Missions told to prepare for flu

The Diplomatic Protection Group (DPG) has urged London’s diplomatic missions to put business continuity plans in place over the summer break in preparation for a possible escalation of swine flu over the autumn.

A DPG spokesperson told Embassy the Metropolitan Police Service has detailed business continuity plans and was keen to reassure embassies that their advanced planning will enable the DPG to deliver “an effective and professional service to the diplomatic community” during any escalation of the swine flu.

She added that the DPG Liaison Inspectors and the DPG Security Liaison Unit would be willing to assist or offer advice where appropriate.

The embassy single points of contact (SPOCS) have been referred to the DPG secure bulletin board (https://dpgforum.met.police.uk) which will feature updates on the swine flu situation. They have also been referred to the London Resilience Team website (http://www.londonprepared.gov.uk/business continuity/makingplans/medium.jsp) which offers practical tips on business continuity for organisations forced to operate with reduced staff numbers.

Consulates, which may have to close for all but essential services, have been urged to keep their nationals informed of developments via embassy websites especially if language barriers could hamper their nationals’ access to antiviral drugs or important information.

As yet there are no plans to close schools or cancel public gatherings such as diplomatic receptions.