Britons are advised against 'all but essential' travel to anywhere outside the UK, foreign secretary Dominic Raab has said.
He told the House of Commons: "With immediate effect, I have taken the decision to advise British nationals against non-essential travel globally, for an initial period of 30 days and of course subject to ongoing review."
The advice against global travel is the latest stringent measure taken by the government to try to stem the rapidly growing coronavirus outbreak.
It is the first time the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) has advised against foreign travel anywhere in the world.
British people currently abroad do not have to immediately return to the UK - except for those in a few countries detailed in the FCO's travel advice.
But the FCO said travellers should bear in mind that flights could be cancelled at short notice as foreign countries grapple with restrictions being imposed by their own authorities.
Mr Raab said anyone who is still considering foreign travel should be "realistic about the level of disruption they are willing and able to endure".
Money saving expert Martin Lewis tweeted:
Foreign Office now advising against all but essential travel ANYWHERE outside UK initally for 30 days.— Martin Lewis (@MartinSLewis) March 17, 2020
This is the key trigger for most travel insurance policies so if you have a trip booked in that time - you are usually due a refund even if flight/hotel still on. Pls share.