U.S. State Department Issues Rare Worldwide Travel Advisory
The U.S. State Department has issued 10 new travel advisory updates as part of its ongoing commitment to keeping American travelers safe during their travels around the world. The latest round of travel advisory updates were posted on the State Department’s website just yesterday, and feature a diverse range of countries around the world, as well as covering a range of different issues that travelers may face, such as crime, terrorism and Covid-19 related restrictions.
However, as well as travel advisory updates covering the risks travelers face in each specific country, the State Department has also issued a new worldwide caution this month that travelers should take the time to read before traveling abroad
Here’s a reminder of what travel advisories are, which countries were featured in the latest round of updates yesterday, and what travelers should know about the new Worldwide Caution update.
What Are Travel Advisories? Information For Travelers
Travel advisories are concise yet detailed guides that contain information about the issues travelers may encounter when traveling abroad in a particular country.
Curated by the State Department, they draw upon a range of sources, from first-hand sources such as embassy staff on the ground to official crime statistics and intelligence reports, to issue every country in the world a travel advisory warning level based on the risks associated with traveling to that particular country.
The four distinct travel advisory levels are as follows:
- Level 1 – Exercise Normal Precautions
- Level 2 – Exercise Increased Caution
- Level 3 – Reconsider Travel
- Level 4 – Do Not Travel
Ever since the pandemic, travel advisory pages have also contained information about the level of Covid-19 present in each destination, courtesy of the CDC. These can be either unknown, low, moderate or high. Whilst they may recommend travelers not to travel to a destination, travel advisories do not have to power to prevent travelers from visiting a certain destination, acting merely as an advisory measure and allowing travelers to make the final decision themselves.
Most Recent Travel Advisories – What Travelers Should Know
The State Department posted a rare Worldwide Caution travel advisory on August 2nd, the first worldwide travel advisory since January 15th, 2019. In the Worldwide Caution, the State Department states that they are “concerned about the continued threat of terrorist attacks, demonstrations, and other violent actions against U.S. citizens and interests overseas” following the death of the al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri at the end of last month. It recommends that travelers read their destination’s travel advisory pages and enroll in the STEP program.
Yesterday’s updates saw a range of countries awarded Level 1 travel advisories – the lowest travel advisory a country can receive – making them amongst the safest destinations in the world. They are as follows:
Senegal (moderate Covid-19 level), Sint Eustatius (high Covid-19 level), Suriname (low Covid-19 level) and The Kyrgyz Republic (moderate Covid-19 level).
Three countries received Level 2 travel advisories, meaning that whilst they are on the safer side, there are still some things travelers should be aware of. Jordan, which has a high level of Covid-19, was handed a Level 2 advisory due to the risk of terrorism, whilst both Malawi (unknown Covid-19 level) and Zimbabwe (low level of Covid-19) were placed in the Level 2 category due to the risk of crime in these countries.
A further three countries were awarded Level 3 travel advisories. Their details are as follows:
- Azerbaijan – reconsider travel to Azerbaijan due to Covid-19-related restrictions and terrorism concerns. The country has a moderate level of Covid-19.
- China – reconsider travel to the People’s Republic of China (PRC) due to arbitrary enforcement of local laws and Covid-19-related restrictions. Low level of Covid-19.
- Hong Kong – reconsider travel to the PRC’s Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (SAR) due to arbitrary enforcement of local laws and Covid-19-related restrictions. Low level of Covid-19.
There were no Level 4 updates published yesterday.