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More illness claims at Egyptian hotel where two Brits died, ITV News learns

As officials in Egypt announced a "robust" hygiene investigation at the hotel where a British couple died last week, ITV News has obtained information on dozens of sickness claims from guests at the same establishment.

Last week, John and Susan Cooper from Burnley died while on a Thomas Cook holiday - they had been staying at the Aqua Magic Hotel in Hurghada, run by the Stegenberger Group.

ITV News research shows that 68 gastric illness claims have so far been launched by UK tourists who stayed at the same place.

Many of these claims are at an early stage, but some of the holidaymakers we have spoken to say they suffered very upsetting stomach problems.

The tour operator, Thomas Cook, says it knows of 13 cases of illness while Mr and Mrs Cooper were at the resort.

John and Susan Cooper from Burnley died while staying at the Aqua Magic Hotel in Hurghada run by the Stegenberger Group.

The Egyptian government on Thursday announced details of an investigation into food preparation at the hotel and says it will also look at water and air conditioning at the resort.

Egyptian officials said they've determined there was "no toxic or harmful gas" in the hotel room used by Mr and Mrs Cooper.

Egypt's minister for tourism has made her first comments on the investigation saying "all the details of the investigation will be shared in full transparency and available to all for scrutiny".

Rania al-Mashat said: "It is anticipated that this work will be concluded during next week.

"It is crucial for everyone involved in the tragic passing away of John and Susan, none more so than the grieving Cooper family, that we get to the bottom of the matter and determine the truth based on evidence."

Hotel guest Isobel Westwood, who had been at the resort at the same time as Mr and Mrs Cooper, told ITV News: "I was disgusted, dirty napkins, there was milk left on the table, none of the food was covered up, many flies everywhere."

Tour operator Thomas Cook used the hotel for some of its Egyptian holidays. Credit: PA

Emma and Anthony Pope, who were at the hotel in July, said: "There were quite a few people ill. We were ill from the beginning, then we saw the Thomas Cook rep and filled in the paperwork.

"Every time we saw him he was with somebody else filling in the same paperwork. Around the pool the talk was all about people being ill - there was always somebody in bed ill."

Thomas Cook said: "When our health and safety team arrived at the Steigenberger hotel after the tragic death of Susan and John Cooper, we quickly established that there was an increase in sickness among guests.

"That’s why we took action to move all of our customers out of the hotel. It is clear that something has gone wrong during this period, and as a result we are not taking customers to this hotel until further notice.

"We are asking anyone who has been unwell after staying at the Steigenberger this summer to speak to us directly as a matter of urgency to help us to understand what has happened."

The firm added: "We are also talking to industry partners, including other tour operators whose guests may also have experienced sickness after staying at the Steigenberger.”

Tour operator Thomas Cook made arrangements to have all its customers removed from the hotel after the deaths.

The hotel owners told ITV News they are running their our investigations and supporting officials.

They said: "We are deeply saddened by the tragic death and all of our thoughts are with the family. In addition to our full support of the authorities, the tour operator and the franchise partner we are highly engaged in running our own investigations concerning the tragedy.

"We are taking the statements from Alice Cope and the other guest very serious. In respect for the family and the investigations of the authorities we cannot comment on statements or pictures at the moment."