icelolly.com are closely monitoring advice from the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) on travel to different holiday destinations following the outbreak of coronavirus (COVID-19) in Wuhan, China, and in other countries worldwide.
The FCDO has reiterated that under current UK COVID-19 restrictions, you must stay at home and that you must not travel, including abroad, unless you have a legally permitted reason to do so. In other words, it is illegal to travel abroad for holidays and other leisure purposes.
Anyone due to travel is advised to visit https://www.gov.uk/government/organisations/foreign-commonwealth-development-office (where you can also sign up for email alerts for news on specific destinations) and https://www.abta.com/news/coronavirus-outbreak for the very latest information and advice.
COVID-19 is the infectious disease caused by the most recently discovered coronavirus. This new virus and disease were unknown before the outbreak began in December 2019. Common symptoms include, but are not limited to, a cough, high temperature and shortness of breath. These symptoms are usually mild and begin gradually.
Anyone returning from any affected areas or experencing COVID-19 symptoms is advised to call NHS 111 (NHS 24 on 111 out of hours in Scotland, 0300 200 7885 in Northern Ireland) and self isolate, even if very mild symptoms of the virus are showing. Under no circumstances should returning travellers visit a GP surgery, pharmacy or hospital.
As a result of the FCO-advised travel bans and reduced flight demand, the majority of airlines and holiday operators have cancelled flights, including Jet2, British Airways, easyJet, Virgin Atlantic and Ryanair, though all have recently communicated their plans to resume at least part of their programme.
If you're due to fly in the near future, you should receive an email or text to inform you about the situation and how to proceed. If you have not received this, be sure to check in directly with your airline as soon as possible, or view their website for the latest information. The last time we checked, the below was the case:
Jet2 will recommence their package holidays and flights programme from 17 May 2021. You can read more about what both the package holiday and flights sections of the company are doing to keep you safe on the Jet2holidays Safe Travel page and on the Jet2.com Safe Travel page.
Ryanair has dropped all flight change fees for all new bookings made before 31 March 2021, for travel before 31 October 2021.
Tui holidays up to and including 28 February 2021, are now cancelled. You can find more information about TUI's COVID cover here. For the most comprehensive and up to date information about what is being done to help keep customers safe, check out TUI's dedicated coronavirus page.
easyJet holidays has made the decision to cancel all holidays up to and including 24 March 2021. They have also released details of their Protection Promise which is based upon five key pillars, these being: REFUND GUARANTEE (customers are entitled to a full refund up to 28 days before departure), 28 DAY BALANCE PAYMENT (paying in instalments is fee free and the balance due date has been reduced from 60 days to 28 days before travel), BEST PRICE GUANANTEE (if a customer finds the same holiday cheaper elsewhere, they'll receive the difference back as credit), FREEDOM TO CHANGE (customers have the flexibility to make changes to their holidays and there are no fees for changes made online until 28 days prior to departure), DEPOSIT AS CREDIT (customers won't lose their deposit if they cancel their holiday more than 28 days before departure. It will be refunded in full as easyJet credit). This policy will be applied to all bookings. More information can be found here.
British Airways is operating a "reduced and dynamic" schedule as a result of the ongoing travel restrictions.
If you have a trip booked that can no longer go ahead, your rights as a traveller fully depend on your choice of airline and the small print within your travel insurance policy. As a rule of thumb, insurers and airlines generally take their cue from UK government travel advice.
If the FCO are not warning against travel to your intended destination, but you cancel your plans regardless, you are likely to lose most or all of your money as travel insurance is not designed to cover 'disinclination to travel'. An exception to this would be if you have booked a package holiday with a specific purpose that is now void e.g. to attend an event which has since been cancelled.
To help stop viruses like coronavirus spreading, the National Travel Health Network and Centre (NaTHNaC) has released the below guidelines:
Wash your hands often with soap and running water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitiser that contains at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available. This is particularly important after taking public transport.
Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
If you feel unwell, stay at home, do not attend work or school.
Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in a bin and wash hands with soap and water.
Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces in the home and work environment.
Use of facemasks is generally not recommended outside clinical settings. Should you decide to use a mask (or it is a requirement at your destination), you should ensure you continue to use all the recommended precautions in order to minimise the risk of transmission.
Information in this article has been taken from the government’s latest Coronavirus (COVID-19). This page was last modified on 23 February 2021, 13:36pm.