The U.S. State Department has launched its new travel advisory system that will provide U.S. citizens with clear, timely, and reliable safety and security information worldwide.
Although the rankings for safety have been announced according to nation, the State Department specified that in some cases the levels of safety may differ in different areas of a nation.
Level 4 is for do-not-travel countries, those with a "greater likelihood of life-threatening risks" in which the USA government may be limited in its ability to help.
Chihuahua, where dozens were killed over a two-day span last week, was given a level 3 category, which means "reconsider travel".
"During an emergency, the U.S. government may be limited in their ability to provide assistance", the Department of State wrote, adding that it advises USA citizens not to travel to such countries or to leave as soon as it is safe to do so.
The State Department had earlier asked the U.S. citizens to not travel to all or part of those states, but this time the warnings are stricter as they have been placed on a level 4 - the same category given to war-torn Somalia, Afghanistan and Syria due to greater likelihood of life-threatening risks. Americans were advised not to travel to Tamaulipas, Sinaloa, Colima, Michoacan, and Guerrero.
In addition, the new system will explain why the advisory was made, with one-letter logos: C for crime, T for terrorism, U for civil unrest, H for health risks, N for natural disasters, E for special events like an election and O for some other reason.
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In place of the previous system of alerts and advisories, the new ratings establish advisory levels (reminiscent of the now-defunct Homeland Security Advisory System) which correspond to escalating levels of insecurity.
The U.S. State Department is warning tourists to "completely avoid" five states in Mexico because of rampant criminal and gang activity.
"Reconsider travel to Pakistan due to terrorism". The Department of State provides additional advice for travelers in these areas in the Travel Advisory.
This is an improvement for Quintana Roo, as the State Department last summer issued a travel warning for the state due to "turf battles between criminal groups that have resulted in violent crime in areas frequented by US citizens". These include France and Belgium, where an ISIS cell conducted deadly attacks in 2015 and 2016, as well as Germany, where a truck plowed into a group of people at a Christmas market in December 2016.
Cuba, for instance, is listed as a level 3 country. "These are simply based on our assessment of the security situation", senior consular official Michelle Bernier-Toth said.
The United States itself is not rated in the new system. These Alerts will replace the current Emergency Messages and Security Messages.