The State Department cautions all Americans traveling overseas.
The State Department has urged all Americans traveling overseas to “make contingency plans”. The statement comes as nations worldwide fight the Omicron variant as case numbers rise globally.
“U.S. citizens who do choose to travel internationally should make contingency plans, as they may have to remain in a foreign country longer than originally planned, which will be at their own expense,” the department said in a media note.
The State Department added, “The Department recommends international travel insurance with coverage for COVID-related trip cancellation and medical benefits.” You can find travel insurance covering COVID-19 expenses here.
The State Department also issued a reminder to all Americans aged two and older seeking to enter the United States following international trips to bring proof of a negative COVID-19 test taken within one day of their flight’s departure, irrespective of their vaccination status.
In addition, The State Department advises all airlines to reject American travelers who don’t provide evidence of a negative COVID-19 test or proof of recovery. The State Department also cautioned Americans to remember that other governments may have additional COVID-19 guidance for visitors entering the country.
The State Department added, “U.S. citizens planning to travel overseas or currently overseas and planning to return to the United States should also contact their airline for specific information about testing requirements for travelers. Airlines may adopt and modify their own specific policies to implement the CDC’s testing rule.”
State Department Travel Guidance
The State Department works with the CDC to provide travel advisories based on the current levels of COVID-19 within a country.
Currently, the State Department advises against almost all non-essential travel to Europe, including France, Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, The Netherlands, Portugal, Spain, and The United Kingdom. These nations are all on the State Department’s ‘very high risk’ list for COVID-19.
But the State Department has various popular destinations on the moderate-risk and low-risk lists. These include The Bahamas, New Zealand, India, Hong Kong, Japan, Indonesia, Morocco, The U.A.E, The British Virgin Islands, and Jamaica.
The Current Travel Outlook
The Omicron variant mixed with poor weather caused widespread disruption for Americans flying over the holiday period. Yesterday, the United States canceled 2,604 flights out of 4,529 canceled flights worldwide. It was the highest cancelation number since before Christmas when staff shortages prompted mass cancelations.
Although the world was gradually reopening in 2021, the Omicron variant has prompted border closures, extra travel restrictions, and unwanted uncertainty. There have been no sudden border closures yet, unlike at the start of the pandemic. However, the situation is continually developing.
Yesterday, the Netherlands added a mandatory quarantine requirement on all U.S travelers, regardless of their vaccination status. The Dutch government now deems the United States to be a ‘very high-risk’ nation. Israel also added the United States and Canada to the no-fly list because of soaring cases of Omicron.
Health officials suggest the Omicron variant—first discovered in South Africa in November—is highly transmissible, but data suggests it’s not as severe as the Delta variant. “We know now, incontrovertibly, that this is a highly, highly transmissible virus. We know that from the numbers we’re seeing,” said Anthony Fauci, the U.S. government’s Chief Medical Advisor.
That said, as we move into 2022 and two years since the start of the pandemic, uncertainty continues to loom over international travel.
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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