Washington — The United States on Thursday issued a new alert urging Americans not to travel abroad under any circumstances and to return home if possible.
“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,” the Department of State said in the new advice.
Africa Tembelea understands that until the upgrade, the department’s advice to U.S. citizens was to “reconsider” all international travel under what is known as a “level three” alert.
The global “level four” warning was unprecedented as such alerts are generally reserved for specific situations like natural disasters or highly volatile or risky areas to Americans.
However, the upgrade will likely have little practical effect because it is not mandatory and there are now limited transportation options for international travel.
Africa Tembelea understands that the main impact of state department travel alerts is to cause insurance companies to cancel travel policies for group and individual tours or to increase premiums.
The department has already advised Americans that some US embassies and consulates abroad had lower capacity to assist citizens due to departures of personnel over COVID-19.