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The UK government on Tuesday (24) called on all its citizens travelling abroad to make efforts to return to the country where possible through commercial airline routes as Britain’s COVID-19 death toll jumped by 87 in a day to hit 422.
Foreign secretary Dominic Raab told the House of Commons that he has updated the travel advisory which calls on everyone to avoid all but essential travel globally because the “over-riding priority” now is to assist the thousands of British travellers who need and want to return home.
“We strongly advise those British people who are currently travelling abroad but live in the UK to return as soon as possible, where they are still able to because commercial routes are still running,” said Raab.
“Where commercial options are limited or prevented by domestic restrictions, we are in close contact with the airlines and local authorities in those countries to overcome those barriers to enable people to return home. With my ministerial team and indeed across the diplomatic network, we are engaging with numerous governments to keep commercial routes open, particularly in transit hubs,” he said.
The minister said that the Department for Transport is working closely with airlines to ensure travellers can rebook or find alternative routes home.
“Where people are in real need, our consular teams will work with them to consider their options and, as a last resort, we offer an emergency loan,” he said.
He also informed Parliament of the UK’s international strategy during the coronavirus pandemic as focussed on providing resilience to the most vulnerable countries; pursuing a vaccine; keeping vital trade routes and supply chains for food stuffs, medicines and other things open; and to provide reciprocal support for the return of British nationals who otherwise are at risk of being stranded.
Meanwhile, the number of deaths from the coronavirus cases stood at 16,961 across the world, according to multiple reports.
More than 386,350 declared cases have been registered in 175 countries and territories since the pandemic first emerged in China in December.