With an estimated 55,000 cases of the H1N1 virus in the last week, the UK government has announced that a pandemic website will be launched in the next few days.
Under-fire Health Secretary Andy Burnham said the service would allow people to get advice about the illness online – or call a helpline number. Burnham has denied that the government’s response to swine flu has been muddled. It comes in the wake of seemingly conflicting advice about the disease. “Our advice to the public about dealing with it has not changed. However, as cases rise, its understandable that people are becoming more concerned and all organisations have a role to play in providing reassuring, consistent and clear advice,” Burnham told Parliament. The Health Department’s most controversial advice involved advising women against getting pregnant until the spread of the virus subsides. Pregnant women do run a higher risk of complications from H1N1 influenza but experts said this was “scaremongering”. British Airways and Virgin Atlantic have told front line staff to look out for passengers showing symptoms of the illness. Sufferers will not be allowed to board planes.