British Overseas Territories: Coronavirus

Foreign and Commonwealth Office written question – answered on 29th April 2020.

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Photo of Preet Kaur Gill Preet Kaur Gill Shadow Secretary of State for International Development

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what criteria the Government uses to prioritise registrations for seats on return flights for British nationals stranded abroad due to the covid-19 outbreak.

Photo of Nigel Adams Nigel Adams Minister of State (Foreign and Commonwealth Office) (Joint with the Department for International Development)

The British Government is working with the airline industry and host governments across the world to help bring back British travellers to the UK as part of the plan announced by the Foreign Secretary on 30 March - with up to £75 million available for special charter flights to priority countries, focused on helping the most vulnerable travellers. In some countries, where commercial routes are no longer an option due to countries closing borders, we are working with airlines to charter their aircraft on an at-cost basis to help stranded British travellers return home. British Nationals will be asked to register for flights with Corporate Travel Management (CTM) when charters have been announced for a country.

We will prioritise vulnerable British Nationals most at risk from the effects of Coronavirus who normally live in the UK and are trying to return home for these flights, together with their families who normally live with them in the UK. We are giving additional consideration to the local context and the situation of the individual themselves, this can include lock-down processes in country, access to reliable healthcare, possible reduction in access to routine medication, and those at additional risk if they contract the virus for example the elderly or those with pre-existing medical conditions. ​​​​​​​ In many countries, commercial flights have also continued to operate and have been able to return British Nationals to the UK. We are working with host governments to keep flights running and airspace open where possible for this to continue to happen.

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