More countries are going into lockdown as coronavirus fears continue to develop. Following Italy’s lead, France and Spain are the latest countries to go on lockdown in an attempt to stop the further spread of Covid-19, leaving many Brits on holiday stranded abroad. Here we examine what exactly a coronavirus lockdown means for people living abroad and the impact this will have on currency markets.
What is a Coronavirus lockdown?
A coronavirus lockdown is where a country prohibits the population from leaving the area in a bid to prevent the spread of the virus. Equally, the protocol also prevents people from entering the country. Countries such as Italy and Spain have been ordered not to leave their homes in a bid to help contain the virus. They are allowed to buy food, visit hospitals and banks but are advised to stay indoors whenever possible. It is still too early to say exactly how effective a coronavirus lockdown will be in terms of containment. Many are sceptical as to whether a lockdown would even be beneficial in the first place. Italy is currently the worst affected country after China. Since going on lockdown, infection still continues to rise, mainly because people are still continuing to go out regardless of the lockdown procedures in place.
Coronavirus lockdown impact on travel
The coronavirus lockdown has had a huge impact on travel with UK travel companies such as TUI and Jet2, suspending holidays and flights. It comes after reports of a UK flight to Spain last week having to turn around mid-air as news of the lockdown broke. Coronavirus is also having a huge impact on travel staff. Virgin Atlantic has told all staff to take 8 weeks of unpaid leave after revealing that they will cut 80% of their flights each day. The company has stated that this is the only way in which they can reduce their outgoings without having to make any job cuts. As coronavirus cases continue to rise, it is unclear as to what this will mean for the travel industry in the long-term.
Coronavirus lockdown effects of people living abroad
During a global health crisis, individuals living abroad may be wondering if it is best to return to their home country. This could potentially be impractical and even impossible, depending on where you live. At this stage, the country you live in determines what your options are. In Spain, for example, there are over 300,000 UK expats, where they have confirmed that their lockdown will last for a period of 2 weeks. The lockdown has meant that many expats and tourists are currently unable to return to the UK. With everyone being confined to their home, the only time it is permittable to go outside is for necessities. For situations such as this, it is best to follow the advice given to you by the government until there is an improvement in the situation and further instructions are given.
How can coronavirus lockdown affect the plans of people moving to countries?
Many people in the UK dream of retiring overseas but the coronavirus outbreak could temporarily stop your plans in their tracks. Travel advice by the Foreign & Commonwealth Office is continuously under review. As it stands, they are advising against all travel unless ‘essential’. Obviously, what is deemed as essential travel will vary from person to person. It may be because of a family issue or business matter. Regardless, it is best to look at the government website to stay updated with regard to travel plans. As the coronavirus situation is constantly evolving, the advice is likely to keep quickly changing.
Coronavirus Lockdown effects on currency markets
Unsurprisingly, the effect of coronavirus lockdowns is causing havoc amongst world currency markets. Since the European lockdowns, both European and Asian stocks have fallen by 10% as central banks, including the Bank of England, begin slashing interest rates. The FTSE 100 has now plummeted below the 5,000 mark for the first time since the 2011 financial crisis. Economists warn that we should all prepare for a global recession, what with the concoction of travel bans, lockdowns and lack of mass gatherings.
Will there be a coronavirus UK Lockdown?
As it stands, there are no plans for the UK to go on lockdown, despite Boris Johnson labelling coronavirus as ‘the worst public health crisis for a generation’. The UK has advised on self-isolation for people over 70 years of age for up to four months and will look at potential school closures. There is a risk of imprisonment or a GBP 1,000 fine if anyone refuses to be tested or quarantined for coronavirus. Covid-19 in the UK seems to be moving at a slower pace than other parts of Europe but if the number of cases increases, it seems that a coronavirus UK lockdown will be inevitable.