Coronavirus: Brits abroad told 'come home now while you still can'

23 March 2020, 18:05

Breaking. Picture: PA

By Kate Buck

Any Britons who are currently abroad have been told to return home "while you still can" as airports and airlines close.

Updated travel advice says all British tourists and short-stay travellers should return while commercial flights are still available.

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) said further closures to air routes may come in the next 48 hours - possibly without notice.

Some British tourists are already experiencing difficulties due to travel restrictions and domestic policies around the globe, the FCO said, but added it was working "around the clock" to support those stranded abroad.

This advice applies to British people travelling abroad, rather than those who live overseas.

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Multiple airlines, including Emirates have shut operations in the wake of pandemic
Multiple airlines, including Emirates have shut operations in the wake of pandemic. Picture: PA

The Government said it is working with airlines to keep routes open and is calling for international action for enough time to enable international travellers to return on commercial flights.

Foreign Secretary Dominic 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 said: "This is a very difficult time for British citizens travelling overseas, or those with families and loved ones abroad.

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"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."

The FCO advised British travellers to contact their tour operator or airline immediately to arrange a commercial flight if they want to leave.

More to follow...