In April 2009 a new strain of the H1N1 flu virus, dubbed ‘swine flu’, broke out in several countries and severely affected travel to Mexico.
The swine flu crisis forced tour operators and cruislines to cancel trips to Mexico, where the disease is thought to have originated.
This page features updates on Foreign Office travel advice and the latest World Health Organisation alerts, as well as news feeds and links to background information on swine flu.
Foreign Office latest
The FCO is no longer advising against travel to Mexico.
World Health Organisation latest
The WHO is raising its pandemic alert to phase six (‘widespread human infection’)
Swine flu news from Travel Weekly
Swine Flu on Google News
Travellers are being advised to consult a doctor immediately if they show signs of flu-like symptoms.
The Mexican Secretariat of Health advised people to avoid large crowds, shaking hands, kissing people as a greeting or using the subway. It has recommended people maintain a distance of at least six feet from other persons and claims frequent hand washing may decrease the risk of exposure.
The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is also advising against non-essential travel to Mexico.
Travel industry response
ABTA has issued an FAQ for travellers. The travel association advises customers who booked a package holiday to contact their tour operators, and those who are travelling independently to contact the company they booked with.
Thomson, First Choice and Thomas Cook have temporarily cancelled outbound flights to Mexico.
Cruiselines including Princess, Royal Caribbean, Carnival, Holland America Line and Fred Olsen are avoiding Mexican port calls, replacing them with days at sea or alternative destinations.
The swine flu crisis has forced the Mexican Tourism Board to reconsider a UK marketing campaign planned for next month. MTB director for Europe Manuel Diaz Cebrian told Travel Weekly’s Ian Taylor, “Now is not the time to show images of Mexico.”
- Discuss it:Swine Flu on the travelhub forums
Image: Sipa Press / Rex Features
Out on the Pacific coast in the resort of Acapulco the majority of people appear unfazed by what is happening. The images of crowds in face masks in Mexico City could be from another place.
Ian Taylor reports from Acapulco
Find out more
Similar swine flu viruses have jumped from pigs to people before and have always petered out without causing a pandemic because they were not good enough at spreading in people. This virus may do the same thing.
Swine Flu: What you need to know – Newscientist.com
Border Agency leaflet and poster
The UK Border Agency has produced publicity material offering advice for people entering the UK with flu-like symptoms. Download them below.
Twitter updates: US Center for Disease Control and Prevention
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