A federal authority that is responsible for handling foreign affairs matters warned the general public not to go abroad due to a deadly Asian disease.
The Department of State has announced a level four alert for U.S. citizens not to travel beyond national borders in order to help better contain the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) Virus.
“U.S. citizens [are urged] to avoid all international travel due to the global impact of COVID-19,” the department said in its latest global health advisory statement. “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.”
U.S. citizens in other countries are also being asked to reconsider traveling abroad to any destination.
“U.S. citizens who live abroad should avoid all international travel,” the department said. “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 came following President Donald Trump’s recent decision to declare a national emergency. Some of the many safety measures include travel restrictions, mandatory quarantines, and border closures for non-U.S. residents.
“Many countries are experiencing COVID-19 outbreaks and implementing travel restrictions and mandatory quarantines, closing borders, and prohibiting noncitizens from entry with little advance notice,” the department said. “Airlines have canceled many international flights and several cruise operators have suspended operations or canceled trips.”
In some cases U.S. foreign missions may be limited in what assistance they can provide since the department has authorized departure for U.S. personnel and their families who are found to be at higher risk if exposed to the CCP Virus.
“These departures may limit the ability of U.S. embassies and consulates to provide services to [other] U.S. citizens,” the department said.
Those who still decide to travel abroad or are already outside the United States should consider returning to their country of residence immediately, prepare a travel plan that does not rely on U.S. government assistance, and check with the relevant transportation provider for any updates on travel plans and restrictions.
Individual travel advisories for the most urgent threats to safety and security are available on the travel.state.gov website. Information on entry restrictions, foreign quarantine policies, and urgent health information provided by local governments will be uploaded to the websites of U.S. embassies or consulates.
The Smart Traveler Enrollment Program promises to provide timely alerts and help locate travelers in an emergency situation. The department also uses the alerts to warn the general public about terrorist threats, security incidents, planned demonstrations, and natural disasters.
“The United States is sparing no effort to protect our people and contain the global coronavirus pandemic,” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Twitter. “Beijing must acknowledge its role and be part of the solution.”