Severity: Critical Alert

Entry/Exit: Officials in the US extend ground border closures with Mexico and Canada to all nonessential travel through at least May 20.

This alert affects United States

This alert began 20 Apr 2020 19:16 GMT and is scheduled to expire 30 Apr 2020 23:59 GMT.

  • Incident: Travel restrictions
  • Location(s): Nationwide (map)
  • Time Frame: Indefinite
  • Impact: Significant business and transport disruptions, movement restrictions

Summary
US authorities have extended the ground border closures with Canada and Mexico to nonessential travel through at least May 20, as part of the countries' efforts to curb the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19). The closures will not affect trade, movement of essential goods and workers, food, medicines, or cargo trucks. The initial orders to close the ground borders were set to expire April 21.

Additional travel restrictions are ongoing. US officials have suspended entry for foreign nationals who have been in China (excluding Hong Kong and Macau), Iran, UK, Ireland, and the Schengen Area within the last 14 days. 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. US citizens and legal permanent residents who have traveled to a country on the restricted list within 14 days of arrival must self-quarantine for 14 days.

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) has previously announced that incoming flights from the listed countries would be permitted to land only at the following 13 airports:

  • Boston-Logan International Airport (BOS)
  • Chicago O'Hare International Airport (ORD)
  • Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport (DFW)
  • Detroit Metropolitan Airport (DTW)
  • Daniel K. Inouye International Airport (HNL)
  • Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL)
  • John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK)
  • Los Angeles International Airport, (LAX)
  • Miami International Airport (MIA), Florida
  • Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR)
  • San Francisco International Airport (SFO)
  • Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA)
  • Washington-Dulles International Airport (IAD)


Department of State officials have also advised US citizens to avoid all international travel due to the global impact of COVID-19.

Authorities have extended the guidelines for residents to avoid gatherings of ten or more people, to work from home, and for people 65 years of age or older and those with health problems to remain at home and away from others, through at least April 30.

Regional and local authorities have taken additional measures. As of April 20, 47 states and the District of Columbia have canceled classes in all public schools through at least April. Officials in at least 43 states and the District of Columbia have issued stay-at-home orders, through at least April 30. The measures mandate residents to remain indoors unless performing essential tasks and the closure of nonessential businesses statewide. Officials in Arkansas, Iowa, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, Utah, and Wyoming have not imposed stay at home orders, but have imposed several business and gatherings restrictions. Additional measures may be imposed in upcoming days.

Background and Analysis
The measures announced by the US government correspond with similar actions taken by other governments globally in recent weeks, in response to the spread of COVID-19. 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. On March 11, the WHO declared the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak a pandemic.

Advice
Confirm appointments and travel plans if they had already been scheduled. Heed the recommendations of authorities and avoid any gathering of ten or more people. Reconsider any travel plan. Ensure contingency plans account for further disruptive measures or extensions of current restrictions.

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
Center for Disease Control and Prevention: www.cdc.gov

WHO coronavirus knowledge base: www.who.int

US Department of State - Bureau of Consular Affairs: travel.state.gov