DHS travel advisory: More than half of passengers have health conditions that make them ineligible for travel
By Steve LipskyDHS officials have issued an advisory advising Americans traveling to and from the Middle East, South America, Africa, the Pacific Ocean and elsewhere to limit their exposure to airborne viruses and other pathogens.
The advisory, which was issued Monday, says that the health risks of certain infections are so great that the federal government cannot safely support travel to these regions.
It also notes that in some cases, some travel is possible, but that there are a limited number of travelers who could qualify.
The travel advisory was first reported by Reuters.
DHS says the advisory is meant to provide guidance to travelers, but has no medical advice.
It is also not a recommendation on whether travelers should consider travel to those areas.
“The advisory is intended to assist travelers and their family members who have a risk of exposure to certain airborne viruses,” a DHS spokesperson told Reuters.
“The advice does not have medical advice.”
The travel guidance comes amid growing concerns about the spread of the coronavirus in the U.S. The agency has issued a travel warning for travelers to certain parts of the world, including Europe, Asia, the Middle-East, and Africa.
The health warnings came as the agency began testing its internal data to better understand the risk for travelers, particularly those who may be traveling to the Middle West and Africa to see relatives.
“We’ve been working on this and we’re very pleased with how it’s progressing,” said Dr. James Lomax, chief medical officer of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
“But we also want to ensure that we can protect our people and our communities.”
The DHS advisory, first reported Monday by Reuters, states that about half of those with a travel history have some type of pre-existing condition that could make them susceptible to a virus.
It goes on to note that the risk of contracting the coronovirus is higher in areas with high rates of air pollution, and people in these regions are more likely to be exposed to a coronaviruses pathogen.
“While the travel advisory is not a statement that we think travelers should be barred from traveling to these areas, the public health impact of this is really very significant,” Lomak said.
“I would encourage people to go to places where they think that there’s a very low risk of infection and to seek health care.
But also, there are things that you can do to protect yourself and others.”DHS has not provided any evidence to support the advisory.