Business Travel Advisory
Novel Coronavirus Outbreak
Imported cases of the 2019 novel coronavirus have been confirmed in several countries. All of them have a history of recent travel from China, mainly from Wuhan. This new coronavirus, which is causing an outbreak in China, can cause symptoms of fever, cough, and shortness of breath. Severe disease is possible. Although transmission from human to human has occurred, there is no suggestion at this stage of any further spread in these locations. Travelers to affected locations are advised to pay attention to general hygiene and avoid direct contact with people who are obviously sick. Anyone with symptoms of pneumonia, which include high fever and shortness of breath, should seek medical attention.
Authorities in multiple countries have introduced travel restrictions, along with health screening measures at various airports, after an increase in reported 2019-Novel Coronavirus cases. The measures apply primarily to travelers arriving via air either directly or indirectly from China. Some airlines have temporarily suspended flights to and from mainland China. Travelers should anticipate related disruption at airports and reconfirm their itineraries, as well as the overall feasibility of their journeys, given the increased restrictions affecting certain countries.
Authorities in several countries have introduced travel restrictions following an increase in reported 2019-Novel Coronavirus cases to curtail the spread of the virus. Health screening measures have also been implemented at various ports of entry across the region. Such measures apply particularly to passengers arriving from or transiting through China, especially those intending to travel from Hubei Province. Several airlines have suspended or reduced flights to and from China. Travelers should maintain flexible itineraries accounting for disruption at airports. Those travelers arriving from or having transited through China should anticipate more stringent scrutiny and ascertain the overall feasibility of travel to countries with entry restrictions prior to departure.
Cases of the novel strain of coronavirus, currently causing an outbreak of pneumonia in mainland China, have been confirmed in the United States. Isolated cases have been detected in Arizona, California, Illinois, and Washington. Nearly all individuals had visited China recently. Limited local human-to-human transmission has occurred. Travelers in affected locations are advised to pay attention to general hygiene and avoid direct contact with people who are obviously sick. Anyone with symptoms of pneumonia, which include high fever and shortness of breath, should seek medical attention.
Travelers arriving from or transiting through China should expect heightened screening measures and related disruption following an increase in reported 2019-Novel Coronavirus cases. All flights from China are being re-routed through ten airports (JFK, ORD, SFO, SEA, HNL, LAX, ATL, IAD, EWR, DFW & DTW), while additional entry restrictions for travelers from China will also be implemented.
The US Department of State has issued a Level 4 (Do Not Travel) warning for mainland China. The State Department advises US citizens not to travel to China due to the novel coronavirus first identified in Wuhan, China. The World Health Organization has determined the rapidly spreading outbreak constitutes a Public Health Emergency of International Concern. Travelers should be prepared for travel restrictions to be put into effect with little or no advance notice. US citizens currently in China should consider departing using commercial means. The Department of State has requested that all non-essential US. government personnel defer travel to China in light of the novel coronavirus. To help contain the novel coronavirus, Chinese authorities have suspended air, road, and rail travel in the area around Wuhan and placed restrictions on travel and other activities throughout the country. On January 23, 2020, the Department of State ordered the departure of all non-emergency US. personnel and their family members from Wuhan. The US government has limited ability to provide emergency services to US citizens in Hubei Province.
The Department of Homeland Security announced that travelers who are residents of New York state will no longer be able to enroll in Global Entry and other Trusted Traveler Programs due to aspects of the state’s “Green Light Law” which protect undocumented immigrants. Existing members of Global Entry and other Trusted Traveler Programs will still be able use these services. Only new enrollments or re-enrollments will be curtailed for New York residents. Other programs that will no longer accept applications from New York residents include the Secure Electronic Network for Travelers Rapid Inspection (SENTRI); NEXUS, which allows for expedited border crossing between the US and Canada; and the Free And Secure Trade (FAST) program, which allows faster clearance for commercial shipments between the US border, Canada, and Mexico. The TSA PreCheck program is not part of this new restriction.
Today and tomorrow, travelers in Buenos Aires should plan journeys bypassing protests linked to the arrival of International Monetary Fund (IMF) representatives due to the risk of disruption. The government is scheduled to hold talks with the IMF, the country’s biggest creditor, over the postponement of debt payments and to seek approval of a government plan to restructure billions of dollars owed to bondholders. Left-wing activist groups and trade unions have planned protests and rallies against the IMF. While the gatherings are most likely to pass off peacefully, they will be well-attended and cause traffic disruption.
Today, travelers in Buenos Aires should plan journeys accounting for disruption to public bus services during a partial strike by transportation union workers. Participants of the Transviarios Automotor Union (UTA) opposed to its current leadership will participate in the industrial action, affecting a large number of bus routes in metropolitan Buenos Aires. Participants of a related protest will also gather at 11:00 AM local time outside the Labor Ministry building. The protest is likely to be well-attended and cause local traffic disruption.
Cases of the novel coronavirus, currently causing an outbreak in mainland China have been confirmed. All individuals had a recent travel history to Wuhan. Travelers to affected locations are advised to pay attention to general hygiene and avoid direct contact with people who are obviously sick. Anyone with symptoms of pneumonia, which include high fever and shortness of breath, who is or has been in an affected location should seek medical attention.
Travelers should expect additional screening measures at airports following an increase in reported 2019-Novel Coronavirus (2019-nCoV) cases in China. The Canadian Border Services Agency has announced that passengers arriving from international flights at Montreal-Trudeau (YUL), Toronto Pearson (YYZ), and Vancouver (YVR) international airports will be asked a screening question as part of the regular arrival process. Passengers identified to be at an increased risk may be required to undergo further screening. Travelers should anticipate related disruption and follow all official directives.
The government declared a State of Emergency through March 9 for roadways between Coporaque and Capacmarca. The measure was announced following several days of protests and roadblocks by local residents disrupting mining activity, primarily along the Apurimac-Cusco-Arequipa Motorway. Police cleared roadblocks along the motorway on February 9; the operation reportedly concluded peacefully. Local activists are demanding the reclassification of the motorway and have announced further protests and roadblocks. Travelers should follow official directives and reconfirm the status of routes prior to setting out.
AFRICA & THE MIDDLE EAST
Authorities in Bahrain, Egypt, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates (UAE), Morocco, Algeria, and Tunisia have introduced health screening measures at several airports after an increase in reported 2019-Novel Coronavirus (‘2019-nCoV’) cases. The measures apply primarily to travelers arriving via air either directly or indirectly from China. Travelers should anticipate disruption if on direct or indirect flights from China to airports in any of the aforementioned countries. Other countries and airports in the region may also introduce pre-emptive checks.
Today through Sunday, February 16, travelers in Algiers should anticipate disruption during planned power cuts, which will affect the suburbs of Bouzareah and Ouled Fayet daily from 9:00 AM to 4:00 PM local time. A lack of street lighting and malfunctioning traffic lights may affect road travel and exacerbate travel difficulties. The power outages have been scheduled by national electricity and gas provider, Sonelgaz, for maintenance work on electrical infrastructure.
Travelers in southern provinces are reminded of the credible risk of militancy following a suicide bombing on February 9 targeting an outpost of the National People’s Army (ANP) at Timiaouine, near the border with Mali. An explosive-laden vehicle tried to enter the site before being deterred and detonating, killing one soldier. Al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb and the Islamic State (IS) has claimed responsibility. The incident highlights the persistent risks posed by militancy, particularly in remote areas.
Travelers in Cameroon should continue to monitor developments and avoid all political gatherings related to the Legislative and Municipal Elections. Polls took place on February 9, and results are expected to be announced by the Constitutional Court on February 29. Elections passed off peacefully in most parts of the country, although episodes of violence were reported in the Northwest, Southwest, and Extreme North regions. Although large-scale demonstrations are unlikely to occur before the announcement of the results, violence is expected in the Northwest and Southwest Anglophone regions as the lockdown in these areas ends tomorrow.
Continued attacks by Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) rebels underline the need to avoid all travel to rural parts of North Kivu and Ituri provinces. On February 7 and 10, at least 19 people were killed in two separate attacks by suspected ADF militants in Makeke and Makusa. On February 1-2, 42 civilians were killed in Mambasa, Ndalya, and Eringeti. Periodic protests have occurred in the region’s urban centers since November 2019, calling on authorities to do more to combat local insecurity. All gatherings should be avoided due to the risk of unrest.
Today, travelers in Tehran and other urban centers should anticipate disruption during nationwide celebrations commemorating the 41st anniversary of the 1979 Islamic Revolution. The day is a national holiday, and celebratory gatherings and rallies are expected to attract tens of thousands of people. No significant security incidents have occurred on previous anniversaries, and while the date has traditionally been associated with anti-Western sentiment, foreigners are unlikely to be targeted for violence.
Today through Friday, February 14, travelers in Baghdad and southern provinces should reconfirm the feasibility of movement amid further planned protests. The US Embassy in Baghdad issued an Alert Warning of large demonstrations and possible road closures. While some protest locations remain unknown, women’s rights protests will take place at 12:00 PM local time on Thursday, February 13 in the Al-Saadoun area of Baghdad, Freedom Square in Najaf, and Dhariba Bridge in Karbala.
Travelers should anticipate disruption during memorial services for former President Daniel arap Moi, as well as related gatherings. A public viewing at the Parliament Buildings in Nairobi is ongoing through today. A national memorial service will take place at Nyayo National Stadium today, which has been declared a public holiday. The body will then be transferred to Kabarak for burial tomorrow. Public screenings of the memorial will take place in Nakuru and other locations.
Today through Thursday, February 13, travelers in Beirut should anticipate disruption and heightened security in the lead-up to a Parliamentary vote of confidence on the newly formed cabinet. A heavy security force presence will be in place around the Parliament building, including in Nijmeh Square and along nearby roads. As part of the ongoing antigovernment movement, protesters are mobilizing at Nijmeh Square today under the theme of “No Trust” in protest of the vote. Participants of the protest will also call for a general strike through Thursday, February 13 to stop the Parliamentary vote by blocking all road access to Parliament. Security forces may forcibly disperse unruly crowds; travelers should take appropriate precautions due to the credible risk of unrest.
Travelers should monitor for further protests after the Constitutional Court recently overturned the May 2019 Presidential Election and called for a new election within 150 days. President Peter Mutharika and the Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) have already appealed the decision, and the High Court will hear the case at 9:00 AM local time today. While the court’s February 3 verdict was celebrated by the Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC), they have called for a fresh protest at MEC offices nationwide on Thursday, February 13 if its members do not resign.
On February 9, three soldiers were killed, and three others were injured when gunmen attacked a military post near Alatona. The attack took place about 6 miles from the military base near Sokolo, which was stormed by more than 100 suspected Islamist militants on January 26. At least 20 soldiers were killed, and five others injured. In both incidents, attackers arrived at the sites on motorcycles and later fled with military equipment. These incidents underline the persistent risk of attacks by criminal and jihadist groups in Mali, especially in central and northern regions.
Recent attacks underline the risks posed by militant activity in the Tillaberi and Diffa regions. On February 6 and 7, members of the Islamist extremist group Boko Haram targeted the villages of Molia and Bosso, respectively, killing at least 11 people. On January 9, 89 soldiers were killed during a militant attack on a military post in Chinagodrar, near the border with Mali. All travel to remote border areas should be avoided.
All travel to Borno should be deferred due to recent fatal attacks underscoring high levels of Islamist militancy. On February 9, at least 30 civilians were killed, and several others abducted during an assault by armed men against the village of Auno. On January 30, two people were killed, and four others injured during a suicide bombing in a camp for internally displaced persons in Muna Galti. The Islamic State in West Africa Province (ISWAP) militant group is believed to have perpetrated the attacks.
Tomorrow, travelers in Abuja and other urban centers should anticipate and avoid protests linked to the trial of human rights activist Omoyele Sowore. Common flashpoints for protests in Abuja include the Federal High Court and the National Human Rights Commission. Disturbances involving police, Sowore’s supporters, and pro-government elements during gatherings would pose incidental risks to bystanders, underlining the need to plan journeys bypassing all such events as a precaution.
Travelers in Northern Cape Province should avoid ongoing protests in Warrenton over poor service delivery. Demonstrators have blocked the N12 Highway connecting Warrenton to Kimberley. Early reports indicate that police have used rubber bullets against protesters.
ASIA & THE PACIFIC
Countries are continuing to implement additional restrictions and health screening measures at airports to contain the spread of the 2019-Novel Coronavirus outbreak. Further restrictions may be imposed at short notice. While stringent restrictions apply to passengers arriving from mainland China, many countries have adopted measures for a wider range of travelers. Travelers should reconfirm itineraries according to the restrictions in place at their destination and transit locations. Travelers holding People’s Republic of China passports coming from mainland China or who have been to or transited through mainland China 14 days prior to arrival at their destination, should reconfirm their itineraries, visa status, and the overall feasibility of travel before departure.
All travelers arriving in Hong Kong from mainland China are required to undergo a two-week quarantine as part of measures to contain the outbreak of 2019 Novel Coronavirus. Most routes to and from mainland China are closed, leaving only Hong Kong International Airport (HKG), the Shenzhen Bay Checkpoint, and the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge open. The Kai Tak and Ocean cruise terminals are also closed.
Today, at least five people, including two civilians, were killed, and 12 injured as a result of a suicide bomb attack near the Marshal Fahim Military Academy in Kabul’s Police District 5. The blast, followed by gunfire, occurred at around 7:00 AM local time next to a police checkpoint. Security forces were subsequently deployed, temporarily blocking access to the area. Another explosives-laden vehicle was discovered on the scene. No group has claimed responsibility for the attack.
Travel to Western Australia can resume with flexible itineraries following the passage of ex-Tropical Cyclone Damien. While no Severe Weather Warning is in place today, Flood Warnings continue in parts of the state’s Gascoyne, Goldfields, and Pilbara regions. A Strong Wind Warning (lowest on a four-tier scale) is in effect for the Leeuwin and Albany coasts through tomorrow. While flight operations have resumed at Port Hedland International (PHE), Karratha (KTA) and Newman (ZNE) airports, passengers these facilities should reconfirm schedules as a precaution.
Yesterday, authorities announced increased restrictions as part of measures to contain the outbreak of 2019 Novel Coronavirus. Travelers of all nationalities who have been to mainland China since January 15, including via border crossings with Bangladesh, Bhutan, Myanmar and Nepal, may be denied entry or quarantined. All existing visas, including e-visas that have already been issued, are no longer valid for travelers holding People’s Republic of China passports; these restrictions are not applicable to holders of Hong Kong, Macao, and Taiwan passports. Those who have traveled to mainland China since January 15 should reconfirm their itineraries, visa status, and the overall feasibility of travel to India prior to departure.
Today, travelers in Jammu and the Kashmir Union Territory should anticipate disruption and avoid related gatherings during a shutdown strike. The separatist political organization, the Jammu and Kashmir Liberation Front (JKLF), has called for a shutdown strike in the Kashmir division to mark the anniversary of the deaths of Maqbool Bhatt and Afzal Guru, who were executed in 2013 on terrorism charges. Disruption to public transportation and commercial activities is possible, and authorities may temporarily suspend mobile internet services in the region.
Authorities in several countries have introduced health screening measures at certain airports and, in some cases, land border crossings with China. This follows an increase in reported 2019-Novel Coronavirus cases. The measures apply primarily to travelers arriving via air or land from China. Some countries have also suspended flight connections with mainland China. Travelers should continue to anticipate flight cancellations and disruption at airports and land crossings with China.
Today and tomorrow, travelers in Austria, Germany, and Norway should anticipate residual disruption and reconfirm transportation arrangements following the passage of Storm Sabine. The meteorological agencies of these three countries have issued weather warnings, including expected wind gusts of up to 55 miles per hour. The storm has caused significant disruption to flights, trains, and road travel.
Travelers in the UK and EU should continue to monitor developments and follow all government guidelines related to the process of the UK leaving the EU, known as “Brexit.” A withdrawal agreement was signed into law on January 23 after being ratified by the UK Parliament. Under the agreement, the UK left the EU at 11:00 PM local time on January 31. There will now be a transition period, during which most laws will remain unchanged. Local gatherings relating to Brexit may take place in the UK, with most such events likely to be focused on Parliament Square in London.
Today, passengers transiting Amsterdam’s Schiphol Airport (AMS) should reconfirm itineraries and expect delays after multiple flights were cancelled due to strong winds in the region.
Travelers in Elista should monitor developments and avoid further protests against politician Vladimir Shtygashev. Yesterday, around 300 people held an unauthorized protest near Seven Days Pagoda to demand disciplinary action against Shtygashev, the Chairman of the Supreme Council of the Republic of Khakasiya. On January 29, Shtygashev made public remarks in defense of the deportation of Kalmyks to Siberia and Central Asia in 1943. This has sparked widespread public backlash, despite Shtygashev apologizing. While yesterday’s demonstration passed off peacefully amid heightened security, any further gatherings could lead to local unrest.
On Saturday, February 15, travelers in Odessa should bypass a gathering planned at the monument in Taras Shevchenko Park by supporters of the far-right National Corps party. Participants will gather at 6:00 PM local time to commemorate fighters killed during an offensive on Shyrokyne village, led by the volunteer Azov Battalion in February 2015 against Russian-backed separatists. The gathering is likely to pass off peacefully, though it may cause local disruption.