Governor Phil Murphy is not alone in leaving New Jersey as COVID cases surge. His GOP opponent is also out of state, and out of the country.

Both are also traveling to areas the U.S. State Department urge Americans not to visit.

Murphy left Tuesday for the luxury Italian villa he owns just outside of Rome. He says after the last 17 months dealing with a COVID crisis, he needed time away with his family. He is due to return to New Jersey on Thursday, August 19, but said he would return sooner if the situation required it.

As for Murphy's republican challenger, Jack Ciattarelli, he is in Israel. His office says it is not a vacation, however, it's a trip designed to solidify relations with Israeli business and religious leaders. Israel has long been a strong trade partner with New Jersey.

The trips come as the U.S. State Department strongly urged Americans not to travel to either Italy or Israel. As COVID infections surge in many areas around the globe, but the State Department and CDC have issued updated travel guidelines.

In a four tiered alert system, Italy is rated Level 3, for a "high transmission" of COVID infections. Non-essential travel is discouraged.

CDC website

Israel is rated a Level 4 danger for COVID infections. The CDC issued an even stronger warning for that region, saying all travel should be avoided.

CDC website

Both Murphy and Ciattarelli will have to provide a negative COVID test taken within three days before departure. Failure to provide proof of a negative test results in the airline denying access to the flight.

CDC website

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