Russia: Stomach bug cases lead to holiday ban threat

People sunbathing on a beach

Russia's consumer watchdog is said to be threatening to ban holidays in Turkey - because of a tummy bug.

Russia's consumer rights protection organisation, which recently caused a stir over its ban on Ukrainian confectionary, is now threatening to halt the sale of holidays to Turkey over allegations that stomach bug cases are widespread in resorts frequented by millions of Russian tourists.

The government watchdog announced that it was "monitoring the situation" after what is called a "mass-poisoning" of Russian holidaymakers at two resorts in Turkey left dozens of people ill. It said that it would issue a travel ban on its citizens if the situation worsened, and might even order an evacuation if appropriate, the Interfax news agency said.

The situation has led to a war of words between Moscow's chief public health officer Gennadiy Onishchenko and Russia's Association of Tour Operators, after he accused holiday companies of sending Russians to resorts without telling them there was a "risk of disease". According to the Moscow Times, over 3.3 million Russian tourists visited Turkey in 2012, and figures have not been dented by recent political unrest.

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