The U.S. Department of State announced on Thursday it was issuing a ‘Global Level 4 Health Advisory’ due to the outbreak of COVID-19, raising it from a Level 3. A ‘Level 4’ advisory is a ‘Do Not Travel’ status usually reserved for countries in a state of war. In a statement, the State Department said they are advising “U.S. citizens to avoid all international travel due to the global impact of COVID-19.”
Additionally, it is advising all citizens to return immediately to the U.S. in countries where commercial options remain available. Beyond the risk of contracting the virus, many countries have implemented quarantines, closed borders, and restricted travel of foreign nationals leaving the possibility of Americans being stranded abroad. The U.S. and Canada recently agreed to close the border between the two nations to non-essential travel.
Travel Advisory: Level 4 – The Department of State advises U.S. citizens to avoid all international travel due to the global impact of #COVID19. In countries where commercial departure options remain available, U.S. citizens who live in the US should arrange for immediate return. pic.twitter.com/MydSzFffYd
— Travel – State Dept (@TravelGov) March 19, 2020
In addition, the State Department is also authorizing the return of U.S. personnel and their families from diplomatic posts who are at a higher risk of complications due to the virus.
This unprecedented announcement comes as the death toll in Italy surpasses that of China, and COVID-19 cases in the United States surged overnight, in line with the ramp up of testing across all 50 states.
NEW: the Thursday 19 March update of our coronavirus mortality trajectories tracker
• Italy now has more Covid-19 deaths than China’s total
• UK remains on a steeper mortality curve than Italy, while Britain remains far from lockdown
— John Burn-Murdoch (@jburnmurdoch) March 19, 2020
The travel advisory is the latest in a wide range of guidelines and restrictions aimed at keeping Americans healthy, hospitals operating within their capacity, and flattening the curve. The U.S. and Canada recently agreed to close the border between the two nations to non-essential travel. Additionally, restrictions have also been implemented on a state level, with beaches in Florida and Alabama closing, and restaurants limiting dining room capacity and hours of operations.
Author: Jordan Parker
Source: Daily Caller: State Department Issues ‘Level 4: Do Not Travel’ Advisory