The U.S. State Department raised its travel advisory to the maximum level on Thursday in response to the coronavirus crisis, warning Americans at home not to leave the country, and those overseas to return to the United States from if possible.
In addition, the main impact of State Department travel alerts is to cause insurance companies to increase premiums or cancel travel policies for group and individual tours, many of which had been scrapped even before the alert was raised to level three earlier this week. Washington Post on Wednesday reported that hundreds of US citizens could not leave Morocco after the country halted all inbound and outbound worldwide travel.
The move is the latest effort by the White House to ramp up US defenses against a fast-spreading virus that has infected more than 10,600 people in the United States, and killed at least 150.
The move comes less than a week after the department raised its global travel advisory to level 3, which instructed Americans to reconsider traveling overseas.
The lawmakers cited fears from Americans in Honduras, Morocco, Peru, and Tunisia who have recently reported difficulties in obtaining support from American embassies and consulates.
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In the meantime, doctors can ask for experimental drugs to use to treat their patients as part of a "compassionate use" program. FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn told reporters he had "great hope for how we are going to come out of this situation".
"I'm a realistic person, I do realize they are probably overwhelmed", Pierce said. We will continue to update our travel advisories and safety information for USA travelers as situations evolve'.
A State Department official, who was not authorized to speak on the record, said the agency could not provide an estimate of how many Americans are trying to get back to the USA from overseas amid the COVID-19 outbreak. "But at the same time, all USA citizens should be a priority".
The visa waiver program, which allows citizens to visit the USA for tourism or business for 90 days or less without a visa, will not be affected, the agency said on its website Wednesday.
Americans have been stuck in some countries as flights were abruptly canceled.
As airlines cancel flights and countries further restrict travel and border crossings, there's a risk of global travelers getting stranded overseas.