Since the start of the coronavirus crisis, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office has advised against all but essential international travel. At the beginning of the outbreak many British nationals were stuck abroad as the world’s airports began to shut down in response to the growing threat of coronavirus.
The FCO’s exceptional travel advisory notice reads: “As countries respond to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, including travel and border restrictions, the Foreign & Commonwealth Office advises British nationals against all but essential international travel.
“Any country or area may restrict travel without notice.
“If you live in the UK and are currently travelling abroad, you are strongly advised to return now, where and while there are still commercial routes available.
“Many airlines have suspended flights and many airports are closed, preventing flights from leaving.”
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The travel advisory has been in place since March 17.
Travelling to another country while a travel advisory is out will invalidate all travel insurance claims.
When will the FCO lift travel bans?
Strictly speaking, travel advisories are not travel bans.
You cannot be prosecuted for travelling internationally – although you will not be able to obtain travel insurance.
Although many airlines have been forced to ground their fleets, some commercial flights have been running, and the Government repatriated stuck Britons earlier on in the crisis.
Flights will resume for many of the big providers soon, with Jet2, Easyjet and Ryanair all announcing plans to sell flights again in June.
Despite this, the advisory has not been lifted and the Government has not solidly indicated when this will happen.
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The Government said it is continuing to look at further options for international travel.
These include “air bridges” – agreements between countries with similar transmission rates to recognise the other nation’s passenger departure screening measures and remove the need for quarantine measures for incoming passengers.
The “air bridges” scheme was approved by the Government earlier this week.
However, none of these are set in stone and only essential travel is permitted.
The changes come as the summer holiday season grows closer, with some countries putting their own bans on Brits travelling to popular destinations due to the UK’s high death and infection rate.
Those who travel into the UK will soon have to quarantine for 14 days, in plans announced earlier this month.
Greece announced that once the country had opened up to international travel again, the UK is not among the 29 countries permitted to travel there.
Greece has so far had far fewer cases of coronavirus than the UK, with 2,906 confirmed cases and 175 deaths. The Greek islands, which rely heavily on tourism, have had no confirmed cases.
Home Secretary Priti Patel said: “As the world begins to emerge from what we hope is the worst of the coronavirus pandemic, we must look to the future and protect the British public by reducing the risk of cases crossing our border.
“We are introducing these new measures now to keep the transmission rate down and prevent a devastating second wave.”
UK arrivals from the Common Travel Area, including Ireland, the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man, will be exempt from the rule, alongside a very limited group of workers, including freight drivers and medical professionals.
Anyone else arriving in the UK by plane, ferry or train would be required to provide border officials with an address where they will self isolate, and will be checked in on to make sure they are abiding by the rules.
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