Foreign Office advises against travel to more than 30 countries

The ongoing coronavirus pandemic has affected thousands of people across the globe as the World Health Organisation (WHO) has reported cases in 144 countries, territories or areas.

As a result of Covid-19, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) has issued travel advice warning people against visiting certain countries or areas due to restrictions or the risk of quarantine.

FCO travel advice can range from advising against all travel to a whole country to recommending travellers seek advice before travelling to a particular area, based on how safe it is to visit.

The guidance as of Monday morning advises against all but essential travel to 35 countries.

– China

The FCO advises against all travel to Hubei province due to the outbreak, and against all but essential travel to the rest of mainland China. If you are in China and able to leave, the FCO says you should do so.

– United States

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On 14 March, the US government extended an existing European travel ban to the UK and Ireland, with the exception of returning US citizens and legal residents.

The FCO subsequently updated its advice on 15 March and advises against all but essential travel to the whole country.

The update was a way for the British government to officially inform its citizens about the extension of the ban and advise that they should not travel.

– Italy

The FCO advises against all but essential travel to all of Italy, including Sicily and Sardinia. Authorities in Italy have advised against travel for tourism purposes and said tourists already on holiday in Italy should limit their movements to those necessary to return to the place where they live.


HEALTH Coronavirus Travel
(PA Graphics)

The FCO updated its advice on Spain in the early hours of 15 March, advising against all but essential travel to the whole country.

Previously, the Spanish ministry of health declared the areas of Madrid and La Rioja, and the municipalities of La Bastida and Vitoria, and Miranda de Ebro, as places where there is community transmission of coronavirus and the FCO advised against all but essential travel to those regions.

– Denmark

British nationals are advised against all but essential travel to the whole country, after Danish authorities announced they would be closing the borders for a month in response to the pandemic.

Foreign nationals who “do not have a recognised purpose for entering Denmark” will be barred from entry.

– Norway

The department advises against all but essential travel to Norway, after the Norwegian authorities said that all non-resident visitors arriving from countries other than Finland and Sweden would be asked to leave Norway on arrival.

British nationals legally resident in Norway will be allowed to enter the country but must enter self-quarantine for 14 days.

– Indonesia

The FCO advises against all travel to two parts of the country close to Mount Agung and Mount Sinabung craters due to ongoing volcanic activity.

The department advises against all but essential travel to the rest of the country due to a 14-day quarantine requirement.

– Poland

Poland coronavirus measures
A nurse in protective gear helps a person waiting for a coronavirus test at a contagious diseases hospital in Warsaw (Czarek Sokolowski/AP)

The FCO advises against all but essential travel to the country, owing to restrictions being put in place following the outbreak, which has seen borders closed and border controls introduced.

Non-Polish nationals will only be able to enter the country if they are a spouse or child of a Polish national, hold a Pole’s Card, or otherwise have the right to stay or work in the country.

British nationals aged 70 and over and those with pre-existing health conditions are advised against cruise ship travel.

– South Africa

The FCO advises against all but essential travel to South Africa following restrictions announced limiting who can enter the country.

Authorities said travellers from high-risk countries, including the UK and US, would not be permitted to enter the country from 18 March.

Visitors from high-risk countries, including the UK, who have entered the country since mid-February will be required to present themselves for testing.

The FCO also advises against all but essential travel to Argentina, Albania, Burma, Czech Republic, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Equatorial Guinea, Estonia, Guatemala, Honduras, Jamaica, Kosovo, Latvia, Liberia, Lithuania, Malawi, Malta, Morocco, Mongolia, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, San Marino, Sierra Leone, Slovakia, Sri Lanka, and Vietnam.

The department cites partial or complete border closures due to Covid-19 as the reason for the warnings for Albania, Ecuador, Equatorial Guinea, Guatemala, Honduras, Jamaica, Kosovo, Latvia, Lithuania, San Marino, Slovakia, and Sri Lanka.

Spain Virus Outbreak
A pharmacist fixes a banner reading in Catalan, ‘no masks, no alcohol, no clear hand gel’ in a pharmacy in Barcelona (Emilio Morenatti/AP)

Potential problems with flights due to restrictions and cancellations are referenced in the advice for Argentina, Morocco, Mongolia, Paraguay, Peru and Philippines.

The risk of being placed into a quarantine is given as the reason for the advice for Burma, Estonia, Indonesia, Liberia, Malawi, Malta, Sierra Leone and Vietnam.

Travellers are advised against all but essential travel to parts of Portugal and South Korea.

The FCO advises against all but essential travel to the Portuguese archipelagos of Madeira and the Azores and the South Korean cities of Daegu, Cheongdo and Gyeongsan which have been designated “special care zones” by authorities due to outbreaks.

France Virus Outbreak
Tourist attractions around the world have been shuttered due to the Covid-19 outbreak (Christophe Ena/AP)

The FCO has not currently advised British nationals not to travel to France, which has reported more than 4,000 cases to the WHO.

Restaurants, schools, universities, cafes, theatres, and non-essential shops have been closed, gatherings of more than 100 people have been banned and tourist attractions have been shuttered.

In New Zealand, arrivals from countries other than China and Iran will have to self-isolate for 14 days on arrival, the department said. Foreign nationals arriving from China or Iran will not be allowed to enter the country.

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