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Travel Risk Map reveals most dangerous countries to visit in 2020

SA doesn't feature too badly, all things considered.

Plotting out your travel plans for 2020? Before booking your flight, you may want to consult a new interactive map developed by a global risk firm which has identified the most dangerous travel destinations.

In their Travel Risk Map, medical and security experts at International SOS have identified the riskiest countries for travellers in the coming year across categories including medical safety, security and road safety, colour-coding countries by level of risk.

Travel medical risk rating was defined by assessing a range of health risks including infectious disease burden, environmental factors, medical evacuation data, road trauma data, standard of emergency medical services, outpatient and inpatient medical care, access to quality pharmaceutical supplies, and cultural, language or administrative barriers.

The travel security risk rating evaluates the threat posed to travellers by political violence, social unrest as well as violent and petty crime.

“Other factors, such as the robustness of the transport infrastructure, the state of industrial relations, the effectiveness of the security and emergency services and the country’s susceptibility to natural disasters, are also considered where they are of sufficient magnitude to impact the overall risk environment for travellers,” reads the definition on the map.

Libya, Mali, South Sudan, Somalia, Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq and Yemen are among some of the countries that have been categorised under “Extreme Travel Security Risk,” where government control and law and order may be minimal or non-existent across large areas.

“Serious threat of violent attacks by armed groups targeting travellers and international assignees. Government and transport services are barely functional. Large parts of the country are inaccessible to foreigners.”

According to the map, the safest travel destinations where travel security risks are “insignificant” are Norway, Finland, Denmark, Greenland, Slovenia and Switzerland.

Countries that carry “very high travel medical risks” include many of the same countries deemed most dangerous for security, including Libya, Somalia, Yemen, South Sudan, Iraq and Afghanistan.

Other medically unsafe countries include Niger, Burkina Faso, Sierra Leone, Liberia and Venezuela.

South Africa posed a low travel medical risk, according to the map.

“Quality medical care is available throughout the country. Specialist care, emergency and dental services, and quality prescription drugs are widely available. Low risk of infectious diseases.

“Medical assistance commonly required: Medical referral. Assistance with language and cultural differences. Payment. Evacuation rarely required,” reads the assessment.

The travel security risk was medium, with periodic political unrest and violent protests.

“Travellers and international assignees may face risk from communal, sectarian or racial violence and violent crime. Capacity of security and emergency services and infrastructure varies. Industrial action can disrupt travel.”

Predictably, Western and developed countries pose the least medical risk.

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