A Department of Health spokesperson has claimed the organisation will do all it can to ensure people and businesses have access to as much information on swine flu as possible.

The public body exists to improve the health and wellbeing of people in England and has plans to deliver a leaflet to all households in the UK, which will hold information on what swine flu is and how people can protect themselves.

Meanwhile, employers have been urged by the Institution of Occupational Safety and Health (IOSH) to prepare contingency plans in case a large number of staff falls ill, such as employing flexible working practices and relaxing some policies to allow employees who are ill to stay at home.

The Department of Health representative said it will continue to monitor the situation closely and keep it "under review".

"It would be wrong to make commitments at this stage, but we will do everything possible to ensure that people in the UK have timely access to good information," the speaker added.