The Foreign & Commonwealth Office (the FCO) has warned on all non-essential foreign travel from the UK, as the whole of Europe struggles to fight the outbreak of the coronavirus.
The expression “non-essential travel” has been respectively used in efforts to combat the spread of the virus – but what does “non-essential travel” really mean?
What is non-essential travel?
There is a blur concerning the clarification of non-essential travel. The Foreign & Commonwealth Office (FCO) does not clearly say exactly what it means. But, the FCO says: “Whether travel is essential or not is your own decision. You may have urgent family or business commitments to attend. Circumstances differ from person to person.” In its travel advice guidance, the FCO explains that only an individual can decide as to whether travel is essential or not. In other words, it is up to the traveller to decide whether the trip is more important to repudiate travel advice.
Has the UK banned non-essential travel?
Foreign Secretary Mr Dominic Raab has warned Brits not to travel abroad unless essential. He said: “With immediate effect, I’ve taken the decision to advise British nationals against non-essential travel globally, for an initial period of 30 days and of course subject to ongoing review.” He also added, “UK travellers abroad now face widespread international border restrictions and lockdowns in various countries, and the speed and range of those measures across other countries is unprecedented.”
Is the EU considering banning non-essential travel?
Ursula von der Leyen, the head of the European Commission is expected to launch the ban on foreign travel into the whole European Union. This is in reaction to the outbreak of COVID-19, which has affected around 55,000 people in Europe and resulted in thousands of fatalities.
Italy is the most affected nation in the EU with nearly 36,000 cases and more than 3,000 deaths recorded.
The EU commission president said: “The less travel, the more we can contain the virus. Therefore, as I have just informed our G7 partners, I propose to introduce temporary restrictions on non-essential travel to the EU.”
There have been more than 200,000 cases worldwide.
There are 85,785 people have been confirmed to have recovered; however, nearly 9,000 people have died.
Travel has extremely decreased as many countries in the European Union apply travel restrictions in an effort to contain the spread of the life-threatening virus.
EU countries including Italy, Spain, France and Ireland have all been put under lockdown as the disease spreads like wildfire through the continent.
What does it mean if I have travel plans to Europe?
The ban means that there will be a limitation to all travel into countries in the EU. While Britons are unlikely to be affected by this, as the EU commission chief confirmed that “UK citizens are European citizens,” the non-essential travel ban from the UK means travelling to Europe is advised against it. And going against this advice can result in reversed travel insurance and being left stranded in a foreign country – here is what to know if you have a holiday booked.
How long will the ban be in place?
According to the EU Commission president, the EU travel ban will be temporary with an initial period of 30 days.
The UK ban will also be 30 days – both of these periods can be prolonged if it is deemed necessary.
The head of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen, said: “We have to take exceptional measures to protect the health of our citizens. But let’s make sure goods and essential services continue to flow in our internal market.
However, The FCO is not advising UK nationals not travel, but people should keep in mind that flights may be cancelled at short notice or other travel restrictions may be put in place by foreign governments and to take account of the fast-moving situation and plan your flights accordingly, while flights remain available in many places yet.