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New travel advisories issued for Italy, France, Belize and other countries

The U.S. State Department issues new travel advisories amid unsafe conditions for travelers

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Firefighters extinguish a fire around a car.

Firefighters extinguish a car in Cenon, near Bordeaux, France, on Wednesday night, Nov. 9, 2005. Amid a new wave of civil unrest, scenes like this pose a warning to travelers.

Bob Edme, Associated Press

On Tuesday and Wednesday, the State Department issued new travel advisories for over 80 countries.

Among them, eight were designated as the highest level advisory, “Level 4: Do not travel.” These include Russia, Ukraine, Belarus and Haiti.

Fifteen countries were labeled as “Level 3: Reconsider Travel,” including Ethiopia, Guatemala, El Salvador and Nigeria.

The State Department’s updates were comprised of mostly Level 1 and 2 advisories, advising travelers to either exercise normal precautions or increased precautions.

Why Italy?

In the travel advisory update, Italy was classified as a Level 2 country, meaning travelers should exercise increased caution there.

The new designation comes as the country is seeing increased threats of terrorist activity. Allegedly, terrorist organizations could be plotting attacks and may give little or no warning.

The department urges visitors to be wary in city centers, public transit hubs, airports, tourist locations and other public locations.

Why France?

The State Department issued a Level 2 warning for France as well, citing terrorist activity and civil unrest. The warning adds that dangerous activity could occur in public transit hubs, religious centers, markets, shopping malls, cultural events, airports, schools, clubs, restaurants and other public locations.

In the midst of Mahsa Amini’s murder by the Iranian government, Paris has seen increased civil unrest and protests, which are forecast to continue in the coming weeks, according to USA Today. In direct contrast to Iran’s hijab requirement, France has a hijab ban.

This ban has incited protests among French citizens and contributes to the passion they feel in protesting Amini’s murder. The protests can become dangerous, however, and sometimes include property damage, looting and arson.

According to the State Department, police have responded with water canons, rubber bullets and tear gas, which can pose a danger to tourists. The U.S. embassy discourages official U.S. government travelers from traveling to Paris and major French cities on weekends.

Why Belize?

Like Italy and France, Belize was issued a Level 2 travel warning. The country’s advisory comes as a result of increased crime, especially violent crime.

The State Department warns that violent crime — including murder, sexual assault, home invasions and armed robberies — are prevalent even in tourist areas and during the day.

It’s important to be cautious in traveling in the area, but especially in Belize City, as much of the crime reported is related to gang activity.

Belize suffers from a lack of law enforcement resources and as such, crime often goes unsolved and usually doesn’t make it to prosecution, according to the State Department. Because of this, tourists are advised to exercise extra caution.

How to stay updated

If you’re planning a trip, be sure to check the State Department’s website for updates regarding travel advisories and details as to why your destination may or may not be safe for you.