Coronavirus travel: FCO urge Britons to avoid travel indefinitely – should you cancel holi

Britons have been issued an updated travel warning from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) as the global coronavirus pandemic rages on. Last month the FCO urged all Britons to avoid non-essential travel worldwide for 30 days, however, officials took a further step this weekend.

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In a social media video update, the FCO has now changed the 30-day period to an indefinite amount of time.

A tweet posted on Saturday night reads: “Travel update Airplane: The Foreign Office indefinitely advises against all non-essential global travel.”

Meanwhile, the most up to date travel advice on the FCO website states: “As countries respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, including travel and border restrictions, the FCO 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 are suspending flights and many airports are closing, preventing flights from leaving.”

READ MORE: Coronavirus flights: UK government plans to bring Britons home

Coronavirus: The FCO has issued a new travel warning for Brtions (Image: Getty Images)Coronavirus: The FCO is now warning against all travel indefinitely (Image: FCO / Twitter )

The news comes as countries worldwide continue to enforce stringent border lockdowns, with many now putting in place national shutdowns and state-wide emergency measures.

For Britons who are currently abroad, some commercial routes continue to run to bring them home.

Last week, Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab announced a partnership with UK airlines including British Airways, easyJet, Virgin, Titan and Jet2 to set up a repatriation effort.

Mr Raab explained: “Where commercial routes remain an option, airlines will be responsible for getting passengers home.

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“That means offering alternative flights, at little to no cost where routes have been cancelled. And it means allowing passengers to change tickets, including between carriers.

“So for those still in countries where commercial options are still available, don’t wait. Don’t run the risk of getting stranded.”

However, in countries where commercial routes are now unavailable, the government is setting up special charter flights which will be advertised via the government website.

“Once special charter flights have been arranged we will promote them through the government’s travel advice and by the British Embassy or high commission in your country,” said Mr Raab.

“British travellers who want a seat on those flights will book and pay directly through a dedicated travel management company.”

Coronavirus: Dominc Raab issued a new update from the government (Image: BBC News)

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Britons with impending holiday plans throughout the summer may now be concerned about what this means for them.

Travel experts from consumer rights agency say Britons should avoid cancelling plans, and instead wait for their airline or tour operator to make the move.

If the provider cancels a journey or holiday, consumers are automatically entitled to a refund.

According to Which?: “You may be able to amend the date of your journey for free if you paid for a flexi-ticket. Some airlines are also offering vouchers for flights that are yet to be cancelled.”

Which? continues: “However, amending your travel dates or accepting credit vouchers is only worth doing if you’re sure you’ll want to take the trip at some point in the next year.”

Similarly, Which? also recommend holding off on cancelling any package holiday plans for the summer months.

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The consumer rights organisation says: “If you cancel your booking now, you’ll almost certainly have to pay cancellation fees.

“And you won’t be able to claim this back on your travel insurance, because insurers don’t typically allow you to claim for cancellation because of a ‘disinclination to travel’.

“In other words, you’ll be paying to cancel a holiday that might end up being cancelled by the holiday provider, in which case you’re entitled to a full refund.”

Which? explain: “If you’re paying for a package holiday in installments, it will probably seem counterintuitive to continue paying off the balance, especially if you’re due to travelling the next two or three months.

“But unless you’ve only paid the deposit — and it’s an amount so small you’re willing to lose it — you should probably continue to pay your holiday installments. Otherwise, you’ll lose what you have paid and forfeit protection under the package holiday protection scheme.”