THE FOREIGN Office has advised UK and Irish citizens against all but essential travel to the USA from tomorrow

The Government body issued a statement yesterday afternoon updating their guidance around travelling abroad and included America for the first time on the list of places advised against going to unless absolutely necessary.

Among the other locations travellers are told to avoid as the pandemic of Covid-19 sweeps across the globe are Italy, Spain and Norway.

A total of 31 countries are on the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) list of countries to avoid, some due to the levels of Covid-19 cases and others due to the need to quarantine for 14 days on arrival.

On Saturday, Donald Trump updated the US travel ban to include the UK and Ireland, having only banned flights to Europe previously. the following day the FC advised citizens of the UK and Ireland from going anywhere in America.

Early yesterday morning advice was also updated on travelling anywhere in Spain. Previously the Spanish ministry of health declared the areas of Madrid and La Rioja, and the municipalities of La Bastida and Vitoria, and Miranda de Ebro, as places where there is community transmission of coronavirus and the FCO had advised against all but essential travel to those regions. Now it has been extended to the entire country.

Many airlines have scrapped flights to Spain for several weeks including Jet2, Easyjet and Tui.

EasyJet said flights would stop from today until March 29, while Ryanair has placed ‘severe restrictions’ on passengers going to Spain, and cancelled flights to Poland until March 31.

Jet2 announced it would be stopping flights to four French airports over concerns about the virus.

Air travel to Lyon, Grenoble, Paris and Nice has been cancelled by Jet2 due to travel restrictions imposed by the French government.

The company said in a tweet: “The French government has announced a range of restrictions, aimed at preventing the spread of Covid-19. As a result of these measures, we will not be flying any customers to Lyon, Grenoble, Paris and Nice with immediate effect.

“We will be flying customers back to the UK from Lyon and Grenoble on Saturday 21st March. Thereafter, we have cancelled all flights to Lyon and Grenoble for the rest of the winter.

“We will be flying customers back to the UK from Paris on Sunday 15th and Monday 16th March. Thereafter, we have suspended all flights to Paris until 26th April and we are keeping this situation under review.

Jet2’s statement continued: “We will be flying customers back to the UK from Nice on Monday 16th March. Thereafter, we have suspended all flights to Nice until 4th May.

“We are contacting our customers who are currently in Lyon, Grenoble, Paris and Nice who are due to travel, to advise them of their options.

“We urge customers not to call us as we will be in touch.

“This is a fast-moving and complex situation, and we would like to thank our customers for their understanding. The health and safety of our customers is always our number one priority.”

Union bosses have called for the Government help to save thousands of aviation jobs as regulators warn the threat to the survival of airlines is “real” the longer the coronavirus outbreak lasts.

Richard Moriarty, chief executive of the UK Civil Aviation Authority - the industry regulator, warned: “This is the most challenging period for aviation and package holiday businesses we have witnessed.

“The threat to the survival of some businesses is real the longer this goes on.

“We are doing all we can to help airlines, airports and tour operators.”

Unite the union, along with aviation unions across Europe, has drawn up a four-point plan, warning the industry faces an “unprecedented crisis” with hundreds of thousands of workers at risk of losing their jobs.

They are calling for contributions to cover workers’ pay, extension of loans to airlines, delay the payment of taxes and duties by airlines including temporarily suspending air passenger duty, and subsidise routes.

Assistant general secretary Diana Holland said: “The Government must act decisively and act now, so that when the coronavirus crisis ends there will still be a UK aviation industry.”

The GMB union has called on the government to help workers too, but national officer Nadine Houghton said ministers must not “write a blank cheque for irresponsible magnates to line their pockets or squirrel away offshore.”

It comes as Virgin Atlantic Chairman Peter Norris will reportedly write to the Prime Minister today to request a rescue package of up to £7.5 billion for the aviation industry.

A Government spokesman said: “We recognise how difficult the current situation is for the aviation sector and, across Government, we are engaging with the sector’s leadership to support workers, businesses and passengers.

“We have influenced the European Commission to relax flight slots and HMRC is ready to help all businesses, including airlines, and self-employed individuals, experiencing temporary financial difficulties due to coronavirus.”