By Victor Omondi
The U.S. has become the epicenter of the Covid-19 outbreak having the highest number of persons infected. So far, the U.S. has reported more than 300,000 Coronavirus cases with 8400 deaths.
Owing to the ongoing outbreak, the U.S. State Department has stopped issuing passports, with exceptions to only individuals who have a qualified life-or-death emergency.
According to a statement published on March 27, the State Department urged Americans to avoid international travels to curb the spread of Covid-19. Only individuals experiencing an emergency and have to travel within 72 hours should consider traveling abroad.
The situations that qualify as life-or-death emergencies include serious illnesses, injuries, or deaths among close family members that require travel outside the U.S., according to the statement.
Those who need passports for emergency travel at this time should provide proof for the emergency such as a death certificate or a signed letter from a hospital or doctor. In addition to this, they should provide proof of international travel such as a ticket or flight itinerary, and a passport application with supporting documents.
Routine applications or renewal requests for passports that come after March 20 won’t be expedited and the State Department announced that regular services may be delayed.
Usually, passport processing takes six to eight weeks, but the State Department says renewals after March 20 should take longer than this. However, those who would like to renew their passports for future international travel can proceed normally without the usual option for expedited service at an additional cost of $60.
With new infections reported daily in the U.S., more travel restrictions are to be put in place. Countries with the highest number of infections are already in lockdown to prevent the spread of the virus.
More than one million people have tested positive for the virus, with more than 64000 deaths. Italy and the U.S. are among the countries badly hit by the virus. As of now, Italy has 124, 632 coronavirus cases, with more than 15000 deaths. However, the U.S. is leading with more than 300000 Covid-19 cases.
The good news is that there are people who have recovered from the disease. So, there’s hope still hope. Even so, prevention is better than cure. It’s important to adhere to the measures put in place to avoid contacting the disease. While there’s hope that you could recover from the virus, the death toll is rising every day. So, it’s much better to avoid getting infected.