The US has lifted the highest level of its global health travel advisory for Americans due to the coronavirus pandemic and restored the previous country-specific system without changing the status of over 50 countries, including that of India and China.
The US state department issued the Level 4: Do Not Travel advisory — the highest level of travel advisory — on March 19, urging American citizens not to travel overseas due to the coronavirus pandemic.
India remains on Level 4 of the travel advisory along with more than 50 countries, including China. This means that the US urges its citizens not to travel to India due to the increasing coronavirus cases.
The state department, in its latest travel advisory on India issued on Thursday, said: Do not travel to India due to COVID-19. Exercise increased caution in India due to crime and terrorism.
The Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has issued a Level 3 (avoid non-essential travel) Travel Health Notice for India due to COVID-19, it said.
Travellers to India may experience border closures, airport closures, travel prohibitions, stay at home orders, business closures and other emergency conditions within India due to the COVID-19 pandemic, it said.
Assistant Secretary of State for Consular Affairs Carl Risch told reporters during a conference call that the State Department, in close coordination with the CDC, has lifted the Global Level 4 Health Advisory and has returned to the previous system of country-specific levels of travel advice, with levels from 1 to 4 depending on country-specific conditions.
The CDC has similarly removed its Level 3 Global COVID-19 Pandemic Notice. This important change reflects the reality that health and safety conditions are improving in some countries while potentially deteriorating in others, he said.
By returning to the country-specific travel advisory system, the US is able to give Americans detailed and actionable information to make informed travel decisions, he said.
The COVID-19 pandemic poses significant risks for travellers and our destination-specific advisories take into account the latest data and public health and safety analysis on COVID-related risks, Risch said.
Among other countries which have been put on Level 4 of travel advisory include Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Russia, Mexico, Egypt, and Brazil.
Although the guidance from the state department has been lifted, American travellers continue to face travel restrictions in countries worldwide due to the rising cases of the deadly disease in the United States.
According to Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center, the contagion has infected over 19 million people and killed more than 713,000 across the world.
The US is the worst affected country with over 4.8 million cases and more than 1,60,000 deaths.
The European Union has blocked the entry of US tourists, and the UK requires travellers from the US to quarantine for 14 days.