Level 4 Advisory: Do Not Travel posted by the U.S. Dept. of State

A short while ago, the US Department of State announced that its Worldwide Global Health Advisory has been raised to Level 4, “Do Not Travel.” This message advises those who are abroad to return to the US as soon as possible by commercial means while still available and, if you cannot, to shelter in place until you are able to depart safely. 

This advisory also means that the US Department of State may not be able to provide diplomatic services, including assistance with travel or other difficulties overseas. Other practical outcomes could include unpredictably disrupted transportation networks, access to local healthcare systems may be reduced, and day-to-day services like banking and grocery could be limited. Notre Dame’s ability to support or to assist in leaving the country could also be very limited.

Returning to the US

The situation remains fluid with new travel restrictions or bans, border closures, and flight suspensions for countries around the world changing by the hour and without little to no notice. If you are currently abroad on University-sponsored international travel and are able to depart, you should make arrangements to depart your destination country by commercial means as quickly as possible.

Notre Dame International is in the process of reaching out to all registered travelers in the Travel Registry system and/or faculty and staff abroad based at Global Gateways and Centers to assist in returning them to the US, if they are able. If you are currently abroad on University-sponsored travel and did not receive a message from Notre Dame International because your international travel is not registered in the Travel Registry, please contact travelregistry@nd.edu or 574-631-1138.  

Travel Reminders

  • Do not travel if you are sick; travelers who are sick risk being quarantined and undergoing tests. 
  • If you are returning from or have transited through a Level 3 country as designated by the CDC, be prepared to follow CDC guidance to self-quarantine upon your return.
  • Understand and routinely check any travel and border restrictions for your current location, while you are in transit, at your proposed destination (i.e. denial of entry or mandatory 14-day quarantine on arrival).
  • Allow additional time for arrival procedures, or when passing through affected area airports, taking into account temperature and health screenings. Reports indicate that travelers have waited 6+ hours for pre-departure and/or on-arrival screenings.
  • If you are traveling or transiting from COVID-19 affected areas, anticipate more stringent scrutiny and reconfirm the status of flights with your carrier or the airport.
  • Follow all official directives by authorities.
  • Keep your mobile devices fully charged at all times.
  • Stay in touch with your emergency contact back home.

Shelter in Place

We understand that returning to the US immediately might not be possible right now for some of those who are currently abroad due to travel restrictions or bans, border closures, and flight suspensions. In case you face a situation where you have to remain where you are for a period of time until you are able to depart safely, please follow the general recommendations below. This is referred to as “sheltering in place.” 

Recommendations

  • Please update your contact information (in-country mobile and/or landline) and emergency contact information in the Travel Registry system. If you are unable to do so, please contract travelregistry@nd.edu
  • Diligently check your Notre Dame email and cell phone messages regularly, in case Notre Dame attempts to reach you should the safety of an environment deteriorate.
  • Connect with the embassy of your nationality. If you haven’t done so already, sign up for the U.S. Embassy’s Smart Traveler Enrollment Program to receive updates directly from the Embassy (you can sign up for STEP even if you are not a U.S. citizen, just leave your passport number blank). The U.S. Embassy website may also provide a list of recommended medical providers or hospitals. 
  • Monitor local news and reputable international outlets for updates. 
  • If you have a medical condition that prevents you from sheltering in place, send an email to travelregistry@nd.edu. For urgent matters, call the NDPD Emergency Line at 574-631-5555. 
  • If you must shelter in place, acquire safe food, water and other necessary supplies to last you several days (ideally two weeks) in case of acute shortages
  • Expect long wait times for the most basic of items and services. Bring your own food and personal hygiene items (toilet paper, wipes, hand sanitizer, etc.) if possible to avoid being left without.
  • Should you present with COVID-19 symptoms, understand COVID-19 reporting protocols for your current location, including the phone number to call or if you should report directly to a local hospital with your symptoms.
  • Follow all official directives by authorities.
  • Keep your mobile devices fully charged at all times.
  • Stay in touch with your emergency contact back home.
  • Monitor updates from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and U.S. Department of State
  • IN CASE OF EMERGENCY, contact the Notre Dame Police Department (NDPD) Emergency Line at 574-631-5555. Calls are initially answered by NDPD, who will relay your message to the on call duty officer and Notre Dame International

Originally published by Jaime Signoracci at international.nd.edu on March 19, 2020.