Coronavirus: Foreign Office advises against travel to US and Spain

Announcement comes just after Donald Trump extended US travel ban to UK 

Jane Dalton
Sunday 15 March 2020 15:56 GMT
EU commission spokesperson criticises Trump travel ban

The Foreign Office has advised against all but essential travel to the US and Spain as the coronavirus crisis deepened worldwide.

The restriction, which begins at 4am on Tuesday, means anyone who has already booked flights to those countries will be able to claim for cancellation on their travel insurance.

The announcement came hours after Donald Trump, who has tested negative for the virus, extended the US travel ban to the UK and Ireland.

On Saturday, planes to Spain turned around mid-air after Jet2 cancelled all flights to the country, which had declared a state of emergency.

The Foreign Office previously advised against all but essential travel to Madrid and certain other areas, but the guidance has now been extended to the entire country.

Schools have been closed by Spanish authorities, church services cancelled and entertainment events have been suspended.

Spain's official death toll rose by 152 overnight to 288. The number infected rose by 2,000 new cases to 7,753.

A Foreign Office spokesperson said on Sunday: “We are advising against all but essential travel to the USA following the US government announcement imposing restrictions on travel from the UK and Ireland, effective from midnight on Monday March 16 EST (4am GMT on 17 March).”

British people with journeys planned and citizens already in the US are advised to contact their airlines or tour operators.

The US on Sunday morning had nearly 3,000 confirmed cases of the virus, with at least 60 deaths. Only one state, West Virginia, had no confirmed cases.

Local governments have encouraged residents to stay at home and practise social distancing.

Some states such as California, New York and Washington have banned large gatherings.

Countries worldwide are continually introducing new travel restrictions, and similar Foreign Office advice is in place for 31 countries, including Spain, China, Italy, Denmark, Norway, Jamaica and Poland.

Europe is the new epicentre of the coronavirus pandemic, the World Health Organisation has said. See the latest travel advice here.

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