The U.S. State Department has issued a Level 3: Reconsider Travel advisory worldwide due to the global impact of the COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic. Level 3 is the second-most severe rating on the State Department’s four-point travel advisory scale.
“Many areas throughout the world are now experiencing COVID-19 outbreaks and taking action that may limit traveler mobility, including quarantines and border restrictions,” the State Department said in a statement announcing the new advisory. “Even countries, jurisdictions, or areas where cases have not been reported may restrict travel without notice.”
The State Department recommends that those who do decide to travel abroad review and follow the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) guidelines for the prevention of coronavirus, as well as enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive alerts and to make it easier to locate them in an emergency.
The new advisory follows Wednesday’s declaration by the World Health Organization (WHO) that COVID-19 is now officially a pandemic. Earlier this week, the total number of reported cases topped 100,000, with eight countries reporting over 1,000 cases of the illness. Health officials also described Europe, particularly Western Europe, as the new “epicenter” of the outbreak.
Wednesday evening, President Donald Trump suspended travel by foreign nationals from Schengen Area countries in Europe to the United States. The travel restriction does not apply to U.S. citizens, legal permanent residents and some of their immediate family members; however, Americans coming home from Europe will have to travel through one of 13 preselected airports where additional screening will take place, as well as self-quarantine for 14 days once back in the United States.