Brunei amongst safest countries in US travel advisory

|     Azlan Othman     |

BRUNEI Darussalam is listed at the lowest advisory level for safety and security risks in the United States’ new four-point safety ranking system.

Among the other countries in Level One: ‘Exercise Normal Precautions’ are Australia, Singapore, Malaysia, Sweden and Switzerland.

Level 1 is the lowest advisory level.

The United States unveiled the new system last Wednesday, along with an interactive world map to warn its citizens about the dangers of foreign travel. In Asean, Brunei Darussalam is among eight countries categorised in Level 1 of the travel warning.

Officials have said the system is to make travel advice clearer to US travellers. “These are not political documents. These are simply based on our assessment of the security situation,” AFP quoted senior consular official Michelle Bernier-Toth as saying.

The four-point safety ranking system highlights the various advisory levels as following:

Level 1 – Exercise Normal Precautions: This is the lowest advisory level for safety and security risks. There is some risk in any international travel. Conditions in other countries may differ from those in the United States and may change at any time.

Level 2 – Exercise Increased Caution: Be aware of heightened risks to safety and security. The Department of State provides additional advice for travellers in these areas in the Travel Advisory. Conditions in any country may change at any time.

Level 3 – Reconsider Travel: Avoid travel due to serious risks to safety and security. The Department of State provides additional advice for travellers in these areas in the Travel Advisory. Conditions in any country may change at any time.

Level 4 – Do Not Travel: This is the highest advisory level due to greater likelihood of life-threatening risks. During an emergency, the US Government may have very limited ability to provide assistance. The Department of State advises that US citizens not travel to the country or leave as soon as it is safe to do so. The Department of State provides additional advice for travellers in these areas in the Travel Advisory. Conditions in any country may change at any time.

However, each warning is accompanied by a country page on the travel.state.gov website, explaining what specific threats have been identified and why the advice has been given. The US Embassy in Brunei Darussalam website has highlighted its citizens to exercise normal precautions.

Ten war zones and countries are ranked at Level 4 and they include Afghanistan, Central African Republic, Iran, Iraq, Libya, Mali, Somalia, South Sudan, Syria and Yemen. North Korea is also at Level 4, with an additional restriction that US law prohibits American travellers from using their passports there. Britain, France and Germany are listed at Level 2 and Cuba is ranked at Level 3.