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Personal Travel Abroad: CDC Level 2 and 3 Health Notices

International Travel Health and Safety

Dear travelers,

Cornell’s International Travel Advisory and Response Team (ITART) has been closely monitoring the outbreak of respiratory illness caused by the coronavirus (COVID-19). We understand that the recent news of an increase in the Center for Disease Control (CDC) alert level for Global COVID-19 Outbreak Notice (Level 2, Practice Enhanced Precautions) and COVID-19 in Europe (Level 3, Avoid Nonessential Travel) may be a cause of heightened concern for you, your classmates or colleagues, and families as you indicated you were abroad on personal travel. While the risk of serious infection remains low, authorities are taking all precautions against the possible spread of the virus, which may impact business operations and disruptions to travel.

We are writing to share best practices and to assure you that Cornell’s International Travel Health and Safety team, working in partnership with university officials and in alignment with the CDC, the U.S. Department of State and International SOS recommendations, is closely monitoring developments as they unfold related to this global health concern.

We will continue to monitor the situation as it unfolds around the globe and update you should the situation change. We encourage you to keep your families informed of your whereabouts and travel plans. Please see the below-recommended actions and resources, and we encourage you to also review the FAQs on Cornell’s Coronavirus Resources and Updates webpage.

Recommended Actions and Resources

  • Put into practice everyday personal and public health preventative actions recommended by the CDC. These include hand washing, covering your cough or sneeze with a tissue, among others, many of which are the expected steps you would take to protect yourself from the common flu or other transmittable viruses.
  • We encourage you to follow the instructions and recommendations put forward by the CDC and your host organization/local authorities regarding any precautions that support the prevention of a community outbreak.
  • The symptoms associated with coronavirus are similar to the common flu. Symptoms include mild to severe respiratory illness with fever, cough, and difficulty breathing. If you experience any of these symptoms, inform your program staff or local partner, and take care of yourself – stay hydrated and rest. If the symptoms worsen or you have concerns, seek medical attention through program staff on-site or your local partner.
  • Verify your transportation choices are operational and stay up to date on travel restrictions, entrance/exit bans, and possible enhanced screening and/or quarantine measures put in place.
  • Do note that while on personal travel, services normally offered to Cornell travelers such as access to International SOS and some insurance coverage are not available to you, but we are always happy to answer questions should you have concerns (

Chris Cook, Manager of International Travel Health and Safety