The swine flu outbreak has become a pandemic, the World Health Organisation (WHO) has announced.
The move means the world is in the grip of a flu outbreak on a scale not seen for more than 40 years.
It does not mean the swine flu has become more deadly, just that its geographical spread is now truly global.
Professor Steve Field, chairman of the Royal College of GPs, who worked on the UK's pandemic flu plans, said: "This is a historic time because we have not had a flu pandemic in more than 40 years.
"I believe we have been at this point for a couple of weeks or so, so this declaration doesn't come as a surprise.
"For the UK it doesn't mean any real change to what we've been doing in the last few weeks."
comes as another 25 cases of swine flu were confirmed in England, taking the UK total to 822.
Prof Field said: "As a practising GP in Birmingham, we have seen an increase in cases. We are still in a case of containment but if it becomes more widespread in the community, then it means we move towards mitigation."
He said this would mean working out how best to minimise the impact of swine flu.
The College, the Health Protection Agency (HPA) and the British Medical Association (BMA) would examine how best to use the anitiviral drug Tamiflu, he said.
"We will probably use Tamiflu on at-risk groups," he said. "Who they are has not been formally signed off yet by the HPA and the Department of Health.
"They will look at who has been attacked by the virus around the world and in the UK.
"Some older people seem to have immunity and it seems to be targeting younger adults.
"The reason why we should try to contain the flu virus is that the more people who have got it, the more likely it is to mutate and produce something more serious.
"As we get more cases, we will inevitably get more serious ones who will clog up the system and put pressure on intensive care beds.
"People who are ill for other reasons may therefore be disadvantaged." Full Article Here