donation of 50 million doses of vaccine against H5N1 bird flu for the WHO to swine flu doses.