US suspends global recommendation not to travel abroad, but maintains restriction to Brazil

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Passengers at Menorca airport, Spain.

The United States has substantially relaxed the alert to its citizens about international travel. The State Department withdrew its recommendation to US citizens on Thursday to avoid any international travel, which had been in effect since March 19. On that date, the impact of the coronavirus pandemic led the US government to raise the alert for the whole world to level 4, the highest on the scale. As of this Thursday, according to the State Department, recommendations will be made country by country, in coordination with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

Many others, like Spain, Italy, the United Kingdom, and France, fall this Thursday from level 4 to level 3, which implies the recommendation to citizens to “reconsider traveling”. At this third level, citizens are recommended to “avoid traveling due to serious security risks”.

Half a hundred countries remain at level 4. Among them, in addition to some with different threats of a different nature to the safety of travelers, countries with a high number of COVID-19 cases, such as Brazil, Mexico, India, and Russia. At level 4, the recommendation is “not to travel”.

“With health and safety conditions improving in some countries and potentially deteriorating in others, the Department returns to its previous system of country-specific travel recommendation levels,” explained the State Department in a statement. Citizens will be able to find out about the evolution of the alert level in different countries on a Government website.

The level 4 imposed in March recommended American citizens “to avoid any international travel due to the global impact of COVID-19” and urged Americans abroad to “organize their immediate return to the United States” unless they were “ willing to stay abroad indefinitely ”. With the closure of borders and the cancellation of commercial flights, the State Department carried out an unprecedented repatriation operation, coordinating the return of more than 100,000 Americans.

The withdrawal of global level 4 does not imply the lifting of the prohibitions on flying to the United States for visitors from certain countries, including those from the European Union, in force since March 14.