The United States on Thursday lifted its highest advisory warning for American citizens against travelling abroad amid the coronavirus outbreak, saying conditions no longer warrant a blanket worldwide alert. The advisory was lifted in coordination with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the US State Department said in a statement posted to its website.
The decision came five months after the department had issued a blanket Level 4 “do not travel” warning against international travel. The country has now restored the system of issuing advisories ranking the safety of every country in the world from Level 1 to Level 4.
India continues to remain on the Level 4 of the travel advisory along with China and more than 50 other countries. This means Americans are still advised against travel to India because of the increasing coronavirus cases.
“Do not travel to India due to COVID-19,” the US advisory on India stated. “Exercise increased caution in India due to crime and terrorism.” It added that the Centres of Disease Control and Prevention has issued a Level 3 Travel Health Notice for India because of the pandemic. Under Level 3, travellers are encouraged to “reconsider travel.”
“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,” the advisory said.
The state department particularly advised against travelling to Jammu and Kashmir, except eastern Ladakh and its capital Leh, because of “terrorism and civil unrest”. Besides this, it asked Americans to avoid going “within 10 km of the India-Pakistan border due to the potential for armed conflict”.
Other countries that have been put on the Level 4 of travel advisory include Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Syria, Saudi Arabia, Russia, Mexico, Egypt, and Brazil.
Assistant Secretary of State for Consular Affairs Carl Risch told reporters that the CDC has also removed its Level 3 Global COVID-19 Pandemic Notice, PTI reported.
“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.”
The US is the worst affected country with over 48.83 lakh cases and more than 1.60 lakh deaths, according to the Johns Hopkins University.
In July, the European Union had opened its borders for visitors from 15 countries for non-essential travel, but not to travellers from the United States, India, Russia and Brazil. The move was aimed at supporting the EU travel industry, particularly countries in southern Europe, that are reeling under the impact of the pandemic.
The global coronavirus count crossed 1.90 crore on Friday, according to the Johns Hopkins University. The toll rose to 7,13,406. More than 1.14 crore people have recovered.