Severity: Warning Alert

Entry/Exit: Authorities in North America to maintain travel restrictions through late March, due to spread of COVID-19. Additional measures possible.

The locations affected by this alert are:

  • Canada
  • Mexico
  • Toronto, Ont.
  • Vancouver, B.C.
  • Atlanta, Georgia
  • Chicago, Illinois
  • Los Angeles, California
  • Washington, DC
  • Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas
  • Detroit, Michigan
  • Honolulu, Hawaii
  • New York City, New York
  • San Francisco, California
  • Seattle, Washington
  • Montreal, Que.
  • Newark, New Jersey

This alert began 14 Mar 2020 16:22 GMT and is scheduled to expire 24 Mar 2020 23:59 GMT.

  • Event: Travel restrictions
  • Location(s): Multiple locations in the US, Canada, and Mexico (map)
  • Time Frame: Through at least March
  • Impact: Flight cancellations, travel restrictions, business disruptions

Summary
Authorities in the US, Canada, and Mexico will likely continue implementing travel restrictions and additional health screening measures through at least March to prevent the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

US:

Entry Restrictions

US authorities have suspended entry for foreign nationals who have been in China (excluding Hong Kong and Macau) and Iran within the last 14 days. US citizens who have traveled to China's Hubei Province within 14 days of arrival will be subject to a mandatory 14-day quarantine. Any US citizen who has traveled elsewhere in China within the same period will undergo health screenings upon entry and will be asked to self-quarantine for 14 days.

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced that incoming flights from China are limited to landing in the following 11 airports only:

  • New York John F. Kennedy International (JFK)
  • Atlanta Hartsfield-Jackson International (ATL)
  • Seattle-Tacoma International (SEA)
  • Honolulu Daniel K. Inouye International (HNL)
  • Los Angeles International (LAX)
  • San Francisco International (SFO)
  • Chicago O'Hare International (ORD)
  • Washington Dulles International (IAD)
  • Newark Liberty International (EWR)
  • Dallas-Fort Worth International (DFW)
  • Detroit Metropolitan (DTW).


US officials also banned entry of foreign nationals who have been in the Schengen Area within the previous 14 days, until at least April 12. The Schengen Area includes 26 European countries: Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland.

Canada:

Canadian plan to redirect all overseas flights to a limited number of airports in the country. However, as of March 14 the airports have not been announced, and the policy has not been implemented. Authorities have asked citizens and residents to avoid all non-essential travels, and announced that no cruise ship with more than 500 passengers will be allowed to dock in Canadian ports until at least July 1.

Mexico:

Mexico has not suspended or limited entry for foreign nationals arriving in the country, due to COVID-19. Officials have announced increased screening measures at airports for all travelers coming from the most affected areas, including China, Iran, and Italy. Officials have advised Mexican nationals to avoid or postpone visits to China's Hubei Province.

Countries could expand their restrictions in the coming days, particularly if the number of COVID-19 confirmed cases increase.

Background and Analysis
Older individuals, infants, and those with chronic illness are more susceptible to infection and are at increased risk for severe complications. Human-to-human transmission can occur, though it remains unclear how easily the virus spreads between people.

COVID-19 is a viral respiratory disease caused by infection with the SARS-CoV-2 virus (previously known as 2019-nCoV). Symptoms occur 1-14 days following exposure (average of 3-7 days). These symptoms include fever, fatigue, cough, difficulty breathing, sometimes worsening to pneumonia and kidney failure - especially in those with underlying medical conditions.

Advice
Contact your airline to confirm travel. Confirm entry requirements before embarking on travel to the region. Follow all official instructions. Allow additional time for immigration and health screenings. Consider delaying travel if experiencing symptoms associated with COVID-19, as they may prompt increased scrutiny, delays, and potential quarantine.

Exercise basic health precautions, especially frequent handwashing with soap and water, or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are unavailable. Practice good coughing/sneezing etiquette (i.e., covering coughs and sneezes with a disposable tissue, maintaining distance from others, and washing hands).

Resources
WHO advice for international travel

WHO coronavirus knowledge base