Chinese travel ban on UK in the face of flu epidemic

Chinese travel ban on UK in the face of flu epidemic

The nation's tourism officials have issued health warnings to members of the public following the outbreak of the H1N1 virus (swine flu) which has killed more than 1,000 people in Britain.

Hotels in the most popular areas of London have issued safety notices and the Metropolitan Police are coordinating anti-crime measures across the capital in response to the rise in crime linked to the virus.

British chiefs have been criticised for their role in the deaths of 15 of the 38 H1N1 patients in the UK, but officials in China have gone one step further by ordering tourists to wear masks while visiting Windsor Castle.

In China, it is illegal to enter the castle without a permit. Residents can't enter unless they have receipts showing they paid for their visit.

Officials in Britain have been criticised for their role in the deaths of 15 of the 38 H1N1 patients in the UK

However, many Chinese visitors to Britain have taken the advice as they try to keep safe as they travel back home.

In a message to its members, China's tourism bureau said tourists should 'avoid crowded places, avoid swimming or working in crowded places', and 'avoid flu-like illnesses, including respiratory illnesses', according to people close to the ministry.

The message was also sent to tourists from Russia, Austria, France, the Czech Republic, and several other countries.

Health officials last week said the H1N1 virus will not come close to the swine flu pandemic of 2009, which saw around 500,000 people hospitalized in Britain.

The UK has already recorded about 2,000 cases of swine flu this winter, but health officials do not expect it to reach pandemic levels.

Swine flu first surfaced last year, triggering the World Health Organisation to declare it a pandemic in April.

The virus has infected over 240 million people globally, but the WHO's most recent projection put its overall death toll at around 85,000.


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