The United States has advised its citizens to avoid travel to South Africa because of COVID-19 and exercise increased caution due to crime and civil unrest.
The Department of State placed South Africa on the “Level 4: Do Not Travel” list along with Bhutan, Botswana, Republic of the Congo, Malawi, Rwanda, and Sierra Leone.
“Do not travel to South Africa due to COVID-19 and related restrictions and conditions. Exercise increased caution in South Africa due to crime and civil unrest,” the Department of State said.
The Department of State regularly assesses and updates its travel advisories based primarily on the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Travel Health Notices (THNs).
It also looks at factors like commercial flight availability, restrictions on U.S. citizen entry, and impediments to obtaining COVID test results within three calendar days.
The “Level 4: Do Not Travel” warning came after the CDC has issued a Level 4 Travel Health Notice for South Africa due to the very high level of COVID-19 in the country.
The Department of State added that violent crime, such as armed robbery, rape, carjacking, mugging, and “smash-and-grab” attacks on vehicles, is common in South Africa.
“There is a higher risk of violent crime in the central business districts of major cities after dark,” it said.
“Demonstrations, protests, and strikes occur frequently. These can develop quickly without prior notification, often interrupting traffic, transportation, and other services; such events have the potential to turn violent.”
Americans who decide to travel to South Africa are advised to avoid walking alone, especially after dark.
They should also avoid visiting informal settlement areas unless they are with someone familiar with the area.
“Do not display cash or valuables. Drive with doors locked, and windows closed,” The State Department added.