Portugal among the safest countries in the world – Spain downgraded due to terror attack risk
US travellers heading to Europe are advised by Washington that Portugal is Level 1, one of the safest countries in the world, whereas Spain is one grade higher due to a risk of terrorist attacks.
“Terrorist groups continue to organise possible attacks in Spain. They can attack with little or no warning, and their targets are sights, markets, shopping centres, government buildings, hotels, clubs, restaurants, places of worship, parks, sports venues, schools, airports and other public places,” according to the US government.
The same worrying alert is repeated for France, Italy, Germany, Belgium and the United Kingdom – all are Level 2 due to the risk of terrorist attacks.
The US Department of State has reshaped its safety recommendation system for travellers and in a new ranking just published it assigns a rating to all countries, grouped into four levels of threat.
Portugal appears on the list as a safe destination, classified as Level 1 (the safest on a scale of 1 to 4), where only ‘normal precautions’ are advised.
For the dyscalculic, these levels are colour coordinated – Blue (Level 1), Yellow (Level 2), Orange (Level 3) and Red (Level 4).
In some cases, countries where there is local armed conflict are not classed as high-risk (Red, Level 4), unless travellers wander off into conflict zones.
In Armenia, for example, a country that like Portugal is considered Blue Level 1, US citizens are warned not to travel in the Nagorno-Karabakh region where there is spot of local difficulty with heavily armed Azerbaijan forces.
Nestled with Portugal in the ‘safe’ category are Angola, Cape Verde, Mozambique, Australia, Austria, Bulgaria, Canada, Japan, Cambodia, Macau, South Korea and Vietnam.
Brazil and Mexico are “areas of high security risk” due to crime levels, despite what their governments would have us believe.
China fails to get the ‘safe’ ranking due to the ‘arbitrariness of national justice’ according to the US Government.
Level 3, which includes a suggestion to ‘reconsider’ a planned trip, has been assigned to countries such as Guinea Bissau, Venezuela, Honduras, Turkey, Guatemala, Haiti, El Salvador, Cuba and Russia.
The ‘no-go’ advice at Level 4 includes entering the madcap regime of North Korea, and trips to Afghanistan, the Central African Republic, Iran, Iraq, Libya, Mali, Somalia, South Sudan, Syria and the Republic of Yemen.
The US can not prevent its citizens from visiting any of these high risk countries, apart from North Korea which was banned to US passport holders last September due to heightened tensions over North Korean missile launches.
The US ban was announced after American student Otto Warmbier died after being released from prison in North Korea. The State Department said the travel ban was necessary “due to the serious and mounting risk” of detention.
There is a complete list of countries and the US Department of State’s view on threat levels: click HERE
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