The U.S. State Department today, March 19, announced a Level 4 travel advisory applying to all international travel and instructing all Americans abroad to either return to the United States or prepare to “remain abroad for an indefinite period,” given the global threat of the coronavirus outbreak. The Level 4, “Do Not Travel,” is the most severe warning.
Those currently abroad should attempt to depart by commercial means. Travel advisors should proactively attempt contact with clients to assist them in arranging return travel. Although airlines have cancelled many international flights, options are still available. Several cruise operators have suspended operations or cancelled trips. If your clients choose to travel internationally, their travel plans may be severely disrupted, and they may be forced to remain outside of the United States for an indefinite timeframe. The State Department says: “U.S. citizens who live abroad should avoid all international travel.”
U.S. citizens who remain abroad should follow the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and local health authorities’ guidance for prevention, signs and symptoms, and treatment for COVID-19. U.S. citizens remaining abroad should shelter in place as much as possible and limit contact with others, including large gatherings. Consider stocking up on food and other supplies to limit movement outside the home. If the situation deteriorates further, the ability of the U.S. Embassy to provide assistance to U.S. nationals abroad may be limited, depending on country.
Those traveling abroad should register for the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP). The Smart Traveler Enrollment Program is a free service that allows U.S. citizens traveling or living abroad to receive the latest security updates from the nearest U.S. embassy or consulate.
Benefits of enrolling in STEP:
- You’ll receive the latest safety and security information for your destination country, so you can make informed decisions about your travel.
- The information you provide enables the U.S. embassy or consulate to contact you in an emergency.
Travelers should also review and follow the Centers for Disease Control’s guidelines for the prevention of coronavirus.