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In its strongest warning yet, the U.S. State Department has issued a Level 3 health advisory, urging Americans to reconsider travel abroad, coming hours just after President Donald Trump issued a 30-day broad travel ban from Europe due to the coronavirus.
“The Department of State advises U.S. citizens to reconsider travel abroad due to the global impact of COVID-19. Many areas throughout the world are now experiencing COVID-19 outbreaks and taking action that may limit traveler mobility, including quarantines and border restrictions,” the department said in a statement.
“Even countries, jurisdictions, or areas where cases have not been reported may restrict travel without notice.”
The response of the U.S. government has escalated quickly in recent days in a bid to contain the spread of the coronavirus after virus clusters appeared across the country.
The raised warning is just one notch below an official travel ban, which has been in place for countries like Afghanistan and more recently China, South Korea and Italy.
The travel advisory also came on the same day the World Health Organization declared the virus a pandemic.
Many Americans, many of whom would undoubtedly be worried about being caught up in quarantines or travel restrictions, will likely curtail their travel movement outside of the country following these latest announcements.
These extraordinary moves, which some say may do little to curb or mitigate the spread of the virus, is expected to send the beleaguered tourism sector into a further tailspin.
Vickum Nawagamuwage, CEO of Sri Lanka-based Santani Resort and Spa, said such travel restrictions on a global scale are “unprecedented” and will hurt the local tourism sector worse than the Easter Sunday bombings last April.
“At least with the bombings, global travel was still happening,” he remarked. “However, this time it’s different. No one is going to travel for a while.”