MEXICO CITY - The global swine flu outbreak spread further yesterday as Germany became the latest country to confirm cases on its soil while Mexico desperately tried to keep the lid on the virus.

With fears rising of easy transmission between people, Mexico City shut down bars, cafes, gyms, cinemas and tourist sites, including the world-famous Aztec and Mayan pyramids.

But as the Mexican government revised its confirmed number of swine flu dead victims down to seven from 20 after more rigorous testing was introduced, officials said more than 100 people were still suspected to have died from the virus and more than 1600 were thought to be infected in the outbreak's epicentre.

Hours after Costa Rica joined the list of affected countries, Germany became the eighth when it confirmed it was dealing with three definite cases.

While Mexico remained the only country to have recorded deaths from the virus, other nations announced their infection tallies had increased.

The World Health Organisation has raised its warning level to Phase 4 on a 1-6 scale, which indicates the illness is being passed from person to person, though officials said much about the outbreak was unknown.

Experts say the virus - a version of swine flu identified as A/H1N1 - cannot be caught from eating pork, and recommend the washing of hands. - Sapa-AFP