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U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo at the State Department on March 17. Photo: Nicholas Kamm via Getty Images

The State Department is suspending "routine visa services in most countries worldwide" for immigrants and nonimmigrants in response to the novel coronavirus pandemic, the agency said Wednesday.

What's happening: Visa appointments — a crucial step for U.S. immigrants — will be canceled in all countries with a travel advisory level of 2, 3 or 4 as of Wednesday, a State Department spokesperson told Axios.

  • Affected countries include the United Kingdom, Germany, China, Israel, South Korea, Italy, Japan, France, Ukraine, Russia, India, Denmark, Turkey and Brazil.
  • The visa waiver program, which allows citizens to visit the U.S. for tourism or business for 90 days or less without a visa, will not be affected, the agency said on its website Wednesday.

What they're saying: "As resources allow, embassies and consulates will continue to provide urgent and emergency visa services. These Embassies will resume routine visa services as soon as possible but are unable to provide a specific date at this time," the State Department said on its website.

Go deeper: ICE pauses most immigration enforcement amid coronavirus outbreak

Go deeper

Updated 4 mins ago - World

Blinken to meet with Russian foreign minister after visit to Ukraine

Photo: Russian Foreign Ministry/Handout/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Secretary of State Antony Blinken will meet with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov in Geneva on Friday, following a trip to Kyiv to reinforce U.S. support for Ukraine in the face of a possible Russian invasion, according to a senior U.S. official.

Why it matters: The meeting with Lavrov suggests a diplomatic resolution to the crisis may still be on the table, despite the collapse of security talks between Russia and the West last week.

Updated 39 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Omicron dashboard

Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

  1. Health: Transplants rebound from COVID lull — CDC director says COVID-19 messaging should have been clearer — Concerns grow over CDC's isolation guidelines.
  2. Vaccines: Kids' COVID vaccination rates are particularly low in rural America — America's vaccination drive runs out of gas.
  3. Politics: Joint Chiefs chair Gen. Mark Milley tests positive for COVID-19 — Vivek Murthy calls SCOTUS vaccine mandate block "a setback for public health."
  4. States: America struggles to keep schools open — Youngkin ends mandates for masks in schools and COVID vaccinations for state workers.
  5. World: Greece imposes vaccine mandate for people 60 and older — French parliament passes COVID vaccine passport legislation.
  6. Variant tracker

Mayors feel powerless to reduce homelessness

Expand chart
Recreated from 2021 Menino Survey of Mayors; Chart: Jacque Schrag/Axios

America's mayors know their constituents hold them accountable for homelessness, but many don't feel they have the tools or power to fix things, a brand new survey says.

Why it matters: While homelessness has become more acute during the pandemic, city leaders say they lack the money, staff or political support needed to make a meaningful difference.