US eases travel warning for Bangladesh, now allows spouses in Dhaka embassy

US eases travel warning for Bangladesh, now allows spouses in Dhaka embassy

In diplomatic terms, the status is called “partially accompanied” and it went into effect on Aug 24.

Previously, only family members ’employed’ by the US government were permitted to remain or return to Dhaka.

“Minor dependents are still prohibited from residing in Dhaka,” the Department of State posted on its website saying that “this travel warning replaces the travel warning dated January 5 this year”.

It, however, warns US citizens of continued threats from terrorist groups in Bangladesh and asks them to consider the risks of travel to and throughout the country. 

The travel warning came following the terrorist attack on a cafe that left 17 foreigners and five others dead in the diplomatic zone in Dhaka on July 1.

Western countries have issued travel alerts following that unprecedented attack.

The US authorities first issue travel alert and then travel warning superseding the travel alert.

There is a difference between travel warning and alert.

According to the State Department, the US government issues a ‘travel warning’ when it wants its citizens to consider ‘very carefully’ whether they should go to a country at all.

Examples of reasons for issuing a travel warning might include unstable government, civil war, ongoing intense crime or violence, or frequent terrorist attacks.

The ‘travel alert’ is for short-term events that the US authorities think its citizens should know about when planning travel to a country.

The reasons for issuing a travel alert might include an election season that is bound to have many strikes, demonstrations, or disturbances; a health alert like an outbreak of H1N1 virus; or evidence of an elevated risk of terrorist attacks.

However, local businessmen say Bangladesh is peaceful and those alerts or warnings hurt its businesses and image abroad.

In the updated travel warning, the US authorities still maintained that their officials and their adult family members are not permitted to travel on foot, motorcycle, bicycle, rickshaw, or other uncovered means on public thoroughfares and sidewalks in Bangladesh.

In addition, US government officials and their family members “remain severely restricted in their ability to visit public establishments and places or to attend large gatherings in Bangladesh”.

“US citizens should take stringent security measures, remain vigilant, and be alert to local security developments,” reads the warning.

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