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US travel advisory ‘won’t affect humanitarian efforts’

Author: Rosemary Wilfred | Published: Thursday, August 13, 2020

Humanitarian aid workers inspecting food supply donated by USAID in South Sudan | File photo

A consular at the US Embassy in Juba says the recent travel advisory restricting US citizens from coming into South Sudan shall not affect humanitarian efforts in the country.

“This is not a new recommendation and we expect it not to affect humanitarian efforts in South Sudan,” Kenneth Gardener told Eye Radio on Thursday.

The United States is one of the leading humanitarian donors in South Sudan.

On Monday, the country’s Department of State issued a “Do Not Travel” alerts for South Sudan and Somalia.

It placed the two countries in Level 4, the highest level of travel advisories.

The Trump administration warned that travelers to South Sudan may be exposed to crime, kidnapping, and armed conflict.

It added that those wishing to visit may experience border closures, airport closures, travel prohibitions, stay at home orders, business closures, and other emergency conditions within South Sudan due to coronavirus.

He said the travel advisory is in line with the recent global health advisory issued by the US State Department because of the coronavirus.

He clarified that such advisories are only meant to highlight the conditions to which the travelers may find themselves in -if they eventually visit.

“We will periodically update this travel advisory in response to changes in the situation in order to give Americans who choose to travel to South Sudan the best information to keep themselves safe,” he added.

The South Sudanese government has relaxed most of the pandemic restrictions, including reopening the airport for domestic and international flights.

It has also lifted the ban on several businesses, including bars and restaurants.

Last Sunday, President Salva Kiir went further to lift the ban on religious gatherings by asking churches to reopen without providing specific guidelines to those reopening.

The US often issues a travel advisory to provide information about the relative safety of travelling to or visiting one or more specific foreign countries or destinations.

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