Business Travel Advisory – 2/25/19

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THE AMERICAS

Venezuela
Travelers in Venezuela should continue to minimize non-essential movement amid the ongoing political crisis in the country. The opposition is calling on President Nicolas Maduro to resign in favor of Juan Guaido, the National Assembly-recognized interim President. On February 23-24, large demonstrations and clashes occurred along the borders with Colombia and Brazil over the delivery of humanitarian aid. All political gatherings entail the risk of unrest; security forces and pro-government militias, known as “colectivos,” regularly use tear gas, rubber bullets, and occasionally live ammunition to disperse anti-government protesters.

AFRICA & THE MIDDLE EAST

Algeria
Travelers in urban centers should avoid further demonstrations by opposition groups against incumbent Abdelaziz Bouteflika’s decision to run for a fifth term in the upcoming Presidential Election. Social media posts of activist groups suggest that protests are planned for tomorrow and March 1; further details are not available. In addition, lawyers have called for a related protest at 10:00 AM local time on Thursday, February 28 at Place Matoub Lounes in Tizi Ouzou.

Benin
Today, travelers in Cotonou should plan routes bypassing an opposition-led demonstration to minimize inconvenience. The event was called by opposition parties that fear they are being excluded from the April 28 Legislative Elections. Demonstrators are due to gather at Stade de l’Amitie before marching to Place de I’Etoile Rouge at 10:00 AM local time. The organizers say they have not yet received an official certificate of compliance with a new charter for political parties.

Burkina Faso
Today through March 2, travelers in Ouagadougou should expect road travel disruption and heightened security during the ongoing Pan-African Film and Television Festival of Ouagadougou (FESPACO). This year’s event marks the festival’s 50th anniversary. Around 2,000 security officers have been deployed to ensure the safety of the more than 100,000 participants. Related measures, which include patrols, vehicle checks and increased surveillance around event venues, may also be instituted during FESPACO film screenings in Bobo Dioulasso and Ouahigouya.

Egypt 
Today, travelers in Sharm al-Sheikh should expect a heightened security force presence and disruption around an ongoing international summit. The EU-League of Arab States Summit at the International Congress Center is being attended by regional and European dignitaries, including President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi. A visibly increased security force presence can be anticipated, as well as the establishment of checkpoints, cordons, road closures, and traffic diversions.

Jordan 
Travelers in Amman should anticipate and avoid further weekly protests at the Fourth Circle, the next of which is scheduled for February 28 at 5:00 PM local time. Such events, which have generally passed off peacefully, have been organized in protest of a new income tax law and to demand political and economic reform. Travelers should expect a heightened security force presence around the rallies and plan routes bypassing the location as traffic restrictions may be implemented in the vicinity, including near the Prime Minister’s office and Jordan Hospital. Travelers in urban centers should anticipate and avoid further protests over changes in the higher education system as a precaution. Earlier today, students gathered in front of the Ministry of Education in Amman to denounce increased terms and changes in examination dates, causing local road disruption. Related gatherings also occurred in front of the Education Directorate buildings in Irbid and Karak governorates.

Mozambique
On February 23, at least six people were killed, and several others injured after armed assailants attacked their vehicle on a rural road between Macomia and Mucojo. The attack occurred at around 1:00 PM local time, approximately 62 miles south of the Afungi Peninsula, which is home to several liquefied natural gas (LNG) exploration sites. Travelers in Cabo Delgado should exercise increased vigilance.

Nigeria
Today, travelers in Lagos should exercise caution and expect heightened security in the Oshodi-Isolo area, particularly near the Arena Market. Disturbances occurred after thugs reportedly tried to stop traders from opening their shops. The Arena Market is located on the Lagos-Abeokuta Expressway, a major route to Murtala Muhammed International Airport (LOS). Travelers should allow additional time to complete journeys and to minimize disruption.

South Africa 
Travelers in Johannesburg should plan journeys avoiding the M2 Motorway, which will be closed between the Crown Interchange and Maritzburg Street until October for repairs. The Booysens, Main Reef, Simmonds, and Heidelberg routes will be most affected.

United Arab Emirates 
Today through March 2, travelers in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) should anticipate traffic disruption during the UAE Tour cycling race. Road closures will be in place along the race’s route, starting from Abu Dhabi and ending in Dubai. Although authorities will work to minimize disruption, travelers should plan routes bypassing the affected areas.

ASIA & THE PACIFIC

Armenia
On March 1, travelers in Yerevan should plan routes avoiding a government-sponsored rally. Participants will gather at 6:30 PM local time at Freedom Square and march towards Myasnikyan Square. Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan will attend the event and is expected to address the rally participants. The rally is being organized to commemorate opposition protests following the 2008 Presidential Elections, which resulted in fatal clashes between protesters and security forces.

Azerbaijan 
Tomorrow, travelers in Baku should anticipate disruption due to commemorative events. A march is planned to commemorate the anniversary of the Khojaly Massacre, in which several hundred ethnic Azeri civilians were killed in 1992, allegedly by Armenian soldiers. Participants will march from the intersection of Neftchilar and Bulbul avenues and proceed to Khojaly Park. 28 May Street, Khatai Avenue, Khojaly Avenue, Neftchilar Avenue, Pushkin Street, and Yusif Safarov Street will be closed to vehicles.

Bangladesh
Normal travel to Chittagong and Dhaka can continue, following the attempted mid-air hijacking of a Biman Bangladesh Airlines flight yesterday. Flight BG147 made an emergency landing at Chittagong’s Shah Amanat International Airport (CGP) following an armed passenger’s attempt to enter the aircraft cockpit. The suspect, a local National, was killed during a subsequent security operation; no crew members or passengers were harmed during the incident. While the suspect’s motives remain unclear, officials have speculated that he may have been mentally ill. Heightened security can be expected in the country’s airports in the coming days.

India
Travelers in Itanagar should expect heightened security and avoid all protests against the state government’s move to grant Permanent Residency Certificates (PRC) to tribal communities that are not natives of the state. On February 23, authorities imposed a curfew until 9:00 AM local time today, suspended internet services, and deployed soldiers to curb increasing violence. Today, travelers in Mumbai should avoid a rally organized by members of Other Backward Class (OBC) communities in protest of the government’s plan to alter caste-based reservations for the Maratha community. Participants plan to gather in the Byculla area before marching to Azad Maidan. The march is expected to be well-attended. Travelers are advised to avoid the march as a routine precaution.

Pakistan
Polio cases have been detected in parts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Punjab provinces. Additionally, environmental samples have tested positive in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and the provinces of Balochistan, Punjab, and Sindh. Some of these samples were collected in major cities including Faisalabad, Karachi, Lahore, and Peshawar. Polio is a contagious viral illness that can cause paralysis and death. It is spread through contaminated food or water, or directly from an infected person. Travelers should prevent infection by ensuring polio vaccinations are up to date.

Philippines 
Today, travelers in Manila should anticipate disruption during events commemorating the 33rd anniversary of the People Power Revolution (EDSA Revolution). Commemorative events are likely to focus on the Epifanio de Los Santos Avenue (EDSA) Shrine, People Power Monument, and the area around Malacanang Palace. The government has declared the day a public holiday. Travelers should plan routes bypassing commemorative gatherings and allow additional time for journeys.

South Korea
An increase in cases of measles has been reported from several parts of the country. Measles is caused by a highly contagious virus that spreads from person-to-person via infected droplets. Outbreaks occur frequently in undervaccinated populations. Common symptoms include fever, cough, and a characteristic rash. The illness can result in serious complications, particularly when very young children, elderly people or pregnant women are infected. All travelers should ensure they are fully immunized against measles.

Turkey
Today, travelers in Istanbul should avoid a protest by the pro-Kurdish People’s Democratic Party (HDP) as a precaution. Participants will gather at 12:00 PM local time near the Bakirkoy Women’s Prison in support of hunger strike activists who are protesting against prison conditions of Abdullah Ocalan, leader of the militant Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK). The rally also being held to commemorate the 109th day of Kurdish MP Leyla Guven’s hunger strike. Security forces are liable to forcibly disperse the gathering, posing incidental risks to bystanders. Today, travelers in the Marmara region, including Istanbul, should plan journeys accounting for weather-related disruption. Forecast snowfall, strong winds, and icy conditions are liable to prompt disruption to transportation and travel. Travelers should maintain flexible itineraries and reconfirm the status of roads and transportation, including flights and ferry services, before setting out.

Vietnam 
Today through February 28, travelers in Hanoi should expect heightened security and related disruption ahead of and during a summit between US President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong-un. Unconfirmed reports suggest the meeting between the two leaders will be held at the Government Guest House. Kim is expected to arrive in the city today. Access restrictions and road closures can be anticipated throughout the city through February 28. Travelers should allow plenty of time to complete journeys and follow all official directives during the summit period.

EUROPE

Finland 
Travelers should anticipate a disruption in the coming weeks from two strikes by air traffic controllers. Controllers are planning to walk out at the country’s eight main airports, including Helsinki Airport (HEL), as part of a longstanding pay dispute. The first strike started at 6:00 PM local time on February 23 and will continue through 9:00 AM local time today. Another week-long strike is scheduled from 9:00 AM local time on March 4 through 9:00 AM local time on March 11. While supervisory staff will reportedly cover striking controllers, some flight delays and cancellations remain possible.

Moldova
Travelers in Chisinau and other urban centers should plan routes bypassing any gatherings linked to the results of yesterday’s Parliamentary Election. Partial vote-counting last night indicated that no single party had won a clear majority. Should this prove to be the case, resultant political instability would be liable to prompt demonstrations, which should be avoided as a precaution and to minimize inconvenience.

Russia 
On Wednesday, February 27, travelers in Moscow and St Petersburg should anticipate and avoid unauthorized gatherings in memory of opposition leader Boris Nemtsov, who was murdered in Moscow in 2015. Yesterday, authorized, largely peaceful rallies were attended by around 6,000 people in Moscow and 800 people in St Petersburg. Smaller rallies were held in other cities. Other events, which are likely to be unauthorized, are also possible on Wednesday, February 27. In Moscow, the most likely gathering point is the Bolshoy Moskvoretsky Bridge, the site of Nemtsov’s murder.

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