After more than four months, the US State Department on Thursday lifted its advisory warning US citizens against traveling abroad.
The department issued the Level 4: Do Not Travel advisory — the highest level of travel advisory — on March 19, urging US citizens not to travel overseas due to the coronavirus pandemic.
However, “(w)ith health and safety conditions improving in some countries and potentially deteriorating in others, the Department is returning to our previous system of country-specific levels of travel advice (with Levels from 1-4 depending on country-specific conditions), in order to give travelers detailed and actionable information to make informed travel decisions,” a Thursday note from the State Department said.
“This will also provide U.S. citizens more detailed information about the current status in each country,” the note said. “We continue to recommend U.S. citizens exercise caution when traveling abroad due to the unpredictable nature of the pandemic.”
The Level 4: Do Not Travel advisory put into effect in March advised “U.S. citizens to avoid all international travel due to the global impact of COVID-19” and urged Americans “in countries where commercial departure options remain available” to “arrange for immediate return to the United States, unless they are prepared to remain abroad for an indefinite period.”
As commercial flight options disappeared and borders were shuttered to combat the spread of the virus, the department undertook an unprecedented repatriation effort to get Americans back home. Between January 27 and June 10, they coordinated the repatriation of 101,386 Americans on 1,140 flights from 136 countries and territories.
Although the guidance from the diplomatic agency has been lifted, American travelers continue to face travel restrictions in countries worldwide due to rising cases of the deadly disease in the United States.
The European Union and the United Kingdom are not permitting tourists from the US to enter.
There are restrictions on non-essential travel between the US and its neighbors to the north and south — Canada and Mexico — until at least late August.