Travel alerts issued for Egypt

Last Updated: Saturday, January 29, 2011 - 14:42

Zeenews Bureau

Washington: In the wake of deadly street demonstrations against Egyptian government, a number of countries have warned their citizens against travelling to the Middle Eastern country.

Egypt plunged into chaos earlier this week when tens of thousands of people took to the streets in Cairo and other major cities to demand the resignation of President Hosni Mubarak.

Taking into account the volatile situation in Egypt, countries such as the US, Japan, Russia, Singapore, Australia, issued a travel alert.

The United States

US citizens should postpone non-essential travel to Egypt and Americans who are in the country should stay inside amid violent street demonstrations, the State Department said on Friday.

In a travel alert, the department urged citizens in Egypt to exercise caution and to defer movement until the situation stabilizes. Noting that Egyptian security forces may block off the area around the US embassy, the State Department said citizens should not attempt to go to the embassy.

Australia

Australia has upgraded its security warning for Egypt, urging travellers to think twice before visiting the country.

Australia was amending its travel advisory for Egypt because of the "difficult security situation" that has resulted in ongoing large scale protests, including tanks in the streets, Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd said on Saturday.

"That is because of our concerns about the security situation, not just in Cairo but in other cities," Rudd told Sky News Australia.

The travel advisory upgrade lifts the warning for Egypt to the second highest of "reconsider your need to travel", the same warning as is current for Tunisia and Lebanon. Australia`s highest warning is "do not travel".

"We advise you to reconsider your need to travel to Egypt because of ongoing civil unrest and the high threat of terrorist attack," the Department for Foreign Affairs and Trade advisory states.

"If you are currently in Egypt, and concerned about the security situation, you should consider leaving if it is safe to do so."

Australia also warned that it continued to receive reports that terrorists were planning attacks against a range of targets, including places frequented by foreigners in Egypt.

"Tourist areas throughout Egypt, especially the Red Sea and Sinai resorts, are potential terrorist targets," it said. "Past terrorist attacks have targeted foreign tourists and places of worship."

Japan

Japan has also upgraded its security warning for Egypt, advising travellers to postpone journeys to the country where thousands of protesters have clashed with troops.

"The Japanese government advises those planning to travel or stay in any part of Egypt to postpone the plan for whatever the purpose is," said the security information released by the Foreign Ministry on Saturday.

The government also urged Japanese nationals already in Egypt to leave the country if they can do so, or to stay away from demonstrations and rallies, and "never try to take photos of protesters or police officers".

The ministry advised them "to avoid going out alone and to stay away from local government offices, religious institutions or places where many people are gathering," it said.

The ministry also set up an emergency taskforce, headed by Foreign Minister Seiji Maehara, ordering diplomatic missions in Middle East and Africa to ensure the safety of Japanese citizens in the region.

Maehara expressed his "deep concerns" about the situation in Egypt, calling for both the Egyptian government and citizens to avoid violence, a government statement said.

Russia

Russia told its citizens on Friday not to travel to Egypt on holiday and urged those already there to stay indoors to avoid anti-government protests in the Arab country.

The Russian Foreign Ministry said in a statement that it was "seriously concerned" about the unrest in Egypt, a favourite Russian tourist destination, adding that it was "counting" on Egyptian authorities to guarantee the safety of thousands of its citizens now in the country.

Singapore

Singapore`s Foreign Affairs Ministry has advised the citizens to postpone all non-essential travel to Egypt.

It has advised all Singaporeans in Egypt to immediately register themselves through the MFA`s website.

(With Agencies’ inputs)



First Published: Saturday, January 29, 2011 - 14:42

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