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June 24, 2017

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MOFA issues Chinese New Year travel alert for parts of Asia, Africa

TAIPEI, Taiwan -- The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) yesterday reiterated its warning against Taiwanese travelers visiting certain countries in Asia and Africa ahead of peak travel time during the upcoming Chinese New Year holiday that will begin later this month.

MOFA continues to issue the highest level red travel alert for Egypt and Libya in Africa and Syria and Afghanistan in West Asia, officials said at a news briefing yesterday in Taipei.

Due to the unstable political situations in these countries, MOFA urged Taiwanese travelers to refrain from visiting these areas for the time being due to safety concerns.

Under MOFA's four-color coded travel advisory system, the red alert is the highest level of warning, followed by orange, yellow and gray.

Lee Rem-loong (李仁隆), deputy head of MOFA's Department of West Asian and African Affairs, said at the news briefing that most Taiwanese tour groups have avoided visiting these abovementioned areas after MOFA raised the travel warning level.

However, many young backpackers still visit these places, Lee said. He called on travelers to stay on high alert when visiting these potentially dangerous countries.

For instance, a Taiwanese traveler was badly injured at a hotel in Afghanistan late last year after he accidentally cut himself with glass in the hotel room, the official said.

He later called for help via his friend in Taiwan to MOFA's headquarters in Taipei.

The ministry later sent personnel to offer assistance to the man during his hospitalization. He has now recovered from the injury and was discharged from the hospital in Afghanistan, Lee said.

In case of emergency, MOFA said Taiwanese nationals can call a 24/7 hotline 0800-085-095 during their overseas tours.

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