Global Level 4 Health Advisory Issued by Department of State of the United States
A Global Level 4 Health Advisory to reconsider travel was officially issued by the Bureau of Consular Affairs of the Department of State of the United States earlier today, Thursday, March 19, 2020 in response to the current 2019 Novel Coronavirus — which is also known as COVID-19 or 2019-nCoV — pandemic.
Global Level 4 Health Advisory Issued by Department of State of the United States
At the time this article was written, at least 8,648 people have died of the minimum of 207,855 confirmed cases in 166 countries and territories worldwide, according to this situation dashboard from the World Health Organization pertaining to the 2019 Novel Coronavirus.
The following text is repeated verbatim from the official advisory.
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.
Only four days ago on Sunday, March 15, 2020, the Department of State of the United States issued a Level 3 travel advisory advising people to restrict travel — but that advisory was upgraded to the highest level earlier today, Thursday, March 19, 2020.
A Level 4 advisory means to restrict travel — which is the highest level that warns Do Not Travel. The Department of State of the United States introduced an improved travel advisory system of sharing information on Wednesday, January 10, 2018 for travelers who are citizens of the United States — and this system is designed to provide clear, timely, and reliable safety and security information worldwide.
Even if you were to travel, numerous countries have either strengthened restrictions for entry to foreigners and visitors — or the borders are simply closed off altogether — which has led to airlines substantially diminishing their route networks by reducing or eliminating flight schedules.
This article is the latest in a series pertaining to the 2019 Novel Coronavirus in an effort to get the facts out with information derived from reliable sources.
Other articles at The Gate which pertain to the 2019 Novel Coronavirus include:
- What is Wrong With This Photograph? Part 30: Coronavirus Edition
- Countries With Travel Entry Restrictions Due to 2019 Novel Coronavirus: An Updated Comprehensive List
- 2019 Novel Coronavirus: Should You Travel Within the United States?
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Photograph ©2016 by Brian Cohen.