Coronavirus: Britain advises citizens against 'all non-essential' foreign travel

The UK's foreign secretary, Dominic Raab, is advising all citizens to avoid non-essential foreign travel as global powers attempt to spread the coronavirus outbreak. It echoes calls from many national governments.
Travellers oustside an Heathrow's airport terminal in London on March 16, 2020.
Travellers oustside an Heathrow's airport terminal in London on March 16, 2020.PHOTO: AFP

LONDON (AFP) - Britain on Tuesday (March 17) advised its citizens against all non-essential travel overseas for the next 30 days, in response to the global coronavirus pandemic.

“UK travellers abroad now face widespread international border restrictions and lock downs in various countries,” Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said in a statement.

“The speed and range of those measures across other countries is unprecedented.

“So I have taken the decision to advise British nationals against all non-essential international travel.” 

The advice is initially for 30 days but will be kept under review, the Foreign Office said.

It is not currently advising Britons in general who are abroad to immediately return, but said they should plan for the possibility that flights may be cancelled or restrictions imposed by foreign governments.

“We will continue to do everything in our power to get those British nationals affected the care, support and advice they need,” the Foreign Office statement said.

“We are also working urgently to ensure international governments have sensible plans to enable the return of British and other travellers and, crucially, that they keep borders open for enough time to allow people to return home on commercial flights.”