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FCO gives urgent warning to ‘avoid all non-essential foreign travel’ over coronavirus

by LLB Reporter
17th Mar 20 1:39 pm

The Foreign Secretary, Dominic Raab has warned Britons to “avoid all non-essential foreign travel for 30 days,” as the coronavirus pandemic grows.

Speaking in the House of Commons Raab told MPs the “fast-changing international circumstances” of the pandemic requires the Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) to change travel advice.

He said, “UK travellers abroad now face widespread international border restrictions and lockdowns in various countries.

“The FCO will always consider the safety and the security of British nationals, so with immediate effect I’ve taken the decision to advise British nationals against non-essential travel globally for an initial period of 30 days and of course subject to ongoing review.”

The FCO warned that Britons who travel abroad should be “fully aware of the increased risks of doing so.

“That includes the risk that they may not be able to get home, if travel restrictions are put in place.

“Anyone still considering travel to be realistic about the level of disruption they are willing and able to endure, and to make decisions in light of the unprecedented conditions we face.”

Currently the FCO are not advising Brits to return back to the UK, but they warned Brits that flights may be “cancelled at short notice.”

The department warned there has been 430 different changes in travel advice in just one week.

“British people should keep in mind that flights may be cancelled at short notice or other travel restrictions may be put in place by foreign governments.”

Raab told MPs, “This decision has been taken based on the domestic measures introduced in the UK alongside the changes to border and a range of other restrictions which are now being taken right around the world.

“The speed and the range of those measures across other countries is unprecedented, some of those decisions are being made without notice.

“In some countries, even in countries or particular areas where there haven’t yet been any reported cases of Covid-19, local authorities are nonetheless imposing restrictions on movement and again doing so with little or sometimes no notice.”

The government has been warned that unless there is “urgent” intervention UK airports could close “within weeks” due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The Airport Operators Association said, “we are clear that airports will shut down in weeks unless urgent action is taken to support the industry”.

They have called on the government to suspend business rates and all other taxes on UK airports.

The transport secretary, Grant Shapps warned commuters on Monday that due to the rapid decline in people using trains, they could be shut down.

On Monday the British Prime Minister, Boris Johnson told reporters at a press conference in Downing Street, that “now is the time for everyone to stop non-essential contact and to stop all non-essential travel”

As part of a range of stringent new measures, Johnson has now urged people to work from home and avoid pubs, clubs and theatres.

However, the UK is set to follow Italy, Spain, France and Ireland by closing restaurants, pubs and cafes, as the government has not ruled out a total shut down to combat coronavirus.

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