Simon Calder: Keep calm and carry on ... please

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The Independent Online

Taking the temperature of travellers will soon become a common sight at airports. But in the past 48 hours, I have already taken the temperature of the travelling public, metaphorically speaking, through the revealing media of a radio phone-in and an online web chat.

Until the weekend, the main fear for anyone heading to the vast, beautiful and friendly nation of Mexico was being caught up in the drug-related violence, but since then we have all become experts on the latest threat to our collective health.

Naturally, we all sympathise with the families of the victims of swine flu but most British visitors to Mexico head for the Caribbean or Pacific coasts far from the outbreaks of swine flu.

I would not hesitate to fly to Mexico, or anywhere else over the next few days or weeks. Judging from the questions put to me in the past two days, I would find plenty of room on board.

"I'm flying long haul – how can I be sure the cabin crew won't be just back from Mexico?" left me at a loss for words, as did its comrade-in-consternation, "Will the plane I am flying on next Saturday have been to Mexico?"

The old wartime invocation to "Keep Calm and Carry On" is the message the Government should be putting out. As well as laying in stocks of flu vaccine it might consider distributing to households a soothing cup of herbal tea – camomile would do nicely – and a map.

This chart could cover the whole world, revealing to travellers just how far the isolated outbreaks of swine flu are from mainstream holiday resorts; or if sentiments such as "why don't they ground all planes at once to stop it spreading" prevail, it could simply show the location of the nearest dole office.

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