Today’s State Department travel advisory:
The Department of State advises U.S. citizens to avoid all international travel due to the global impact of COVID-19. 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. U.S. citizens who live abroad should avoid all international travel. Many countries are experiencing COVID-19 outbreaks and implementing travel restrictions and mandatory quarantines, closing borders, and prohibiting non-citizens from entry with little advance notice. Airlines have cancelled many international flights and several cruise operators have suspended operations or cancelled trips. 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. [emphasis added]
This is a level 4 — do not travel — advisory just issued today. Nothing like this has ever been done before as far as I know.
State doesn’t like to issue level 4’s; they have lots of diplomatic and commercial repercussions. So take this one VERY SERIOUSLY.
Last week State also authorized worldwide departures for diplomats and family members. “Authorized” means they are allowed to leave post but are not required to. From what I hear from my colleagues, few officers have done so — our sense of responsibility is always high — but even when they stay at post, their ability to help Americans in trouble, whether for medical or other reasons, is going to be limited. Worldwide.
Check the travel advisory link above for more information.