The US travel advisory system was designed to provide travelers with recommendations for travel for every country around the world, providing updates on the safety and security issues that travelers should be aware of before they set off on their journeys. This week, the US updated its recommendations for several nations, handing its most severe “Level 4” warning to five different countries – Algeria, Bolivia, Botswana, Namibia and the Turks and Caicos Islands. Here’s why these countries have been handed Level 4, and more information about the US’s travel advisory system.
Travel Advisory Warning Levels – Explained For Travelers
Travel advisories come directly from the United States Department of State, and every country in the world is issued with a level. The levels range from Level 1 to Level 4, with the latter being the most severe level in the system.
Level 1 is “Exercise Normal Precautions”. This level used to contain many more countries, but now only contains a handful of nations, with many countries being moved to other levels due to the Covid-19 pandemic. At present, the only countries with a Level 1 warning are Macau, Taiwan and New Zealand – each of which are safe, secure states with few cases of Covid-19.
Level 2 is “Exercise Increased Caution”. According to the State Department website, travelers heading to a Level 2 country must be aware of heightened risks to safety and security. Current Level 2 countries include Australia, South Korea and Thailand.
Level 3 is “Reconsider Travel,” and it is here where most countries in the world are currently designated due to the situation regarding Covid-19 around the world. Level 4 – “Do Not Travel” – is the most severe warning for travelers, and currently applies to 33 countries worldwide, with the most recent five handed Level 4 status on February 1st.
New Level 4 Countries – Information For Travelers
According to the State Department website, Algeria has a range of factors that have contributed to its Level 4 status, including Covid-19 and terrorism in the country. Despite relatively low levels of Covid-19, the website mentions delays in test results, and also warns about the threat of terrorism and kidnapping in the country. However, the country has recently started its vaccination campaign, which could see the advisory warning lower in due time – though the terrorism threat may remain.
Bolivia’s update warns of Covid-19 in the country alongside civil unrest, which together have earned the country its Level 4 warning. Travelers are warned of emergency conditions in the country as a result of Covid-19, including road closures, business closures and travel prohibitions. There is also the threat of violence following demonstrations in the country.
Namibia, Botswana and the Turks and Caicos Islands have earned Level 4 status solely due to the Covid-19 related problems in these countries. The website warns of both Botswana and Namibia’s limited capabilities for testing, and informs travelers about the Turks and Caicos Islands’ limited local medical care facilities.
As well as providing tailor-made information for each country individually, the website also urges caution on a worldwide level, warning travelers to be wary of terrorist attacks, political violence and criminal activities around the world and advising them to join the STEP program, which sends travelers security messages and makes it easier to locate them should something go wrong. Due to the pandemic, travelers across the world have been strongly advised to remain home at present by their governments due to the risks at hand when traveling.
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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