U.S. issues highest travel alert warning against visiting COVID-19-hit Mexico

Since March 19, the U.S. Department had advised American citizens to avoid all travel abroad because of the coronavirus pandemic

U.S. issues highest travel alert warning against visiting COVID-19-hit Mexico
This picture taken on February 14, 2020 shows travellers wearing protective gear at an airport – Photo: Nicola Afouri/AFP
English 07/08/2020 13:23 Newsroom & Agencies Mexico City Newsroom/EL UNIVERSAL & Newsroom/AP Actualizada 13:23
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The U.S. State Department dropped its global “Level 4” health warning urging people not to travel abroad Thursday but promptly re-imposed that same advisory level on Mexico.

Since March 19, the department had advised U.S. citizens to avoid all travel abroad because of the coronavirus pandemic.

On Thursday, the department announced it was returning to country-specific advisories.

It issued a Level 4 “do not travel” warning for all of Mexico, citing COVID-19. Mexico pushed passed 50,000 deaths Thursday and has reported 462,690 confirmed cases of coronavirus infections, far less than the United States.

Recommended: Mexico, the U.S., and Canada to extend COVID-19 border restrictions for another month

Mexico had long enjoyed a “Level 2” advisory urging travelers to exercise caution, though some particularly violent states had “do not travel” advisories because of crime, gang shootouts, and the risk of kidnapping.

In its advisory Thursday, the State Department said, “Travelers to Mexico may experience border closures, airport closures, travel prohibitions, stay at home orders, business closures, and other emergency conditions within Mexico due to COVID-19.”

Moreover, it mentioned the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued a Level 3 Travel Health Notice for Mexico due to COVID-19.

The State Department added that it has resumed its previous system because the health and security conditions are improving in some countries while they are becoming worse in others.

According to the list published on Thursday, Taiwan is the only place that has the conditions to remain on Level 1, which means there are no special travel concerns for that destination.

Not even New Zealand, which is considered as one of the few cases of success in the pandemic, is in that category. It was placed on Level 2: “Exercise increased caution.”

Level 3, which means “Reconsider travel,” includes most countries like Germany, France, South Korea, Japan, Australia, and Uruguay, the only Latin American country included in the list of nations the European Union accepts to receive.

Level 4, which means “Do not travel,” includes countries like Brazil, the second worst-hit by the pandemic, India, and China, in addition to Mexico.

According to the U.S. State Department, the alert level is based on the updated evaluation of local conditions.

According to Mexico’s Embassy in the U.S., each country’s alert is decreed after going through several sources of information about the local conditions, such as Mexico’s four-color coded epidemiological system, which is currently at red and orange.

It added that Mexico’s alert takes into account the latest data about risks related to COVID-19, as well as the evaluation of local conditions.

Recommended: Mexico to keep airports open despite coronavirus pandemic

In addition to health-related matters, the U.S. Travel Alerts considers other risks like crime, terrorism, civil disturbances, and natural disasters, that are relevant for American citizens.

Currently, the land border shared between Mexico and the U.S. is restricted to non-essential travel, a decision made by both governments to mitigate the spread of the new virus.

U.S. President Donald Trump has repeatedly mentioned Mexico has a “serious problem” with coronavirus and that the wall has prevented more infections in the U.S. caused by people crossing the border.

Meanwhile, U.S. borders remain closed for most travelers coming from the European Union, which also has banned Americans from entering due to the risk of contagion.

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