The U.S Department of State has issued 17 new updates to its travel advisories, providing travelers with more important information designed to keep them safe and well informed when deciding whether or not to go on their travels abroad. Issued just yesterday, the new travel advisory updates are the latest of several to be posted already this month, proving that Covid-19 isn’t the only thing that travelers should be aware of before jetting off on their summer vacations.
From serious issues such as terrorism and kidnapping, toother major issues such as natural disasters and health concerns, travel advisories contain information on a wide range of potential problems, and serve as many traveler’s first port of call before they plan an international trip. Here’s a look at what exactly a travel advisory is, how they are calculated and which countries were implicated in the latest updates from the State Department.
What Are Travel Advisories? What Travelers Should Know
Travel advisories are detailed, easy to read updates that contain information about potential problems travelers may encounter when abroad in a specific destination. Every country in the world is awarded a travel advisory, with each one describing the risks in that country and containing clear information regarding the actions that U.S. citizens should take to help ensure their safety. Issues covered by travel advisories include crime, terrorism, civil unrest, health, natural disasters, time-limited events, kidnapping and others.
Travel advisories come in one of four levels, depending on the seriousness of the risks in each destination. They are as follows:
- Level 1 – Exercise Normal Precautions
- Level 2 – Exercise Increased Caution
- Level 3 – Reconsider Travel
- Level 4 – Do Not Travel
In addition to a level, each country’s travel advisory page also contains a note from the CDC regarding its level of Covid-19, ranging from low to high. Despite the strict wording of Level 4 travel advisories, they do not have the legal power to prevent a traveler from visiting a destination, serving only to provide advice and recommendations.
Travel Advisory Updates – Information For Travelers
Yesterday’s 17 travel advisory updates featured all four of the different levels. Here are the countries given Level 1 advisories and what the CDC rates their Covid-19 level as:
- Bhutan, Comoros and Sint Eustatius – CDC indicates an unknown level of Covid-19 in these countries
- Fiji – CDC states it has a low level of Covid-19
- Cabo Verde, Sweden and Romania – moderate levels of Covid-19 according to the CDC
- Botswana – high level of Covid-19 according to the CDC
Five countries were awarded Level 2 travel advisories, recommending that travelers exercise increased caution. Both Bolivia and Guinea were moved into Level 2 due to civil unrest, with Bolivia judged to have a moderate level of Covid-19 and Guinea a high level of the virus. Ghana, which has an unknown level of Covid-19, is a Level 2 country due to crime, whilst Morocco’s page warns of terrorism and its moderate level of Covid-19. Travelers have also been asked to exercise increased caution in Kenya due to crime, terrorism, and kidnapping, with the country also having a moderate level of Covid-19.
Three countries receive the more serious Level 3 updates – El Salvador, Moldova and Republic of the Congo. Travelers are asked to reconsider travel to El Salvador due to crime, with the country also having a low level of Covid-19. Moldova’s page warns of “armed conflict in neighboring Ukraine, and the unresolved conflict between the breakaway region of Transnistria and the central government,” as well as a low level of Covid-19. Travelers are also asked to reconsider travel to the Democratic Republic of Congo due to crime and civil unrest; the country has an unknown level of Covid-19.
Only one country received a Level 4 update – Ethiopia. The country’s page warns of the risk of armed conflict, civil unrest, communications disruptions, crime, and the potential for terrorism and kidnapping in border areas, telling travelers explicitly not to visit. The country also has a moderate level of Covid-19.
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Disclaimer: Current travel rules and restrictions can change without notice. The decision to travel is ultimately your responsibility. Contact your consulate and/or local authorities to confirm your nationality’s entry and/or any changes to travel requirements before traveling. Travel Off Path does not endorse traveling against government advisories