Coronavirus: Foreign Office advises against all travel ‘indefinitely’

The Foreign Office[1] has changed its restrictions to advise against all non-essential travel "indefinitely". The previous travel ban[2] only ran until 16 April, but the advice has now been extended with no end date in sight. In a post shared on social media on Saturday, the FCO wrote: "Travel update: The Foreign Office indefinitely advises against all non-essential global travel".

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A video attached to the tweet read: "We now advise against all non-essential global travel - indefinitely.

The situation is changing rapidly. Travellers could face severe disruption and be unable to return to the UK."

The advice against all non-essential global travel[4] was first put in place on 17 March for an initial period of 30 days.

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Some tour operators and airlines are still selling holidays and flights departing not long after the original end date of the restrictions. For example, Europe's largest package holiday provider, Tui, is offering a range holidays leaving on 2 May, while easyJet is selling flights departing 1 May.

When The Independent did a search, it seemed the airline was also selling flights in the two weeks prior, but that the majority of these are listed as being "sold out". A spokesperson for UK travel trade association Abta said: "Although the advice has now changed for an indefinite period, this is now in essence the same as any 'all but essential' travel advice and it could be removed at any time.

"As such there is no change to the advice for members and customers in this regard. Travel companies can still look at imminent departures and decide how far in advance they will begin to offer alternative arrangements/ refunds or equivalent options."

EasyJet told The Times it is constantly evaluating its schedule depending on demand and government guidelines, saying it has an "ongoing rolling cancellation programme in place and is working through these having taken April off sale".

Tui said of its holidays: "Should the advice be extended, we will proactively contact affected customers to discuss their options and take holidays off sale."

Multiple concerned consumers have been in touch with The Independent asking whether they should cancel upcoming holidays and risk losing their deposits, or pay out more money for a trip they think is sure to be cancelled.

The Independent's travel correspondent Simon Calder advises paying up the full balance[5] where possible.

leftCreated with Sketch. rightCreated with Sketch.

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A man walks down a deserted Camden High Street

Photos Angela Christofilou

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Goodge Street Station is one of the many stations closed to help reduce the spread

Angela Christofilou

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An empty street in the heart of Chinatown

Angela Christofilou

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People in masks in Chinatown a day after the lockdown

Angela Christofilou

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A near-empty Piccadilly Circus during the first week of lockdown

Angela Christofilou

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Sonja, my neighbour, who I photographed while taking a short walk.

It was nice to briefly chat even from a distance

Angela Christofilou

7/29

A couple sit on the empty steps of the statue Eros in Piccadilly Circus

Angela Christofilou

8/29

Making sure I stay two-meters apart - D'Arblay Street, Soho

Angela Christofilou

9/29

A mannequin behind a shop window. UK stores have closed until further notice

Angela Christofilou

10/29

A notice displayed on a shop window in Camden

Angela Christofilou

11/29

As part of the lockdown, all non-essential shops have been ordered to close.Image from Camden High Street

Angela Christofilou

12/29

A skateboarder wearing a mask utilises his exercise allowance in the Camden area

Angela Christofilou

13/29

Communities have been coming together in a time of need

Angela Christofilou

14/29

A woman stands alone in a deserted Oxford Street. Up until a few weeks ago, on average, half a million people visited the street per day

Angela Christofilou

15/29

A couple walk hand in hand down a street in Soho, a day before the stricter lockdown was announced

Angela Christofilou

16/29

During the first week of March, shoppers focused on stockpiling necessities ahead of a countrywide lockdown

Angela Christofilou

17/29

Many supermarkers are operating a queuing system to make sure only a limited amount of customers are allowed in at anyone time

Angela Christofilou

18/29

'Stay Safe' - Curzon cinemas are temporarily closed under the new measures

Angela Christofilou

19/29

Pubs, restaurants and bars were ordered to shut as part of the lockdown

Angela Christofilou

20/29 Camden High Street

There are fears that coronavirus could lead to permanent closure of struggling shops

Angela Christofilou

21/29

Camden Town is eerily silent on a normal working day

Angela Christofilou

22/29

Shops and supermarkets ran out of hand sanitisers in the first week of the lockdown.

As we approach the end of the second week most shops now have started to stock up

Angela Christofilou

23/29

Empty streets around Soho

Angela Christofilou

24/29

A noticeboard on Camden High Street urges the public to stay at home

Angela Christofilou

25/29

Camden High Street, one of London's busiest tourist streets turns quiet

Angela Christofilou

26/29

Thriller Live confirmed its West End run ended in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak

Angela Christofilou

27/29

Empty and eerie Soho streets after stricter rules on social distancing announced

Angela Christofilou

28/29

A woman pauses for a cigarette on Hanway Street, behind Tottenham Court Road

Angela Christofilou

29/29

A man steps outside onto Hanway Street, that sits behind what is usually a bustling retail hub

Angela Christofilou

1/29

A man walks down a deserted Camden High Street

Photos Angela Christofilou

2/29

Goodge Street Station is one of the many stations closed to help reduce the spread

Angela Christofilou

3/29

An empty street in the heart of Chinatown

Angela Christofilou

4/29

People in masks in Chinatown a day after the lockdown

Angela Christofilou

5/29

A near-empty Piccadilly Circus during the first week of lockdown

Angela Christofilou

6/29

Sonja, my neighbour, who I photographed while taking a short walk. It was nice to briefly chat even from a distance

Angela Christofilou

7/29

A couple sit on the empty steps of the statue Eros in Piccadilly Circus

Angela Christofilou

8/29

Making sure I stay two-meters apart - D'Arblay Street, Soho

Angela Christofilou

9/29

A mannequin behind a shop window. UK stores have closed until further notice

Angela Christofilou

10/29

A notice displayed on a shop window in Camden

Angela Christofilou

11/29

As part of the lockdown, all non-essential shops have been ordered to close.Image from Camden High Street

Angela Christofilou

12/29

A skateboarder wearing a mask utilises his exercise allowance in the Camden area

Angela Christofilou

13/29

Communities have been coming together in a time of need

Angela Christofilou

14/29

A woman stands alone in a deserted Oxford Street.

Up until a few weeks ago, on average, half a million people visited the street per day

Angela Christofilou

15/29

A couple walk hand in hand down a street in Soho, a day before the stricter lockdown was announced

Angela Christofilou

16/29

During the first week of March, shoppers focused on stockpiling necessities ahead of a countrywide lockdown

Angela Christofilou

17/29

Many supermarkers are operating a queuing system to make sure only a limited amount of customers are allowed in at anyone time

Angela Christofilou

18/29

'Stay Safe' - Curzon cinemas are temporarily closed under the new measures

Angela Christofilou

19/29

Pubs, restaurants and bars were ordered to shut as part of the lockdown

Angela Christofilou

20/29 Camden High Street

There are fears that coronavirus could lead to permanent closure of struggling shops

Angela Christofilou

21/29

Camden Town is eerily silent on a normal working day

Angela Christofilou

22/29

Shops and supermarkets ran out of hand sanitisers in the first week of the lockdown.

As we approach the end of the second week most shops now have started to stock up

Angela Christofilou

23/29

Empty streets around Soho

Angela Christofilou

24/29

A noticeboard on Camden High Street urges the public to stay at home

Angela Christofilou

25/29

Camden High Street, one of London's busiest tourist streets turns quiet

Angela Christofilou

26/29

Thriller Live confirmed its West End run ended in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak

Angela Christofilou

27/29

Empty and eerie Soho streets after stricter rules on social distancing announced

Angela Christofilou

28/29

A woman pauses for a cigarette on Hanway Street, behind Tottenham Court Road

Angela Christofilou

29/29

A man steps outside onto Hanway Street, that sits behind what is usually a bustling retail hub

Angela Christofilou

He says: "It may sound counter-intuitive to pay out more money to guarantee either a holiday or your money back, but that is the way the system works.

"If the trip is cancelled, you can expect a full refund of the whole cost of the trip - even if you have to wait some time.

"Deciding not to pay the balance would mean that you lose the deposit - and, even if the trip is subsequently cancelled, you cannot get the money back."

References

  1. ^ Foreign Office (www.independent.co.uk)
  2. ^ travel ban (www.independent.co.uk)
  3. ^ Download now (independent.onelink.me)
  4. ^ advice against all non-essential global travel (www.independent.co.uk)
  5. ^ advises paying up the full balance (www.independent.co.uk)

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