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State Department upgrades China from ‘Do not travel’ to ‘reconsider’

Jayme Deerwester USA TODAY

Published 5:22 PM EDT Sep 14, 2020

The U.S. Department of State has lowered its advisory for China, from level 4 (“Do not travel”) to level 3, urging Americans to reconsider any travel to that country.

The change in China’s status comes six months into the COVID-19 pandemic and nearly eight months after the State Department issued its most severe warning, telling U.S. citizens not to travel there at all. It had first cautioned Americans on Jan. 24 not to go to Wuhan, the city where the novel coronavirus is thought to have originated, before expanding its advisory to all of China about a week later.

“The [People’s Republic of China] has resumed most business operations (including daycares and schools). Other improved conditions have been reported within the PRC,” the U.S. embassy in Beijing acknowledged in a press release Monday. 

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has not downgraded the threat level for China, keeping its advisory at its highest level, 3 (“Reconsider nonessential travel”).

United Airlines and Delta slowly began restoring service to China over the summer; American Airlines will not resume flights there until October.

But most Americans still can’t plan trips to China: U.S. citizens currently can’t obtain entry visas. In August, China relaxed border restrictions for approximately three dozen countries, but the U.S. was not on the list, the State Department said.

According to World Health Organization data, the number of new COVID-19 cases in China has remained largely flat all summer, with the highest number (276) reported on July 31. September has not seen any days with more than 35 new reported cases.

The U.S., on the other hand, saw case numbers spiking around the country for much of the summer and no day’s new case count numbered under five digits. Sept. 10, which had the lowest amount of new reported cases of any day this month, still had over 23,000.

Published 5:22 PM EDT Sep 14, 2020

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