US authorities ban passengers with travel history in Europe's Schengen Area to stem the spread of COVID-19 from March 13.

Severity: Critical Alert

The locations affected by this alert are:

  • Atlanta, Georgia
  • Chicago, Illinois
  • Houston, Texas
  • Los Angeles, California
  • Washington, DC
  • Boston, Massachusetts
  • Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas
  • Denver, Colorado
  • Detroit, Michigan
  • Miami, Florida
  • Minneapolis-St. Paul, Minnesota
  • New York City, New York
  • Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  • San Francisco, California
  • Seattle, Washington
  • Charlotte, North Carolina
  • Phoenix, Arizona
  • Salt Lake City, Utah

This alert began 12 Mar 2020 03:26 GMT and is scheduled to expire 31 Mar 2020 23:59 GMT.

  • Incident: Travel restrictions
  • Location(s): Nationwide (map)
  • Start Time/Date: 0001 March 13
  • Impact: Entry restrictions, health screenings, increased immigration wait times

Summary
The US will ban foreign passengers who have traveled within the Schengen Area within 14 days of arrival from entering the country to stem the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19). The measure will begin at 0001 March 13 and will remain in effect through at least April 12. The restriction does not affect US citizens, their immediate relatives (in most cases), or legal permanent residents. The US Department of Homeland Security (DHS) issued a press release March 11, clarifying that there is not a blanket flight ban on travel between the US and Europe, following earlier statements from US President Donald Trump. DHS also indicated that it would announce further measures for US citizens and permanent residents in the coming days that will designate specific airports for arriving flights from affected European countries.

The Schengen Area includes Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland. Airlines are likely to adjust their flight schedules in the coming days; reduced demand is likely to exacerbate flight disruptions between the US and destinations in the affected countries.

President Trump and other officials have stated that the travel restrictions for Schengen countries could be adjusted before the scheduled end date. However, further restrictions remain possible in the coming days.

Background and Analysis
The travel restrictions come amid the ongoing outbreak of COVID-19, which originated in China's Wuhan City in Hubei Province. The purpose of the travel restrictions is to prevent the spread of the disease. The WHO has declared the disease a pandemic.

Advice
Individuals affected by the restrictions should reconfirm their flights. Follow all official immigration and health screening instructions. Allow additional time for immigration and health screenings. Consider delaying traveling if experiencing symptoms associated with COVID-19, as they may prompt increased scrutiny and delays.

Exercise basic health precautions, especially frequent handwashing with soap and water, or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are unavailable. There is no evidence that the influenza vaccine, antibiotics, or antiviral medications will prevent this disease, highlighting the importance of diligent basic health precautions.

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