US embassies suspending visa services in countries with travel warnings

US embassies suspending visa services in countries with travel warnings
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U.S. embassies are suspending visa services in countries around the world with level 2 travel warnings or higher amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the U.S. Embassy in South Korea announced on Wednesday.

The Department of State ordered all embassies to halt visas operations in countries with level 2, 3 or 4 travel advisories, which includes South Korea, according to a statement from the U.S. Embassy in Seoul.

This order applies to about 100 countries with travel advisories for reasons ranging from the coronavirus outbreak to war and crime.

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“We will resume routine visa services as soon as possible but are unable to provide a specific date at this time,” the U.S. Embassy in South Korea said. 

The embassy announced it would postpone any immigrant and nonimmigrant visa appointments as of Thursday. U.S. citizens will still be able to obtain services, however.

The U.S. has already banned the entry of foreigners who have traveled through China, Iran and Europe, including the United Kingdom, in an effort to mitigate the virus’s spread domestically. 

South Korea was not included in the list, although it has the largest number of cases in Asia outside of China. Travelers who recorded a fever higher than 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit were also prohibited from boarding direct flights to the U.S. from South Korea. 

Worldwide, COVID-19 has infected more than 201,000 people, leading to more than 8,000 deaths and more than 82,000 recoveries, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

South Korea has recorded more than 8,400 cases, with 84 deaths and more than 1,500 recoveries.

In U.S., the number of cases is rapidly increasing, reaching almost 6,500 as of Wednesday morning. Officials have also reported 114 deaths.