US State Department overhauls travel advisory system

The State Department debuted a new system for warning travelers about potential danger abroad

The State Department debuted a new system for warning travelers about potential danger abroad

While the new assessment was not just for Pakistan, the US State Department in its advisory put Pakistan in the third category while many of its regions like Balochistan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and the Federally Administered Tribal Areas (Fata) were put under the most unsafe fourth category. Travel Advisories apply up to four standard levels of advice, give a description of the risks, and provide clear actions US citizens should take to help ensure their safety.

In this way, Washington now suggests its citizens to reconsider a possible trip to the Caribbean country, which means a decrease from level 4 alert that states "not to travel" to level 3 that states "reconsider travel" to the visitor.

This level advises travelers to "be aware of heightened risks to safety and security", in addition to more specific advice for each country provided by the State Department.

Guerrero, which includes Acapulco, Ixtapa, Taxco and Zihuatanejo, is listed as "Level 4 - Do Not Travel".

Russian Federation is listed as a Level 3 country, to which travel should be reconsidered, according to the State Department. USA citizens are advised to avoid travel "due to serious risks to safety and security".

While the State Department may warn against all travel, they can not bar citizens from traveling overseas or going to a specific country. Level three countries include Russian Federation, due to civil unrest in certain areas, and Venezuela, due to crime and a limited ability of the United States to provide assistance to citizens.

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Under the new system, every country has a travel advisory and is placed in one of these four categories.

Additionally, several Mexican states were rated Tier 3, meaning Americans should "reconsider travel" to the areas. "We have a small footprint there, and our ability to help people in an emergency there is very limited, so that is also a factor". Conditions in any country may change at any time. But the USA can not wholly ban citizens from traveling to countries.

The new rankings replace the vague and often confusing system of issuing "travel alerts" for short-term dangers posed by events such as epidemics or mass protests, and "travel warnings" for long-standing concerns such as armed conflict or political instability.

H - Health: Health risks, including current disease outbreaks or a crisis that disrupts a country's medical infrastructure, are present.

O - Other: There are potential risks not covered by previous risk indicators. "In the past, there have been large-scale terrorist attacks resulting in hundreds of casualties", reads the travel advisory.

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