State Department rolls out new global travel alert system

By Susan McFarland  |  Jan. 10, 2018 at 2:06 PM
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Jan. 10 (UPI) -- The U.S. State Department on Wednesday rolled out a new system that seeks to clarify travel advisories for Americans abroad.

The new system includes four levels of advisory -- the first for "normal" conditions, the second for "increased caution," the third urging citizens to "reconsider travel" and a fourth with a "do not travel" warning.

Officials said level four is not an explicit ban, but an advisory warning only.

The department said last month an overhaul was coming to improve how the agency communicates its global advisories.

The new advisories supersede all previous travel warnings and alerts.

Officials said when an overall advisory is issued, different levels could apply to specific countries.

"For instance, we may advise U.S. citizens to 'Exercise Increased Caution' (Level 2) in a country, but to 'Reconsider Travel' (Level 3) to a particular area within the country," the statement said.

Also provided with the new alerts are clear reasons for the advisories -- with "C" for crime, meaning widespread violent or organized crime is present, "T" for terrorism, meaning terrorist attacks have occurred; and "U" denoting civil unrest, meaning political, economic, religious, and/or ethnic instability exists.

Other risk indicators include "H" for health risks, "N" for natural disaster, "E" for a short-term event such as an election or sporting event, and "O" for other potential risks not covered by previous indicators.

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