The Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic has resulted in more than 300,000 confirmed cases and sadly over 13,000 deaths. It’s also devastated travel around the globe, with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office now warning Brits against all non-essential foreign travel for at least 30 days. To help, we’ve been working flat out to answer your questions on travel insurance, cancelling and booking holidays, and much more.
How has travel been disrupted? Latest updates
The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) issues advice to UK nationals on where it’s safe to travel abroad. As well as being a useful safety guide, this can determine whether or not you’re able to get a refund or insurance payout if you’re due to travel to specific locations.
Until recently, the FCO had been gradually expanding the list of countries it was warning against travel to, as the coronavirus outbreak spread.
However, as of Tuesday 17 March, the FCO is now advising against all but essential travel to ALL overseas destinations.
There is now widespread disruption to travel and holidays around the world – the situation is constantly changing, but here are a few key points:
- Many countries have now closed their borders, or are restricting travel. For example, the United States has now barred UK travellers from entering, while the European Union is now refusing entry to most travellers (though not UK citizens).
- A large number of flights have been cancelled. Airlines around the world, hit by a massive drop in demand, have been cancelling flights en masse.
- Europe’s largest regional airline, Flybe, has collapsed into administration. This was blamed in part on a drop in demand caused by the coronavirus outbreak, although the airline had also been suffering prior to this. See full info in our Flybe collapses MSE News story.
- A number of major events have been cancelled. These include the Chinese Grand Prix and the Venice Carnival. Music festivals Coachella and Glastonbury have been postponed, as has the London Marathon and UEFA Euro 2020, while there is speculation that the Tokyo Olympics could be under threat later this year.
- Package holidays and cruises are being cancelled. For example, holiday firm Tui has announced it will be suspending the “vast majority of all travel operations until further notice” – including its package holidays, cruises and hotels. It says it will no longer be offering holidays departing between 17 March and 16 April 2020.Cruise firms such as P&O Cruises, Cunard and Norwegian Cruise Lines have also announced they will suspend future cruises until at least 11 April 2020.
- Travel to mainland China has been seriously disrupted since January. Many major airlines have suspended flights, and package holiday firms are rearranging trips. This has also affected some flights which stop over in China – so, for example, some flying from the UK to Australia or New Zealand have been affected.
- Disney properties are being closed until the end of the month. The entertainment giant says Disneyland Resort California has closed from Saturday 14 March, with Disneyland Paris following from the end of the day on Sunday 15 March and Walt Disney World Florida closing on Monday 16 March. Disney’s cruise line will also be suspending its departures from Saturday 14 March until the end of the month.