State Department calls on Americans to reconsider traveling abroad

Greg Nash

The State Department late Wednesday night raised its global travel advisory to level three and pleaded with U.S. citizens to reconsider going abroad due to the “global impact” of the novel coronavirus, as health officials warned that the outbreak would only worsen in the ensuing days and weeks. 

“The Department of State advises U.S. citizens to reconsider travel abroad due to the global impact of COVID-19,” the department advisory reads. “Many areas throughout the world are now experiencing COVID-19 outbreaks and taking action that may limit traveler mobility, including quarantines and border restrictions. Even countries, jurisdictions, or areas where cases have not been reported may restrict travel without notice.”

The guidance was released the same day the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a global pandemic and shortly after President Trump announced that he would restrict travel from Europe for the next 30 days. 

Trump said during an Oval Office address Wednesday night that the extraordinary measures would not apply to the United Kingdom, which recently left the European Union. The White House clarified late Wednesday that the travel restrictions would only apply to foreign nationals who have been in the European Union during the 14 days before they attempt entry into the U.S. 

Officials also noted that the orders would not apply to trade and cargo coming from Europe, after Trump had suggested the opposite. The restrictions mimic the those he implemented last month on China, where the coronavirus originated. 

The coronavirus, which first appeared in the central Chinese city of Wuhan in December, has since spread to dozens of countries and infected more than 126,000 people. The U.S. had reported 1,321 confirmed cases of the virus as of Thursday morning, according to a database from John’s Hopkins University. 

The outbreak in the U.S. has caused numerous businesses and schools to shutter, and certain states and cities have implemented measures to cancel non-essential mass gatherings. 

Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, testified before Congress that “we will see more cases and things will get worse than they are right now.” 

Tags Coronavirus Donald Trump

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