As the coronavirus continues to spread, governments, airlines and other travel suppliers continue to update their travel advice and services. The situation is evolving so quickly that travel managers and their travelers are advised to closely monitor the latest updates and local conditions on a daily basis. The following is a recap of some of the latest changes:
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security set new policies, which took effect on Feb. 2 that restricts any foreign national who traveled within China in the last 14 days from entering the United States. Exceptions apply for immediate family members of U.S. citizens and permanent residents. U.S. citizens who were in China within the last 14 days will be re-routed to one of 11 designated airports for enhanced health screening procedures. They will be asked to self-quarantine for 14 days. U.S. citizens who have traveled to Hubei province will be held under mandatory quarantine for 14 days after returning to the U.S. DHS officials warn that aircraft will be rerouted if officials discover mid-flight that someone onboard has been in China in the last 14 days.
Last week, the U.S. State Department upped its travel advice for China from a Level 3 “reconsider travel” to Level 4 “Do Not Travel”. At the time of this report, State Department travel advice for Hong Kong currently remains at Level 2 “exercise increased caution”.
With at least 28 confirmed cases of coronavirus being reported across Europe, both the UK and France have also issued statements advising their citizens to avoid “all non-essential” travel to mainland China.
American, Delta, and United suspended all flights to and from mainland China. American and United have canceled flights through March 27 and 28 respectively. Delta has cancelled flights through April 30. These dates are subject to change.
American and United suspended flights to Hong Kong through February 20, though this could be extended. Delta does not offer service to Hong Kong.
Other airlines around the world have similarly suspended or reduced services including Air Asia, Air Canada, Air China, Air France, Air India, Air New Zealand, Air Seoul, British Airways, Cathay Pacific, China Eastern, All Nippon Airways, Asiana Airlines, El Al, Emirates, Etihad, Finnair, Hainan, Iberia, Japan Airlines, KLM, Korean Air, Lion Air, Philippines Airlines, Qantas, Qatar, Royal Air Maroc, SAS, Saudi, Shanghai Airlines, Singapore Airlines, Turkish Airlines, Vietnam Airlines, and Virgin Atlantic.
Airlines continue to offer refunds and extended waivers for passengers who have been impacted by cancelled flights or wish to change their travel plans. Some restrictions apply. Hotels, cruise lines and other travel providers are also working with travelers impacted by these events.
Please contact your Adelman travel consultant for more information. As always, Adelman is ready to assist you and your travelers through all the means at our disposal.
Trump Administration bans New Yorkers from enrolling in some trusted traveler programs
Late Wednesday the Department of Homeland Security announced that residents from the state of New York will no longer be allowed to apply for federal trusted traveler programs including Global Entry, FAST, NEXUS and SENTRI. The ban does not apply to TSA PreCheck. The new ruling was implemented in response to New York’s recently enacted Green Light Law which allows immigrants to seek driver’s licenses regardless of how they entered the country. As part of the Green Light Law, federal immigration and customs agents lost access to the New York DMV databases as it was feared that ICE and Border Patrol would use the data base to target immigrants for possible deportation. The DHS says it needs access to the New York DMV data base in order to process trusted traveler applications for New Yorkers. Travelers who are currently enrolled in the affected trusted traveler programs can still use their existing memberships, but they will not be allowed to re-enroll while the ban is still in effect.
White House extends travel ban
The Trump administration said it is extending the travel ban by placing new restrictions on six additional countries. Immigrant visas will be suspended for citizens of Eritrea, Kyrgyzstan, Myanmar (also known as Burma) and Nigeria. People from Sudan and Tanzania will be barred from the U.S. diversity visa program, which awards green cards to immigrants. The new restrictions won’t apply to tourist, business or other nonimmigrant travel, according to Homeland Security Department officials. The new order, which was signed by Trump is set to go into effect on Feb. 22.