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U.S. State Department Issues 17 New Travel Advisory Updates

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The US Department of State has just issued a further 17 new travel advisory updates for countries around the world. The updates, which were posted to the State Department's website just yesterday, are part of the department's ongoing attempts to keep American travelers safe on their journeys abroad this summer and beyond, and contain up to date, detailed information for travelers about the specific risks associated with visiting each of the countries that features in the updates. 

The fifth such update this month alone, the State Department's travel advisory updates should perform a key role in any American traveler's pre-vacation checklist, and can be a make or break factor when it comes to going through with the decision to book a trip abroad or not. Here's a look at which destinations featured in yesterday's latest round of travel advisory updates, plus a reminder of everything you need to know about the travel advisory update system itself.

What Are Travel Advisories? What Travelers Should Know

Travel advisories are concise guides issued by the State Department that detail specific threats or risks that travelers may encounter in foreign countries. Updated frequently, they take information from a range of sources, such as embassy staff and official crime statistics, before assigning destinations one of four specific threat levels – ranging from the least severe Level 1 travel advisory warnings to the most severe Level 4, which recommends travelers avoid that destination completely. 

More recently, each country's travel advisory page has also started showing its level of Covid-19 as determined by the CDC, providing even more information to travelers. Whilst travelers are specifically told “Do Not Travel” to countries with Level 4 travel advisories, the travel advisories themselves do not have any legal power to prevent a traveler from going through with their travel plans. However, the information they provide allows travelers to make informed decisions about whether or not traveling to a specific destination is a good idea. 

Travel Advisory Updates – Information For Travelers

Yesterday’s travel advisory updates saw all four of the system’s warning levels covered. The following countries received Level 1 travel advisory status, which asks travelers to exercise normal precautions:

Australia (high Covid-19 level), Gabon (moderate Covid-19 level), Lesotho (moderate Covid-19 level), New Zealand (high Covid-19 level), North Macedonia (high Covid-19 level) and Paraguay (high Covid-19 level).

Having received Level 1 travel advisories, that means these countries are considered to be amongst the safest destinations for travelers to visit at present.

The following countries received Level 2 travel advisory updates:

  • Eswatini – exercise increased caution due to crime and civil unrest. Moderate Covid-19 level
  • Kenya – exercise increased caution due to crime, terrorism and kidnapping. High Covid-19 level
  • Kosovo – exercise increased caution due to terrorism. High Covid-19 level
  • Liberia – exercise increased caution due to crime and civil unrest. Low Covid-19 level
  • South Africa – exercise increased caution due to crime and civil unrest. Moderate Covid-19 level

Heading into more serious territory, there were five countries that were handed Level 3 travel advisories, which ask travelers to reconsider travel to such destinations. Colombia received a Level 3 warning for its risks of crime, terrorism, civil unrest and kidnapping, whilst also having a high level of Covid-19. According to Level 3 Cote d’Ivoire’s travel advisory page, travelers could face crime, civil unrest and terrorism in the country, whilst it also has a moderate level of Covid-19. El Salvador, which has a moderate level of Covid-19, was handed a Level 3 travel advisory warning for crime, with the country’s page warning of violent crime, homicide and sexual assault.

Also receiving updated Level 3 travel advisories were Mauritania (moderate Covid-19 level) for its risk of crime and terrorism, and Sri Lanka (unknown Covid-19 level), for its fuel and medicine shortage and risk of terrorism. Only one country – Iraq – received a Level 4 travel advisory warning, due to terrorism, kidnapping, armed conflict, civil unrest and the limited capacity to provide support to U.S. citizens. Iraq also has a high level of Covid-19. 

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