WASHINGTON: The US has advised its citizens to avoid travelling to India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Afghanistan and the Maldives due to the sudden surge in COVID-19 cases in the region.
In a series of travel advisories on Thursday, the authorities also urged Americans to reconsider travel to China and Nepal; exercise increased caution while travelling to Sri Lanka and exercise normal travel precaution to Bhutan, which has been given Level 1, the safest level for travelling overseas.
India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Bangladesh and the Maldives have been put in Level 4, which means asking Americans not to travel to these countries.
"Do not travel to India due to COVID-19, crime, and terrorism," the State Department said in its latest travel advisory on India, days after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued a similar warning for India.
The CDC issued a Level 4 Travel Health Notice for India due to COVID-19, indicating a very high level of COVID-19 in the country.
"Do not travel to the Maldives due to COVID-19. Exercise increased caution in the Maldives due to terrorism," the State Department said in its travel advisory for the country.
"Do not travel to Pakistan due to COVID-19. Reconsider travel to Pakistan due to terrorism and sectarian violence. Some areas have increased risk," the State Department said. Terrorist groups continue plotting attacks in Pakistan, it said.
"A local history of terrorism and the ongoing ideological aspirations of violence by extremist elements have led to indiscriminate attacks on civilians as well as local military and police targets," the State Department said.
"Terrorists may attack with little or no warning, targeting transportation hubs, markets, shopping malls, military installations, airports, universities, tourist locations, schools, hospitals, places of worship, and government facilities. Terrorists have targeted US diplomats and diplomatic facilities in the past," it said.
Terrorist attacks continue to happen across Pakistan, with most occurring in Balochistan and KPK (Khyber Pakhtunkhwa), including the former FATA (The Federally Administered Tribal Areas).
Large-scale terrorist attacks have resulted in numerous casualties, the State Department said.
In its advisory on Afghanistan, the State Department asked its citizens not to travel to Afghanistan due to COVID-19, crime, terrorism, civil unrest, kidnapping, and armed conflict.
"Do not travel to Bangladesh due to COVID-19. Exercise increased caution in Bangladesh due to crime, terrorism, and kidnapping," it said.