Countries are advising their citizens to avoid travelling to Mexico, the epicentre of the swine flu outbreak, but so far nations have generally refrained from taking similar action against Canada and the USA.

Britain has issued a travel advisory telling its citizens to avoid all but essential travel to Mexico as has Australia, Canada, New Zealand and the United States.

The European Union health commissioner Androulla Vassiliou has advised that EU citizens postpone all nonessential travel to Mexico and parts of the USA.

Canada and parts of the USA have confirmed cases of swine flu.

So far countries have generally refrained telling their citizens to avoid those places but countries have advised that their citizens exercise caution when travelling to Canada and the USA.

The USA, Canada, New Zealand, Israel, Spain and Britain have 64, 6, 3, 2, 2 and 2 confirmed cases respectively but so far no deaths.

Mexico has 152 deaths from swine flu and the Mexican Government, as a precautionary measure, has closed all kindergartens, schools, universities and tourist attractions until 6 May.

All government-sponsored events involving large crowds have also been cancelled.

Airports around the world, meanwhile, have started to screen passengers for flu-like symptoms and airlines are making it easier for passengers to delay trips to Mexico.

IATA director general, Giovanni Bisignani, says "it's still too early to judge what impact swine flu will have on the [airline] bottom line."

"But it's sure that anything that shakes the confidence of passengers has a negative impact on the business."

"And the timing could not be worse, given all of the other economic problems airlines are facing."

Source: Air Transport Intelligence news