The US State Department on Friday issued a “Travel Advisory Level 3” suggesting to U.S. citizens to postpone even essential travel to Greece due to the Covid-19 spread in the country.
Greece recorded 153 new coronavirus cases on Thursday, the highest number over this summer so far. Even though there have been no deaths reported today, authorities are alarmed in the continual rise in the number of cases.
The travel advisory recommends that American citizens should avoid all nonessential travel to Greece due to increased risk for getting ill from Covid-19 and postpone essential travel.
The U.S. Department of State also warns that health care and health resources in Greece may be limited.
On Thursday, Carl Risch, the Assistant SecretaryBureau of Consular Affairs, held a video press conference to discuss the lifting of the US’ “Global Level 4 Health Advisory” imposed on March 19.
At that time, the US had placed every other country on the globe on the “do not fly” list. Now, as countries deal with the crisis, the State Department decided to revisit the slate of travel advisories to reflect the situation in each country as it is now.
The different levels of travel advisability correspond not only to the number of coronavirus cases in each country but also to how well the medical system in each country can handle Covid-19 cases as well as a host of other factors.
Risch stated “The Department of State has no higher priority than the safety and security of U.S. citizens. We are committed to providing U.S. citizens with clear, timely, and reliable information about health and safety conditions overseas so they can make informed travel decisions.”
“The COVID-19 pandemic poses significant risks for travelers, and our destination-specific advisories take into account the latest data and public health and safety analysis on COVID-related risks.
“I would like to underscore the fact that global conditions remain highly dynamic, and we continue to recommend U.S. citizens exercise caution when traveling abroad due to the unpredictable nature of the pandemic.”
He urged Americans who would like to keep abreast of the changing conditions and advisories to check travel.state.gov for all the necessary information.
The US passport authority, part of the State Department, has itself been shut down since the pandemic first broke out. Asked when Americans will once more be able to apply for passports for travel abroad, Risch replied “in June the State Department began a phased resumption of routine passport processing in phases across the country.
“Our dedicated team of passport professionals have begun to return to our facilities in substantial numbers.
“We have already reduced the number of pending applications from about 1.8 million passport applications to approximately now 1 million. We want the American people to know that we’re working aggressively to resume normal passport operations and to address COVID-19-related processing delays.”