In light of the continuing global pandemic, the U.S. Department of State is recalibrating the international travel advice it gives to U.S. citizens.
The State Department has a four-tiered system that provides country-specific advice to U.S. citizens contemplating travel.
The four levels are:
Level 1: Exercise normal precautions
Level 2: Exercise increased caution
Level 3: Reconsider travel
Level 4: Do not travel.
Under the new system, New Zealand has been reclassified as Level 3: Reconsider travel. New Zealand’s Level 3 Travel Advisory is in no way a reflection on New Zealand’s COVID-19 response. In fact, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and Prevention recognizes there is a low level of COVID-19 in the country. Changing New Zealand’s Travel Advisory level does not indicate that the U.S. Government assesses the level of COVID-19 risk has gone up in New Zealand. The U.S. CDC’s assessment of the COVID risk in New Zealand remains the same.
The Department of State is advising U.S. citizens to reconsider travel to New Zealand because its borders are closed to almost all travelers.
The Department of State has updated its Travel Advisory rubric, and following implementation of this update, approximately 80% of countries worldwide will have a Travel Advisory Level of 4: Do Not Travel. A Level 3 Travel Advisory is not unique to New Zealand.
The COVID-19 pandemic poses a dynamic threat, and therefore our advice to U.S. citizen travelers requires frequent updates to ensure we are providing the most timely and accurate information. To this end, the Department of State reviews CDC data, travel restrictions and other factors on a weekly basis to evaluate the appropriate Travel Advisory levels worldwide.
“We are all in this together and we want to be consistent with New Zealand Government messaging. Every country is reviewing and adapting our advice and processes to take account of the new world we find ourselves in,” says U.S. Chargé d’Affaires Kevin Covert.
We strongly encourage U.S. citizens in New Zealand to continue following the advice of the CDC and New Zealand’s Ministry of Health.