U.S. State Department Issues Level Four Alert on International Travel
Alert asks U.S. citizens to come home now or stay away
March 20, 2020
Travel has finally hit the wall. The U.S. Department of State sent out a level four travel advisory applying to all countries, instructing Americans not to travel internationally and strongly urging U.S. citizens abroad to return home amid the unfolding coronavirus pandemic.
“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,” the alert stated. It also advised U.S. citizens who live abroad to 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,” the alert continued.
In addition, 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 will limit the ability of U.S. Embassies and consulates to provide services to U.S. citizens.
“This warning shows just how serious of an issue coronavirus is and people need to take notice now,” said Brian Kelly, better known as The Points Guy. “Listen to your government officials, listen to warnings like this one from the US State Department. The fastest way to return to travel is to stay away from others. Hopefully, all this time that we spend in isolation will make us appreciate the unique cultures around the world and make our future trips that much more meaningful.”
In a post Thursday, The Hill reported that some 1,400 Americans are pleading with the U.S. government to take action in bringing them back to the U.S. after the Peruvian government instituted a two-week quarantine and canceled all flights.
According to the report, the U.S. president responded, “They got caught, they were late with their flights, we gave them a period of time, they didn’t make it, but we’re looking to get them out probably through the military.”