The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have urged Americans to stay home as much as possible, avoid all nonessential domestic travel, and practice social distancing in public in order to stem the spread of the coronavirus.
The CDC also provides information on how to travel safely for essential errands, work, or medical care.
The CDC and US State Department have issued their most severe travel warning for global travel, warning Americans not to travel to any foreign country as the pandemic rages on.
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The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have issued a variety of COVID-19 travel warnings and safety precautions for Americans as the US remains the worst-hit country in the world.
The CDC strongly recommends that Americans stay inside as much as possible, avoid all nonessential travel throughout the country, and practice social distancing guidelines in public spaces.
Since traveling can increase the risk of both contracting and spreading the coronavirus in the US, the CDC recommends that only Americans with essential reasons to travel should do so.
Additionally, the US State Department and CDC have issued their highest-level travel advisories throughout the entire world, asking Americans to refrain from traveling abroad.
Cases have been reported in 185 countries and regions, and the US is experiencing the highest number of infections to date, with New York being hit the hardest.
The US has also implemented travel restrictions on foreign nationals entering the US from China, Iran, Europe, the UK, and Ireland.
Here are latest travel precautions and guidelines the US government has issued as the world attempts to halt the spread of the coronavirus.
The US has reported the worst COVID-19 outbreak in the world, confirming 1 million cases and more than 56,000 deaths as of April 28. Streets in New York City are seen empty due to the COVID-19 pandemic on March 29, 2020.
empty streets new york coronavirus
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Thirty-nine states have issued stay-at-home orders, requiring about 90% of Americans to work from home if they can unless they are essential workers.
As Business Insider’s Holly Secon wrote, the goal of these policies is to minimize how often people come within 6 feet of one another, thereby reducing the spread of the coronavirus and “flattening the curve” so healthcare systems aren’t overwhelmed.
The CDC recommends that Americans stay home as much as possible and avoid all nonessential travel. Miguel Gonzalez, 72, holds up a blanket he won in a bingo game at a temporary quarantine and isolation facility for the homeless during the new coronavirus pandemic, Monday, April 27, 2020, in North Miami, Fla.
self-isolating quarantine stay at home order lockdown social distancing homeless florida
AP Photo/Lynne Sladky
The CDC has issued guidelines for essential travel both within your local area (for running essential errands) and outside of your local area (for essential workers and services).
If travel is absolutely necessary within the US, the CDC recommends that Americans:
Avoid sick people
Try not to touch your eyes, nose, or mouth without washing your hands
Wash your hands often
Wear a face mask
Practice at least 6 feet of social distancing
Disinfect high-touch surfaces
When running essential errands such as grocery shopping, banking, getting gas, or getting medical care, the CDC recommends using pickup options whenever possible, wearing a face covering, and disinfecting surfaces you could touch. Gary Towler puts on gloves to protect against the coronavirus before entering a grocery store in Spring, Texas, on April 22, 2020.
gloves mask grocery shopping lockdown stay at home orders
AP Photo/David J. Phillip
In order to protect yourself and others while participating in essential services, the CDC recommends:
Staying home if you are sick.
Using online or pickup services to avoid going inside stores.
Using online banking.
Limiting in-person visits to the pharmacy.
Limiting in-person visits to the doctors’ office.
However, if you must visit stores, banks, or doctors’ offices in person, the CDC recommends:
Staying at least 6 feet away from others.
Covering your face and mouth with a cloth.
Go shopping during less crowded hours, such as early in the morning or late at night.
If you are 65 or older or immunocompromised, try to go shopping at a store that offers designated times for high-risk individuals.
Disinfect surfaces such as shopping carts, door knobs, handles and touch pads.
Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
Try to use touchless payment (without handling money, a card, or keypad). Otherwise, use hand sanitizer after you pay.
For more information on how to safely run errands, check out the CDC’s full list of recommendations here.
If you must travel outside of your local area to provide medical or home care to others, or because you are an essential worker, the CDC recommends taking the risks into consideration. People walk through a sparse international departure terminal at John F. Kennedy Airport on March 7, 2020 in New York City.
JFK empty coronavirus
Spencer Platt/Getty Images
The CDC warns that traveling outside of your local area can expose you to different leves of community transmission of the virus. Traveling puts both yourself and others at risk of spreading COVID-19.
If you must travel, the CDC recommends taking into account the following risks:
Traveling by plane can put you at risk for COVID-19 if you are seated within 6 feet of an infected person. But because of how air circulates and is filtered, viruses are not easily spread on airplanes.
Traveling by bus or train can put you at risk for COVID-19 if you are seated within 6 feet of someone for a prolonged amount of time.
Traveling by car or RV can put you at risk for transmission of the COVID-19 during road stops along the way, and being in close contact with others in the vehicle.
The CDC has warned that if travel is absolutely necessary, it is important to take into consideration what state and local travel restrictions have been put in place. It is possible for state and local governments to issue shelter-in-place orders, mandatory quarantines, or even border closures.
If it is absolutely necessary to take a road trip, the CDC recommends preparing ahead of time. An electronic sign warning people to “Clean Hands Help Fight COVID-19” is located on Highway 46 near the start of California’s “Petroleum Highway”.
George Rose/Getty Images
The CDC recommends that Americans exercise the following precautions on necessary road trips:
Prepare enough food or water to avoid stopping as much as possible. Bring non-perishable items in case restaurants or stores are closed.
Bring any medicine you may need.
Pack alcohol-based hand sanitizer (at least 60% alcohol) and keep it readily available.
If you must stay somewhere overnight, book accommodations in advance and practice standard protocols (wear a mask, disinfect surfaces, and avoid contact with others).
Wash your hands often with soap and water.
Maintain 6 feet of social distance in public.
Wear a cloth face covering.
The CDC does not recommend that Americans travel unnecessarily to visit friends or family. The CDC has also warned that traveling to campgrounds could increase the spread of COVID-19 if you come in close contact with others or share public facilities at campsites.
The US State Department and CDC have also issued their highest-level advisories for international travel, urging all Americans to refrain from going abroad.
Passport Control US
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On March 19, the US State Department issued a level 4 travel advisory for the entire world, warning all Americans to avoid international travel.
Similarly, using its own scale, the CDC issued a level 3 Global Pandemic warning on March 27.
Under State Department guidelines, a Level 4 travel advisory means “do not travel,” though it is not a legal prohibition. But the agency recommends all Americans follow this stringent warning because during this type of emergency, the US government may have limited resources to protect and provide assistance to Americans abroad. Level 4 is usually issued for countries with ongoing wars or conflicts.
Additionally, the State Department strongly encouraged all Americans who are currently abroad to either return home quickly, or prepare to shelter in place. The government has warned that Americans who chose to remain abroad may be confined to those circumstances for an indefinite period of time.
If you return home from international travel, the CDC recommends that you stay home for 14 days, monitor your temperature twice a day for a fever, and avoid contact with others.
The CDC specifically called out cruise travel and recommended Americans don’t go on any cruises worldwide because of ongoing transmission on ships. The cruise ship Diamond Princess anchored at Daikoku Pier Cruise Terminal in Yokohama on February 7, 2020.
Princess Cruises Diamond Princess
The Diamond Princess was the highest profile COVID-19 outbreak — more than 700 people tested positive for the disease and seven people died.
“Cruise passengers are at increased risk of person-to-person spread of infectious diseases, including COVID-19, and outbreaks of COVID-19 have been reported on several cruise ships,” the CDC wrote in its travel notice. “Cruise travelers should stay home for 14 days after returning from travel, monitor their health, and practice social distancing.”
The US State Department has implemented travel restrictions barring most non-US citizens or permanent residents from entering the country from Europe. Italian soldiers patrol by a check-point at the entrance of the small town of Vo Euganeo, situated in the red zone of the COVID-19 the novel coronavirus outbreak, northern Italy, on February 24, 2020.
MARCO SABADIN/AFP via Getty Images
On March 11, the US State Department issued travel restrictions for 29 nations in Europe, known as the Schengen Area.
The ban includes:
US citizens and permanent residents who are returning from those countries are subject to enhanced screening at US airports, and the CDC is telling such travelers to stay home for 14 days.
On March 14, Trump extended the European travel ban to include the UK and Ireland. Londoners pass-by Evening Standard headlines outside Embankment Underground station, on 4th March 2020, in London, England.
Coronavirus Britain London
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After initially excluding the UK and Ireland from the list of countries barred from traveling to the US, Trump announced on March 14 that the travel ban would be extended to the following:
The new restrictions went into effect on March 13.
The announcement came after Trump said he noticed the countries’ “numbers have gone up fairly precipitously over the last 24 hours.”
Americans, legal US residents, and their families will be allowed to come home from Schengen European countries, the UK and Ireland, but will be funneled through specific airports that have screening guidelines.
Foreign nationals have also been barred from entering the US from China and Iran. Military officers wearing face masks stand outside Duomo cathedral, closed by authorities due to a coronavirus outbreak, in Milan, Italy February 24, 2020.
REUTERS/Flavio Lo Scalzo
Foreign nationals who have visited China or Iran in the past 14 days are barred from entering the US.
American citizens, lawful permanent residents, and their families who have been in China or Iran in the past 14 days will be allowed to enter the US, but will be redirected to one of 13 airports with a quarantine station to undergo health screening.
Depending on their health and travel history, they may have restrictions placed on their movements for 14 days from the time they left China or Iran.
Trump also restricted nonessential travel across the nation’s land borders with Canada and Mexico. Peace Arch Historical State Park at the US and Canada border is pictured while non-essential travel is temporarily restricted as efforts continue to help slow the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Blaine, Washington, U.S. March 23, 2020.
The order went into effect in March, and will last until at least May 21.