The Foreign Office has helped hundreds of thousands of British tourists return from around the world – including an estimated 150,000 from Spain – in the wake of the coronavirus outbreak.
Labour’s shadow foreign secretary Emily Thornberry revealed she had received worrying emails from British people around the world about the cancellation of commercial flights.
One family of six had been told it would cost £61,000 to return to Britain from Australia.
“That’s simply unacceptable,” said Ms Thornberry on BBC news.
The Foreign Office said it has also helped British tourists return from around the globe – including 8,500 from Morocco and, approximately 5,000 from Cyprus.
Thousands of Britons stranded abroad by the coronavirus pandemic will be flown home under a new arrangement between the government and airlines.
BA, Virgin and easyJet are reportedly among airlines working with the government to fly Britons back to the UK.
The government has also pledged £75m to charter special flights – to bring home UK nationals from countries – where commercial flights are unavailable.
On March 30 figures released said the number of people who have died with the virus in the UK had reached 1,408.
Speaking at the government’s daily coronavirus briefing, Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab said an unprecedented number of UK travellers were trying to get home. They range from young backpackers – to retired couples on cruises.
“We are talking about hundreds of thousands of people travelling around the world,” said Mr Raab.
Where commercial routes do not exist, government financial support will enable special charter flights – operated by the partner airlines and others – to fly to priority countries to bring back UK residents.
Mr Raab said priority would be given to the most vulnerable and also to countries – where a large numbers of British tourists are desperate to return home.
Mr Raab said: “For those still in those countries where commercial options are still available: don’t wait. Don’t run the risk of getting stranded.
“The airlines are standing by to help you – please book your tickets as soon as possible.”
Virgin, easyJet, Jet2 and Titan Airways reportedly signed a memorandum of understanding, relating to the arrangement on March 30.
British Airways said it will work with government – to get people home. Other airlines are expected to join the new arrangement, Mr Raab said.
Details for UK travellers to return home are available on the government’s Foreign Travel advice website.