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State Dept. Issues ‘Do Not Travel’ Advisory To Hubei Province, China

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The U.S. Department of State has issued a Level 4, ‘do not travel’ advisory to Hubei Province, China, due to the coronavirus first identified in Wuhan, China.

Chinese authorities have already suspended air and rail travel in the area around Wuhan, and the State Dept. ordered the departure of all non-emergency U.S. personnel and their family members. The U.S. government has limited ability to provide emergency services to U.S. citizens in Hubei province.

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The U.S. has expanded its screenings at domestic airports after two cases were confirmed.

Chinese authorities have imposed strict travel restrictions in the area around Wuhan. Travelers should be aware that the Chinese government could prevent them from entering or exiting parts of Hubei Province. Travelers should be prepared for travel restrictions to be put into effect with little or no advance notice.

U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has issued a Warning Level 3 Alert (Avoid Nonessential Travel) due to an ongoing outbreak of respiratory illness caused by a novel (new) coronavirus that can be spread from person to person.

If you’ve already traveled to Wuhan in the last 14 days and feel sick with a fever, cough, or difficulty breathing, you should:

—Seek medical care right away. Before you go to a doctor’s office or emergency room, call ahead and tell them about your recent travel and your symptoms.

—Avoid contact with others.

—Not travel while sick.

—Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands) when coughing or sneezing.

—Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.

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U.S. State Department Stops Issuing Passports Amid COVID-19

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The U.S. Department of State has scaled back its Passport Agency operations and will no longer be issuing new passports in view of the situation surrounding the still-escalating COVID-19 pandemic.

Travel + Leisure pointed out that the release of this directive in late March coincided with the State Department’s issuance of a Level 4 travel advisory, which warns Americans to avoid all international travel and instructing those outside U.S. borders to return home immediately or risk being stranded abroad for an indefinite period of time.

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The Passport Divisions’ recent policy change mentioned that those who had already applied to obtain a new passport or renew an existing one prior to March 20, 2020, will not have their orders affected. The agency said that it would honor its commitment to fulfilling those expedited-service orders placed on or before March 19 within two to three weeks, door-to-door.

Moving forward, passports will be available only to persons facing qualifying life-or-death emergencies, such as serious illnesses, injuries or deaths in their immediate family, which require them to travel outside the United States within 72 hours’ time.

Such persons will need to not only provide their passport application and supporting documents, and proof of planned international travel (e.g. reservation, ticket or itinerary), but also proof of the life-or-death circumstance. This might include documents like a death certificate, a statement from a mortuary, or a signed letter from a hospital or medical professional, and must be translated into English.

To make an appointment at a passport center in the event of a life-or-death emergency, one must call the National Passport Information Center at 1-877-487-2778, Monday through Friday, between the hours of 8:00 a. m. and 5:00 p.m., or Saturdays from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. (EST); or call (202) 647-4000 outside of regular business hours.

No indication was given as to when the State Department would again begin accepting passport applications. As is now the case among most organizations that are attempting to respond to the continually evolving pandemic, its future plans remain up in the air. The announcement only stated, “The status of our operations may change quickly. We will update this notice as the status changes.”

For more information, visit travel.state.gov.

This post was published by our news partner: TravelPulse.com | Article Source

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