U.S. citizens have been advised against traveling to Hong Kong – with the State Department issuing a Level 4 ‘Do Not Travel’ advisory.
The reason behind the State Department’s decision to raise the level to its highest ‘Do Not Travel’ warning is due to the ongoing strict coronavirus restrictions that Hong Kong has implemented – as well as there being a risk that children could be separated from their parents if they test positive for the virus.
What does the level 4 ‘Do Not Travel’ advisory actually mean?
The State department currently has four levels attached to its travel advisory system – with these being:
- Level 1 – Exercise Normal Precautions
- Level 2 – Exercise Increased Caution
- Level 3 – Reconsider Travel
- Level 4 – Do Not Travel
Being the highest level – Level 4 – a ‘Do Not Travel’ advisory is issued when the State Department believes that there are increased life-threatening risks for its citizens that travel to a country that has been issued with this level of travel advisory. Any citizens that are currently residing in a country – that has been put into the ‘Do Not Travel’ category – are advised to leave as soon as possible.
U.S. citizens are also advised not to travel to any country that is categorized as ‘Level 4’.
Why has a ‘Do Not Travel’ advisory been issued for Hong Kong?
The State Department issued its ‘Do Not Travel’ advisory for Hong Kong yesterday – 1 March – citing the country’s current Covid-19 situation and strict Covid-19 related restrictions as some of the reasons behind the decision.
Families from the United States have also been warned against traveling to Hong Kong due the nation’s zero-tolerance approach to Covid-19 – which has seen children inside the country being separated from their parents – and put into isolation – when testing positive for the virus.
They are then not being allowed to reunite until they meet the hospital’s discharge requirements.
Hong Kong currently has some of the strictest Covid-19 restrictions at this present time – especially compared to other nations around the world – which are having a significant impact on people’s access to travel and public services. These restrictions have been put in place due to the country’s zero-covid policy.
What is the current Covid-19 situation in Hong Kong?
Hong Kong – having banned all flights from the U.S. earlier in the year to try and avoid a rise in cases of the Omicron variant – is currently experiencing its worst outbreak of Coronavirus cases, with many thousands of people testing positive for Covid-19 on a daily basis.
In the last two months there have been in excess of 200,000 positive cases reported – which is a huge increase on the much lower numbers that had been recorded in Hong Kong during the previous months of the Covid-19 pandemic.
And, with more than 55,000 cases and 178 deaths recorded just yesterday – 2 March – the country is seeing its hospitals and morgues overflow, with there also not being enough medical resources available to deal with the outbreak. The increase in positive cases of Covid-19 has come as a result of the Omicron variant which is currently ravaging through the country.
This has pushed the Hong Kong authorities into making the decision to test all of its 7.48 million residents for the virus – as it continues to adhere to its zero-covid policy.
Other countries that have recently been issued with Level 4 ‘Do Not Travel’ advisories
Just a few days ago – on 28 February – the State Department issued Level 4 ‘Do Not Travel’ advisories for the likes of: Russia, Vietnam, Jamaica, Belarus and Anguilla.
U.S. citizens are advised to check the State Department’s travel advisories for their desired destinations prior to traveling.
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Disclaimer: Current travel rules and restrictions can change without notice. The decision to travel is ultimately your responsibility. Contact your consulate and/or local authorities to confirm your nationality’s entry and/or any changes to travel requirements before traveling. Travel Off Path does not endorse traveling against government advisories