The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) has issued a new travel advisory encouraging British people abroad to return to the UK as soon as possible.

“International travel is becoming very limited as air routes close, land borders close and new restrictions are put in place that prevent flights from leaving,” the FCO said in a statement.

It applies to those travelling rather than those who live and work in another country.

The travel advisory comes as a growing number of countries have introduced travel restrictions on certain nationalities or total visitor bans amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Singapore and Hong Kong both announced tourist bans today; Australia and New Zealand have barred foreign nationals and the US has banned the entry of anyone who has been in any of 28 European countries, including the UK and Ireland, in the last 14 days.

UAE-based carriers Emirates and Etihad both announced today they would suspend flights for two weeks from March 25.

The UK has not yet introduced restrictions on arrivals.

The FCO advised people to contact their airline or travel immediately and keep up-to-date with its country-specific travel advice pages or local FCO social media accounts.

It also said it would work with airlines to keep routes open to allow people to return home on commercial flights.

Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said: “Where commercial routes don’t exist, our staff are working round the clock to give advice and support to UK nationals. If you are on holiday abroad the time to come home is now while you still can.”

The FCO had previously advised against all non-essential travel overseas, saying it was up to individuals to decide what counted as an ‘essential’ trip.

Britons advised against all but essential overseas travel

It has faced criticism for not facilitating rescue flights for Britons who have already found themselves stuck overseas.

Anyone in an emergency situation should contact the local British embassy for assistance.

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