LONDON (AFP) — Travel firms grounded flights to Mexico and suspended trips to the resort of Cancun Tuesday, as the death toll from confirmed and suspected swine flu cases in Mexico topped 150.
Thomas Cook said it was suspending holidays to Cancun for the next week and Thomson and its sister company First Choice, suspended flights to Mexico and said they would begin repatriating travellers.
"Thomas Cook has made the decision to cancel holidays departing to Cancun for the next seven days," following a change of travel advice by the Foreign Office late on Monday, a spokesman said.
The British couple who are being treated for swine flu had spent their honeymoon in Cancun, although it is not known which company they travelled with.
A passenger who reported feeling unwell on a flight from Cancun which landed at Manchester Airport has been sent home and will seek treatment from her doctor, a spokesman for the Health Protection Agency said.
"She had some symptoms of illness during the flight. That has been investigated and she is quite well but she is being sent home and will be further investigated by her GP (doctor)," he said.
He said passengers and crew had been given advice on what steps to follow if they developed flu-like symptoms.
Thomson Airways cancelled two flights bound for Cancun on Tuesday -- a service from London's Gatwick airport and another from Manchester.
"While we do appreciate that the news may be a great disappointment to customers, we hope they will also understand that their health and safety is of paramount importance to us," Thomson said in a statement.
Germany's leading tourism group, TUI, said Monday it was cancelling visits to Mexico City until May 5 owing to the swine flu outbreak and offered alternatives to customers who had planned to travel to other parts of Mexico.
The outbreak of swine flu threatens to hit Mexico's travel industry hard.
But the outspoken head of Irish budget airline Ryanair, Michael O'Leary, played down the danger of the virus to travellers.
"It is a tragedy only for people living... in slums in Asia or Mexico, but will the honeymoon couple from Edinburgh die? No," he told journalists.
O'Leary said that "a couple of Strepsils (a brand of throat lozenges) will do the job."
Ryanair does not operate flights to Mexico.
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