The United States is urging its citizens to reconsider traveling to the Philippines due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The appeal came after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued a level 3 Travel Health Notice for the country.
“Reconsider travel to the Philippines due to COVID-19. Additionally, exercise increased caution in the Philippines due to crime, terrorism, civil unrest, a measles outbreak, and kidnapping. Some areas have increased risk,” the U.S. State Department said on Thursday, August 6.
It warned tourists against traveling to Sulu Archipelago, including the southern Sulu Sea, due to crime, terrorism, civil unrest, and kidnapping, as well as Marawi City in Mindanao due to terrorism and civil unrest.
It also urged the tourist to reconsider traveling to other areas of Mindanao due to crime, terrorism, civil unrest, and kidnapping.
“Terrorist and armed groups continue plotting possible kidnappings, bombings, and other attacks in the Philippines. Terrorist and armed groups may attack with little or no warning, targeting tourist locations, markets/shopping malls, and local government facilities,” the U.S. State Department said.
“The Philippine government has declared a ‘State of National Emergency on Account of Lawless Violence in Mindanao,’” it added.
The CDC also noted that the COVID-19 risk in the Philippines is high.
“CDC recommends travelers avoid all nonessential international travel to the Philippines. Some examples of essential travel may include traveling for humanitarian aid work, medical reasons, or family emergencies. Older adults, people of any age with certain underlying medical conditions, and others at increased risk for severe illness should consider postponing all travel, including essential travel, to the Philippines,” it said.
“If you get sick in the Philippines and need medical care, resources may be limited,” it added.
As of writing, there are 139,538 COVID-19 cases in the country, with 2,312 fatalities, according to the Johns Hopkins Coronavirus Resource Center.