Foreign Secretary advises all British travellers to return to the UK now
24 Mar 2020 10:27 AM
All British tourists and short-stay travellers currently abroad should return to the UK where commercial flight options are still available.
The Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) advises against all British travellers to return to the UK now. Read our latest coronavirus travel advice.
- all British travellers abroad who are usually based in the UK advised to return now
- international travel is becoming highly limited with the further closure of air routes, land borders and domestic restrictions introduced daily
- British travellers should contact their tour operator or airline now. Commercial flight options are still available at present
All British tourists and short-stay travellers currently abroad should return to the UK where and while commercial flight options are still available, the Foreign Secretary announced yesterday.
Last week, the FCO announced an unprecedented change in travel advice to advise against all but essential international travel, initially for a period of 30 days. Yesterday’s update reflects the pace at which international travel is becoming more difficult with the closure of borders, airlines suspending flights, airports closing, exit bans and further restrictions being introduced daily. Further closures to air routes may come in the next 48 hours, possibly without notice.
Some British tourists abroad are already finding difficulties returning to the UK because of international travel restrictions and domestic policies around the world. The FCO is working around the clock to support all British travelers in this situation come back to the UK.
The UK government is working with airlines to keep routes open and is calling for international action to keep air routes open for a sufficient period of time to enable international travellers to return on commercial flights.
Foreign Secretary, Dominic Raab, yesterday said:
We are strongly urging UK travellers overseas to return home now where and while there are still commercial routes to do so. Around the world, more airlines are suspending flights and more airports are closing, some without any notice.
Where commercial routes don’t exist, our staff are working round the clock to give advice and support to UK nationals. If you are on holiday abroad the time to come home is now while you still can.
Transport Secretary, Grant Shapps, yesterday said:
This is a very difficult time for British citizens travelling overseas, or those with families and loved ones abroad. We’re in close contact with airlines, who are working tirelessly to ensure British citizens travelling overseas can safely return to the UK. We are also working closely with other government departments, including the FCO to ensure airlines are able to operate to bring people back home.
British travellers should contact their tour operator or airline now to arrange a commercial flight if they want to leave. There is an unprecedented demand on the FCO’s consular services so all British tourists abroad should go online for the latest in-country advice.
This advice is aimed at British people travelling abroad, rather than those who are permanent resident overseas who are urged to follow the advice of the local authorities in their host country.
- the FCO updated its COVID-19 Exceptional Travel Advisory Notice to include the following: If you live in the UK and are currently travelling abroad, you’re strongly advised to return now, while there are still commercial routes available. Many airlines are suspending flights and many airports are closing, preventing flights from leaving.’
- further instructions for British travellers to return home can be found on the coronavirus travel advice page