The State Department on Thursday (March 19) raised the global health advisory for international travel to Level 4, which means “Do Not Travel,” a distinction usually reserved for war-torn or dangerous countries, according to a statement by the department.
“The Department of State advises U.S. citizens to avoid all international travel due to the global impact of COVID-19. In countries where commercial departure options remain available, U.S. citizens who live in the United States should arrange for immediate return to the United States, unless they are prepared to remain abroad for an indefinite period. U.S. citizens who live abroad should avoid all international travel,” the statement said.
Many countries have been experiencing COVID-19 outbreaks and closing borders, and they’ve been turning away non-citizens with little notice as the coronavirus pandemic continues.
“If you choose to travel internationally, your travel plans may be severely disrupted, and you may be forced to remain outside of the United States for an indefinite time frame,” the State Department said.
On Saturday (March 14), the State Department allowed for the departure of U.S. personnel and their family members from any posts that could potentially put them in contact with the coronavirus, if they request to leave.
“These departures may limit the ability of U.S. Embassies and consulates to provide services to U.S. citizens,” the statement read.
The State Department has a few guidelines for citizens that are already outside of the U.S., or choose to travel anyway.
“Consider returning to your country of residence immediately using whatever commercial means are available,” it said. “Have a travel plan that does not rely on the U.S. Government for assistance.”
It also advised people to “Check with your airline, cruise lines, or travel operators regarding any updated information about your travel plans and/or restrictions,” as well as “Visit our Embassy webpages on COVID-19 for information on conditions in each country or jurisdiction.”