Business Travel Advisory – 2/4/19

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THE AMERICAS

Venezuela 
All travel to Venezuela should be deferred through tomorrow due to the ongoing political crisis and associated unrest. Travelers in country should minimize movement. Major countrywide demonstrations in support of Juan Guaido, the National Assemblyrecognized interim President, took place on Saturday, February 2, while a rival progovernment rally was held on Avenida Bolivar in Caracas. Both events passed off peacefully, and Guaido has called for continued protests until President Nicolas Maduro steps down and sets a date for a new Presidential Election.

AFRICA & THE MIDDLE EAST

Algeria 
Travelers should plan journeys accounting for potential disruption due to adverse weather. Today, Air Algerie canceled flights out of Mohamed Boudiaf International Airport (CZL) and Ain Arnat Airport (QSF) until further notice. Reports also indicated that snowfall had blocked several key routes across the country yesterday including National Route 62 between Dechmia and Sour El-Ghozlane, the N22 between Tlemcen and Terni, and the N30 near El Asnam.

Congo (DRC) 
Travelers in Congo (DRC) are reminded of the risks associated with travel to North Kivu province amid increased militant attacks in and around Beni. At least 20 MaiMai militiamen and two soldiers have been killed since the Congolese Army (FARDC) began security operations in the area on January 31. Other rebel groups, such as the Ugandan Allied Democratic Forces (ADF), are responsible for the current spike in violence against civilians and peacekeepers, which began in November 2018.

Ethiopia 
Travelers using the A10 Road should monitor developments after the section between the cities of Harar and Jijiga was closed from Saturday, February 2 through today. Local authorities cited security reasons for the two-day closure, in an area which experiences sporadic communal violence; no further specific details were given. The road, which reopened today, is the only access route between the regions and Addis Ababa. Travelers should reconfirm its status prior to setting out.

Ghana 
On Thursday, February 7, travelers in Accra should avoid a protest organized by the opposition Inter-Party Coalition for National Sovereignty (PCNS). The protest is being organized to condemn violence during Parliamentary by-elections in Ayawaso West Wuogon district. At least seven people were injured when unidentified gunmen attacked a polling station at Bawaleshie Presby School on January 31. Travelers should exercise caution in Ayawaso West Wuogon.

Jordan
Travelers in Amman should anticipate and avoid further weekly sit-in protests at the Fourth Circle, the next of which is planned for Thursday, February 7. For several weeks, protesters have gathered outside Jordan Hospital on Thursday evenings in protest of a controversial income tax law that came into effect on January 1 and to demand wider political and economic reforms. The protests are usually held amid heightened security and pass off peacefully; however, traffic restrictions may be in place on Thursday evenings around the Fourth Circle, including near the Prime Minister’s office and Jordan Hospital.

Kenya 
Travelers in Gachie should anticipate further demonstrations over poor road conditions and general lack of development in the community. Local residents staged demonstrations yesterday on Red Hill Road, blockading roads with burning tires until they were forcibly dispersed by security forces. Further rallies are likely today as authorities are unlikely to address demonstrators’ grievances in the short-term. Travelers in the area should plan routes bypassing any further demonstrations.

Oman 
Five cases of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) have been reported. The virus is present in camels and can be transmitted to people who have direct contact or consume raw camel products. Transmission within hospitals sometimes occurs. Overall, the risk to travelers is low if precautions are taken. Travelers should avoid contact with sick people and practice good general hygiene. Travelers should also avoid contact with camels and raw camel products.

Somalia 
Today, travelers in Mogadishu should reconfirm the feasibility of movement following a car bomb attack at 10:30 AM local time near Mogadishu Mall. The Islamist extremist al-Shabab group has claimed responsibility for the attack, which targeted security forces and government offices next to the mall. At least 11 people have been killed, and 10 others injured.

South Africa 
Tomorrow through Thursday, February 7, travelers in Cape Town should plan journeys accounting for road closures in preparation for President Cyril Ramaphosa’s State of the Nation Address in Parliament on Thursday, February 7. Road closures will mainly affect the Central Business District and the neighborhoods of Mowbray, Newlands, Observatory, Rondebosch, Salt River, and Woodstock. Travelers should consult the City of Cape Town website for detailed information on affected roads and timings, and allow additional time for journeys.

Today, travelers in Pretoria should avoid all gatherings related to the hearing of controversial pastor, Shepherd Bushiri, and his wife. Proceedings will take place at the Specialized Commercial Crimes Court. The pair were arrested on February 1 on charges of money laundering, fraud, and the contravention of the Prevention of Crimes Act.

Sudan 
Non-essential travel to Sudan should be deferred amid ongoing anti-government unrest. Travelers in country should continue to exercise caution, especially in urban centers. The Sudanese Professionals Association (SPA) has called for further protests starting at 11:00 AM local time today in Khartoum and Omdurman. Travelers should avoid all demonstrations due to the risk of violence.

United Arab Emirates 
Today and tomorrow, travelers in Abu Dhabi should anticipate a heightened security force presence and travel disruption during an official visit by Pope Francis, the head of the Roman Catholic Church. Although authorities are working to ensure minimal disruption, crowds and traffic restrictions can be expected in and around areas of the Pontiff’s itinerary. Travelers should follow all official directives and allow extra time for road journeys.

ASIA & THE PACIFIC

Australia 
Travelers in Townsville should plan journeys accounting for severe disruption caused by ongoing heavy rain and flooding. Although Townsville Airport (TSV) reopened today, several flights were canceled. Bruce Highway has also reopened, but lane restrictions and further short-notice closures are likely. Authorities have advised residents to stay off the roads unless absolutely necessary. Public transportation remains suspended, and several roads have been closed.

China 
Human cases of H9N2 avian influenza have been reported in Guangdong and Hunan provinces. Bird flu can cause a mild to severe respiratory illness which may be fatal. Most people who have been infected have had direct exposure to birds. There is no suggestion of an outbreak, and the risk of infection in the general population appears to be low. Travelers should prevent infection by paying attention to hygiene and avoiding contact with birds and their environment.

Travelers should expect heightened demand for accommodations and transportation during the annual Lunar New Year holiday period, which takes place today through Friday, February 8; Lunar New Year itself takes place tomorrow. Significant congestion can be expected at transportation hubs and along major routes due to a large volume of travelers, particularly at the beginning and the end of the holiday period. Travelers should reconfirm bookings and plan journeys accounting for potential travel disruption.

India 
Travelers should expect significant disruption and heightened security in and around Prayagraj City during the ongoing Hindu pilgrimage of Kumbh Mela, which began on January 15. Authorities expect around 100 million people to visit the city during the event, which will conclude on March 4. Key dates for Kumbh Mela are today, as well as February 10 and 19, and March 4. An increased demand for and shortage of transportation and accommodations can be expected during this period. Travelers should book these well in advance and reconfirm existing reservations.

Travelers in northeastern states should continue to avoid all protests over controversial legislation linked to undocumented migrants and tribal status. A demonstration is planned in Asom today, as well as a railway blockade on Thursday, February 7. Similar events are expected in other northeastern states, particularly Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland and Tripura. The Communist Party of India will hold rallies across the region, and the AASU students’ union will observe a ten-hour hungerstrike in Asom today. Previous large-scale protests on January 30 led to unrest and disruption to road travel across the northeast.

Nepal 
Today, travelers in urban centers, including Kathmandu, should avoid nationwide protests over a controversial medical education bill. The main opposition Nepali Congress (NC) party and its affiliates have held a series of related demonstrations in recent days in protest of the National Medical Education Bill, among other issues. On January 27, scuffles broke out between police and members of the Nepal Student Union (NSU), the NC’s student wing, during a rally outside the Prime Minister’s residence in the Balutwatar area of Kathmandu.

South Korea 
Travelers visiting South Korea during the annual Lunar New Year holiday period should expect travel disruption and an increased demand for transportation and accommodations. The official holiday period will run from today through Wednesday, February 6, with Lunar New Year itself taking place tomorrow.

Today through Wednesday, February 6, passengers transiting Gimhae International Airport (PUS), which serves Busan, should anticipate disruption if a proposed strike by airport workers proceeds. Baggage handlers and cabin cleaners are set to walk out over wage increases and the retirement age. The precise timing and duration of the strike is currently unclear, but such action could exacerbate disruption during the Lunar New Year holiday season; however, the impact may be contained if the government designates the services offered by the workers’ employer as “essential,” limiting the number of participants.

Taiwan 
Travelers in country during the upcoming annual Lunar New Year holiday period should plan itineraries accounting for significant delay. The official public holiday period runs through Friday, February 8, with Lunar New Year itself taking place tomorrow. An increased demand for accommodations and transportation can also be expected. Travelers should reconfirm bookings and plan journeys accounting for potential travel disruption.

Tonga 
On Saturday, February 2, authorities said that internet service had been restored to the main island of Tongatapu. Internet connectivity to the Ha’apai and Vava’u groups of islands is expected to be reinstated tomorrow, as repairs are ongoing on an undersea cable connecting them to Tongatapu. Damage to the country’s only undersea fiber-optic cable had caused the internet outage since January 20, affecting airline bookings and banking services. Travelers should expect normal internet service on Tongatapu.

Vietnam 
Travelers should expect disruption and heightened demand for accommodations and transportation during the annual Lunar New Year holiday period through Friday, February 8; The Lunar New Year, also known as Tet, takes place tomorrow.

EUROPE

Germany 
Today, passengers transiting Hamburg Airport (HAM) should anticipate disruption and reconfirm their flights due to a 24- hour strike by ground handling staff which began at 3:00 AM local time. The industrial action has been called by the Ver.di union following failed negotiations over higher wages. Airport representatives have recommended that passengers travel with minimum luggage, and hand luggage only where possible, to minimize the impact of the strike. Today, passengers transiting Munich Airport (MUC) should anticipate disruption and reconfirm their flights due to residual disruption from the ground handers’ strike at Hamburg Airport (HAM). At least 140 flights have been canceled today at Munich Airport.

Poland 
Today, travelers should plan routes bypassing planned protests by farmers and anticipate road travel disruption in urban centers. Supporters of the AGROunia activist movement are reportedly planning a so-called “peasant uprising” in Warsaw and other cities, which may entail the erection of roadblocks. On Wednesday, February 6, participants are due to gather at 9:00 AM local time at the Presidential Palace in Warsaw. The events are being held to defend domestic food production, which the demonstrators claim is under threat.

Russia 
Travelers in Samara should plan routes bypassing a demonstration over transportation services on February 10. Residents plan to gather in front of the DK ‘Chayka’ from 1:00 PM to 3:00 PM local time in protest of the recent cessation of several public minibus services connecting residential districts to the city center. The rally has been authorized by city officials and is likely to be well attended. Travelers should anticipate a heightened security force presence and related traffic disruption in the vicinity of the rally.

Spain 
Travelers in Madrid should plan itineraries accounting for disruption in the coming days due to an ongoing taxi strike over regulations for app-based ride-share services. Travelers should also avoid a protest at Puerta del Sol today, as well as all other associated demonstrations. Although recent protests have passed off peacefully, they have caused significant traffic disruption in the city center.

Ukraine 
Today, travelers in Kiev should avoid planned demonstrations related to the death of prominent activist Kateryna Handziuk on November 4, 2018 following an acid attack in July 2018. Activists will gather at 7:00 PM local time outside the Presidential Administration and at 8:30 PM local time outside the office of the Batkivshchyna party. Protesters are dissatisfied with the lack of progress in related investigations. While the demonstrations are expected to pass off peacefully, unrest cannot be ruled out. Far-right protesters in Kherson lit flares and vandalized the property of a person rumored to have been involved in the attack in November 2018.

United Kingdom 
Today, travelers in London should plan journeys avoiding London Bridge from 4:00 PM to 6:00 PM local time, during a demonstration by minicab and private-hire drivers over changes to the city’s congestion charging system. This is one of a series of protests in which drivers are threatening to block the bridge every Monday afternoon until their demands are met. Drivers say that new congestion charges for minicab drivers, due to come into effect in April, will affect their takehome pay significantly. Travelers should anticipate disruption around the bridge during planned demonstrations in the coming weeks.

Today, travelers should anticipate disruption caused by adverse weather conditions, reconfirm the status of routes, and allow additional travel time. The Met Office has issued a Yellow Warning (lowest in a three-tier system) of snow and/or ice for London and parts of south, southeastern and northern England, as well as much of Scotland. The warning will remain in place in some affected areas until at least 2:00 PM local time.

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