Business Travel Advisory
Novel Coronavirus Outbreak
Limited human-to-human transmission, as well as imported cases of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19, formerly referred to as the 2019-novel coronavirus disease) have been confirmed. This new coronavirus, which is causing an outbreak in China, can cause symptoms of fever, cough, and shortness of breath. Severe disease is possible. 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.
Some authorities have advised their citizens to defer travel to Japan, Malaysia, South Korea, Thailand, and Vietnam. 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. United States Cases of the novel strain of coronavirus, currently causing an outbreak of Arizona, California, Illinois, Washington, and Wisconsin. 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.
On Sunday, February 16, travelers in Daytona Beach, FL should anticipate a heightened security presence around NASCAR’s Daytona 500. US President Donald Trump is expected to attend the event at Daytona International Speedway. The increased security measures would include the deployment of officers from other law enforcement agencies, including federal agencies. Passengers transiting Daytona Beach International Airport (DAB) should allow for additional time to complete journeys.
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.
Travelers in urban centers should continue to anticipate and avoid further protests against the construction of a natural gas pipeline through British Columbia. On February 9, demonstrators blocked major roads in Vancouver and Victoria. Activists continue to block rail tracks, forcing the cancellation of passenger train services nationwide until further notice. Travelers should reconfirm the status of routes before setting out and allow additional time for journeys.
The National Liberation Army (ELN) guerrilla group plans to hold a nationwide 72-hour “armed strike” beginning at 6:00 AM local time today. The group has announced movement restrictions, threatening attacks on any vehicles, excluding ambulances and funeral processions, who defy the measure during this period. The government has said that security forces have been placed on alert to counter any related ELN activities. Travelers in Colombia should monitor related developments closely, expect heightened security, and follow all directives issued by authorities.
Travelers in Mexico City, as well as Morelos, Puebla and Tlaxcala, should plan journeys accounting for possible disruption due to increased activity at the Popocatepetl Volcano, located 56 miles southeast of Mexico City. According to the National Center for Disaster Prevention (CENAPRED), the volcano emitted ash plumes reaching 20,000 feet above sea level shortly before 6:00 PM local time yesterday. While no evacuation orders have been issued, a “Yellow Phase 2” alert is in force (yellow is the middle stage of a three-color scale, meaning prepare for a possible evacuation due to increased volcanic activity), while a seven-mile exclusion zone is in place around the volcano.
Today and tomorrow, travelers in urban centers should anticipate disruption around demonstrations over the recent murder of Ingrid Escamilla, a 25-year-old local woman, by her partner. The victim was stabbed to death, and her body was then severely mutilated. Demonstrators are also denouncing the publication of photographs of Escamilla’s mutilated body by a local newspaper. In Mexico City, rallies will begin at 6:00 AM local time today at the National Palace and continue throughout the day.
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 Goma should anticipate and avoid further protests against the ongoing annual Amani Festival. Local residents and civil society groups are demanding the relocation of the event to Beni. Beni is currently experiencing an upsurge in rebel attacks, and demonstrators say it would be more fitting to hold the peacepromoting festival there. Today, a related protest in Goma’s Majengo district was forcibly dispersed with tear gas.
Today, travelers in Amman should anticipate local disruption during a planned protest against the US-led Middle East peace plan. The demonstration will begin at 12:30 PM local time outside the Grand Husseini Mosque. Participants will also demand the abolition of the country’s 2016 gas provision deal with Israel.
Today, travelers in Beirut should expect heightened security and traffic disruption during potential gatherings to commemorate the 15th anniversary of the assassination of former Prime Minister Rafik Hariri. Omar Daouk will be closed at 12:00 PM local time, and traffic will be directed to neighboring roads. Commemorative gatherings are likely around the city. Travelers should avoid associated gatherings due to the risk of unrest amid the current anti-government sentiment.
Travelers should anticipate disruption following the death of Marcelino dos Santos, one of the founders of the Mozambique Liberation Front party. The Council of Ministers declared a seven-day National Mourning Period until the funeral, which will take place on Wednesday, February 19 at Independence Square in Maputo. A vigil will be held at City Hall on Tuesday, February 18. Given dos Santos’s significant status, the funeral is expected to be well-attended by political leaders, government officials, and the general public.
On February 12, at least seven people were killed, and five others injured during an attack by unidentified gunmen on a market in Maro. The violence highlights the need to avoid travel to Kaduna.
All travel to Borno should be deferred due to recent fatal attacks by Islamist militants. On February 10, at least two soldiers were killed, and one injured in an assault by militants against two military posts in Tungushe and Gajiganna. On the same day, three soldiers were killed in a similar attack in Rann. The Islamic State in West Africa Province (ISWAP) militant group claimed responsibility for these incidents.
Travelers in Abuja and other urban centers should continue to anticipate and avoid protests linked to the ongoing trial of human rights activist Omoyele Sowore. The next hearings are scheduled for March 11-13 at the Federal High Court, and related demonstrations are likely in the vicinity. 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.
Today, travelers in Abia should exercise caution and avoid gatherings related to the funeral of the parents of Biafran leader Nnamdi Kanu. The processions are set to take place at the family’s residence in Umuahia’s Afaraukwu neighborhood. Additional security force personnel have reportedly been deployed to enforce the State Authority’s ban on activities by the separatist Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), which Kanu leads.
Today and tomorrow, travelers should plan journeys accounting for disruption caused by heavy rain in Dar es Salaam, as well as in the Iringa, Kigoma, Mbeya, Morogoro, Njombe, Pwani, Rukwa, Ruvuma, Songwe, Tabora, Tanga, and Zanzibar regions. Ongoing heavy rain will exacerbate the impact of similar weather in recent days, disrupting road travel, transportation, and business operations. At least 40 people have been killed, and thousands of others displaced by recent flooding. Travelers should maintain flexible itineraries and reconfirm the status of routes before setting out.
ASIA & THE PACIFIC
Countries are continuing to implement additional travel restrictions and health screening measures at transportation hubs, including airports, seaports and border crossings, to contain the spread of a COVID-19 (formerly “2019-nCoV’ disease) outbreak. While stringent restrictions apply primarily to passengers arriving from mainland China, many countries are expanding these measures to include more travelers. Travelers should maintain flexible itineraries and be prepared for short-notice changes to entry restrictions. Travelers coming from countries with confirmed cases of COVID-19 or who have been to or transited through mainland China within 14 days of arrival to their destination or place of transit should reconfirm the feasibility of travel.
All travel to Hubei Province and Wenzhou, China should be deferred due to stringent official travel restrictions in response to the COVID-19 (formerly referred to as the 2019-novel coronavirus or “2019-nCoV” disease) outbreak. These include restrictions on departure in many areas, and the risk of quarantine at a travelers next destination. Travel to other areas of China should also be deferred as advised by travelers’ local national authorities. Even in the absence of government advisories, serious consideration should be given to deferring travel to the rest of mainland China, excluding Hong Kong, Macao, and Taiwan.
Travelers should continue to plan journeys accounting for restrictions between Hong Kong and mainland China that are designed to stem the spread of the Novel Coronavirus outbreak. The Hong Kong government has closed most routes between the city and mainland, and all travelers entering Hong Kong from the mainland are being quarantined for 14 days. While Hong Kong International Airport (HKG), the Shenzhen Bay Checkpoint and the Hong Kong-Zhuhai-Macao Bridge remain open, flights between Hong Kong and the mainland have also been reduced. Several countries have extended travel advisories and other measures to Hong Kong and Macao.
Travelers in coastal areas of Queensland and New South Wales should continue to anticipate heavy rain, strong winds, and large swells during the passage of ex-Tropical Cyclone Uesi. The weather system, currently a tropical low, is forecast to move south over the Tasman Sea in the coming days. While Uesi is not anticipated to make landfall on the mainland, it is expected to exacerbate the impact of the ongoing wet season, which is expected to last through April.
Tomorrow, travelers in Dhaka and other urban centers should anticipate disruption and avoid planned nationwide demonstrations by the opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP). The event is being held to demand the release of jailed BNP leader Khaleda Zia. In Dhaka, a march will take place at 2:00 PM local time from the BNP headquarters in the Naya Paltan area to the National Press Club. While recent rallies by the BNP have passed off peacefully, there remains potential for political gatherings to turn unruly, posing incidental risks to bystanders.
Today and tomorrow, passengers transiting Shanghai’s international airports should reconfirm flight schedules due to the risk of disruption caused by dense smog. Thick smog has resulted in flight delays and cancellations at Shanghai Pudong International Airport (PVG) and Shanghai Hongqiao International Airport (SHA) today. The China Meteorological Administration (CMA) has issued an Orange Alert (the second highest in the four-tier color-coded warning system) for Shanghai, warning of dense fog and poor visibility, which is likely to persist in the coming days.
Today, travelers in Islamabad should continue to anticipate heightened security measures and related disruption during the final day of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s visit. The Turkish leader’s visit to the Faisal Mosque will attract a large crowd in its vicinity. Traffic congestion can be anticipated until 2:30 PM local time on nearby Shah Faisal Avenue and Margalla Road. Around 2,000 police officers have been deployed to Islamabad for the visit. Associated traffic and access restrictions will remain in place until Erdogan’s departure, and travelers should reconfirm the status of routes.
Normal movement can resume in the vicinity of Soi Chula 10 in Bangkok’s Pathum Wan district following the arrest of a gunman in the area. The suspect reportedly fired multiple gunshots in Soi Chula 10 earlier in the day; however, no casualties were reported. Initial reports suggest that the suspect had been involved in a domestic dispute prior to the incident. Travelers should anticipate residual congestion in the vicinity of Soi Chula 10 as police conclude their investigation.
Passengers of AtlasGlobal should make alternative arrangements after the airline indefinitely suspended operations. In November-December 2019, flights were temporarily canceled due to alleged financial difficulties stemming from the move to the new Istanbul Airport (IST). The airline has announced that they will fully refund the tickets of affected passengers.
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.
Passengers of Air France Hop should reconfirm flights due to potential industrial action by pilots. Strikes are planned between 6:00 AM and 6:00 PM local time on Fridays beginning today and lasting through April 24. An additional strike is planned for April 30. The action is being organized to demand pay and working conditions on a par with Air France pilots.
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, travelers in Brussels should plan journeys bypassing a climate rally to minimize inconvenience. At 2:00 PM local time, students will gather at Place du Luxembourg, outside the European Parliament building. The event should pass off peacefully.
Today through Sunday, February 16, travelers should expect enhanced security measures, demonstrations, and associated disruption during the annual Munich Security Conference. Dozens of heads of state and high-profile visitors are expected to attend, and the area around the main event venue, the Bayerischer Hof Hotel, will be cordoned-off. Protests against the conference have been announced for today and tomorrow, and are expected to be peaceful, but cause significant transportation disruption. Travelers should plan journeys avoiding the surrounding area throughout the conference.
Air Italy has announced that it will cease operations on February 25. The airline’s schedule will be operated by other carriers through February 25. Passengers with flights booked after February 25 will be refunded by the airline.
Today, travelers in Genoa should bypass a planned protest at 3:00 PM local time in Piazza De Ferrari. The event, to condemn perceived fears and prejudices directed towards Asian communities amid the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak, is expected to pass off peacefully; however, it is likely to cause local disruption.
Tomorrow and Sunday, February 16, travelers in the Ukraine are reminded to plan journeys avoiding gatherings by supporters of the far-right National Corps party. In Kiev, participants will gather at Cossack House at 5:00 PM local time tomorrow, while demonstrators in Odessa will gather at 6:00 PM local time at the monument in Taras Shevchenko Park. A similar rally on Sunday, February 16 will take place in Zaporizhia at 7:30 PM local time at the monument in Dytyachyy Maydanchyk Park. The events are being held to commemorate fighters killed during a February 2015 offensive in Donetsk against Russian-backed separatists.