State Department Issues Global Health Advisory: Level 4 - "Do Not Travel"

Update (1610ET): Following the Politico report from Thursday morning, the State Department has declared a "Global Level 4 Health Advisory – Do Not Travel" warning, urging all Americans to halt all international travel, and requested citizens abroad to return home "immediately" amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Here's the Level 4 advisory in full:

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. Many countries are experiencing COVID-19 outbreaks and implementing travel restrictions and mandatory quarantines, closing borders, and prohibiting non-citizens from entry with little advance notice. Airlines have cancelled many international flights and several cruise operators have suspended operations or cancelled trips. 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 timeframe.

On March 14, the Department of State authorized the departure of U.S. personnel and family members from any diplomatic or consular post in the world who have determined they are at higher risk of a poor outcome if exposed to COVID-19 or who have requested departure based on a commensurate justification. These departures may limit the ability of U.S. Embassies and consulates to provide services to U.S. citizens.

For the latest information regarding COVID-19, please visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) website.

You are encouraged to visit travel.state.gov to view individual Travel Advisories for the most urgent threats to safety and security. Please also visit the website of the relevant U.S. embassy or consulate to see information on entry restrictions, foreign quarantine policies, and urgent health information provided by local governments.

Travelers are urged to enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive Alerts and make it easier to locate you in an emergency. The Department uses these Alerts to convey information about terrorist threats, security incidents, planned demonstrations, natural disasters, etc. In an emergency, please contact the nearest U.S. Embassy or Consulate or call the following numbers: 1(888) 407-4747 (toll-free in the United States and Canada) or 1 (202) 501-4444 from other countries or jurisdictions.

If you decide to travel abroad or are already outside the United States:

· Consider returning to your country of residence immediately using whatever commercial means are available.

· Have a travel plan that does not rely on the U.S. Government for assistance.

· Review and follow the CDC's guidelines for the prevention of coronavirus.

· Check with your airline, cruise lines, or travel operators regarding any updated information about your travel plans and/or restrictions.

· Visit travel.state.gov to view individual Travel Advisories for the most urgent threats to safety and security.

· Visit our Embassy webpages on COVID-19 for information on conditions in each country or jurisdiction.

· Visit the Department of Homeland Security's website on the latest travel restrictions to the United States

· Visit Keeping workplaces, homes, schools, or commercial establishments safe.

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With COVID-19 cases and deaths surging in the US and Europe, the US State Department is set to announce Level 4 travel restrictions on all international travel, reports Politico

The State Department's new warning is expected to advise all Americans abroad to either return to the US or shelter in place as the virus crisis continues to worsen. 

The new travel advisory is expected to inform all Americans not to travel abroad. 

Last week, the State Department issued a Level 3 Global Health Advisory, urging Americans to reconsider international travel. It appears in a week's time, the pandemic has gotten much worse. 

Here are the current travel restrictions on the State Department's website: 

US citizens will be permitted to return from the United Kingdom, Ireland and the Schengen area. The Department of Homeland Security has issued instructions requiring US passengers that are coming from (or transiting) the United Kingdom, Ireland and the Schengen area to travel through select airports where the US Government has implemented enhanced screening procedures. 

The new travel advisory could be announced imminently.