British tourists and short-stay travellers currently abroad have been advised to return to the UK while commercial flight options are still available, the Foreign Secretary has said.
Last week, Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab announced an unprecedented change in travel advice – advising against all but essential international travel, initially for a period of 30 days.
Today’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.
Mr Raab 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 added: “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 are advised to go online for the latest in-country advice.
The 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.