Business Travel Advisory
Yesterday, the Trump Administration extended a ban on the use of US passports for travel to North Korea through August 31, 2020. The ban was originally imposed in September 2017, following the death of a US student who was detained by North Korea. The ban was renewed in 2018.
Normal movement can resume around the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department at 501 West Lancaster Boulevard in Lancaster, CA. Security cordons in the area following a shooting at around 3:00 PM local time yesterday have been lifted. One police officer was injured in the shooting; a suspect is yet to be apprehended.
Opposition groups have called for a nationwide strike today through Saturday, August 24, to demand the government release imprisoned political activists, among other issues. Opposition, civil society, and student groups are expected to organize related demonstrations, which should be avoided because of a risk of disturbances. The level of commercial disruption will depend on how many businesses participate. Travelers should monitor developments and reconfirm all ground transportation arrangements.
AFRICA & THE MIDDLE EAST
Travelers in Nigeria should reconfirm the status of border crossings and anticipate short-notice closures, following recent disruption at border posts with Cameroon and Benin. The Seme border crossing with Benin was reportedly closed without formal notice on August 20-21. There was also disruption at the Chikanda crossing with Benin and the Ekok border post with Cameroon. The developments are reportedly linked to a border security operation which is due to conclude by September 15.
Today, travelers should anticipate heightened security and avoid protests in solidarity with an ongoing strike by detainees at the Jaw Central and Dry Dock prisons. Countrywide processions will begin following evening prayers. A number of opposition groups have called for demonstrations to support the prisoners who went on hunger strikes in response to alleged mistreatments by authorities. While no specific locations were announced, protests will most likely occur in Shia-majority village areas. There is a credible risk of unrest at unauthorized gatherings, as security forces could forcibly disperse crowds.
Circulating vaccine-derived poliovirus type 2 (cVDPV2) has been detected in Borgou province, eastern Benin. The cVDPV strains can emerge in under-vaccinated populations. 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, including a booster, and selecting safe food and water.
Travelers in Libreville should expect further demonstrations demanding an inquiry into the health of President Ali Bongo Ondimba. The Court of Appeal of Libreville is due to hear a petition calling for the leader to undergo an independent physical examination on August 26; however, yesterday, the Ministry of Justice suspended the President of the Court of Appeal, Paulette Akolly, who was to review the case. Related protests are likely on August 26, especially if the hearing is postponed following the suspension. Opposition leader Bruno Ben Moubamba has called for daily peaceful protests.
Travelers should monitor developments and maintain flexible itineraries following calls by the Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC) for its supporters to close the country’s airports and land borders from August 26-30. The HRDC is demanding the resignation of Malawi Electoral Commission (MEC) Chairperson, Jane Ansah, over the May 21 General Election results. Details of the shutdown are unclear; however, travelers should be prepared to defer travel on August 26- 30 if the protests proceed. Those in Malawi should avoid all demonstrations as a precaution.
On Saturday, August 24, travelers in Bamako and other urban centers should avoid anti-corruption protests as a precaution. In Bamako, a related gathering will be held at 8:00 AM local time on Boulevard de l’Independance. Protests in regional capitals will take place in front of government headquarters. The “Platform Against Corruption and Unemployment” civil society group has organized the demonstrations over alleged corruption in a helicopter deal.
Today, travelers in the Jubaland region should exercise caution during a Regional Presidential Election. The extremist Islamist al-Shabab group has warned against proceeding with the poll and has assassinated candidates. Further al-Shabab attacks are possible during campaign events. Additionally, tensions between state and federal authorities may lead to confrontations, as two rival Legislative Assemblies have been created that will elect two separate candidates.
Travelers in Richards Bay should anticipate further demonstrations over separate issues and avoid all such events due to a credible risk of unrest. Local residents have protested drug-related activity in the Central Business District (CBD) since July 19. Since August 20, truck and taxi drivers have staged rallies accusing companies of employing regional immigrants at the expense of locals. Participants have blocked highway entrances and roads in the CBD, causing significant disruption, while motorists and pedestrians were reportedly attacked by protesters yesterday.
Today, reports indicate that the N2 Highway is closed at the R300 southbound ramp in Cape Town due to an ongoing protest.
Today, travelers in Masvingo and Mutare should avoid protests by the main opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) due to the risk of unrest. While police have banned the planned protests, the MDC has vowed to proceed with the rallies. Police forcibly dispersed an unauthorized gathering in Harare on August 16; 12 people were injured, and 91 others arrested.
ASIA & THE PACIFIC
Tomorrow, travelers in Hong Kong should plan journeys avoiding gatherings outside Mass Transit Railway (MTR) stations along sections of the Island, Kwun Tong, and Tsuen Wan lines. Anti-extradition bill protesters are planning to rally from 7:00 PM to 9:00 PM local time outside designated MTR stations and form a human chain. Event organizers have called for the gatherings to be minimally disruptive and have instructed participants not to block roads and passers-by. Instead, they have asked participants to stay only on pedestrian walkways. Nonetheless, there is potential for disruption if the gatherings are well attended.
Several states have recorded higher than usual influenza activity for this time of year, with numerous outbreaks in residential facilities. Several fatalities have occurred. Influenza is a viral illness, causing a sudden fever, cough, headache, weakness and muscular pains. Most cases are mild, although some can be severe or even fatal. Pregnant women, adults over 65, and young children are at higher risk of severe illness. Travelers should prevent infection through vaccination and attention to hygiene.
Several cases of hepatitis A have been reported among members of South Korean communities in Sydney and the Australian Capital Territory. Authorities are investigating the source of infection. Hepatitis A is a viral infection of the liver, spreading through the “fecal-oral” route, via direct person-to-person contact or contaminated food and water. Symptoms can take a month to appear and include fever, fatigue, abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, dark urine, and jaundice. Travelers should prevent infection through vaccination, attention to hygiene, and selection of safe food.
Travelers should plan journeys accounting for potential disruption during the passage of Tropical Storm Bailu. The weather system is forecast to make landfall in Taitung county on August 23-24. Heavy rain and strong winds will mainly impact southern and eastern Taiwan, particularly Hualien, Taitung and Pingtung counties, as well as Kaohsiung municipality. Elsewhere, rain is also expected in southwestern Tainan municipality, western Changhua, Chiayi and Yunlin counties, and Taichung municipality. Short-notice disruption to flights is possible, including at Taiwan Taoyuan International (TPE), Taipei Songshan (TSA), Kaohsiung International (KHH), and Hualien (HUN) airports.
Passengers of Ryanair should continue to anticipate disruption despite the cancellation of one of several planned strikes over conditions and announced layoffs. The Irish High Court issued an injunction yesterday to stop the airline’s Irish pilots walking out today and tomorrow. Similar industrial action by UK pilots appears set to go ahead today and tomorrow, as well as September 2-4, though Ryanair says it has taken steps to minimize disruption. Crew members in Portugal are on strike through August 25. Spain-based employees plan to walk out on September 1, 2, 6, 8, 13, 15, 20, 22, 27, and 28.
On Saturday, August 24, travelers in Dresden should anticipate disruption due to an anti-racism demonstration by a coalition of civil society organizations and political parties. Participants will gather at 1:00 PM local time at Altmarkt before marching to Cokerwiese. The gathering is being organized to call for solidarity, an open and free society, and to denounce far-right politics. Up to 25,000 participants are expected during the demonstration.
Today, travelers in Krasnoyarsk should plan journeys bypassing a protest at 7:00 PM local time at Kosmonavtov Square as a precaution and to minimize delays. Around 3,000 people are expected to gather to call for the resignation of Krasnoyarsk krai’s Governor, Alexander Uss, over allegations of corruption. While a previous related gathering passed off peacefully on August 1, there remains potential for local unrest, including indiscriminate arrests, during the upcoming event.
On Saturday, August 24, travelers in St Petersburg should avoid a protest by LGBTQ activists at Saint Isaac’s Square due to the potential for local unrest and indiscriminate arrests. Participants will gather at 4:00 PM local time in protest of perceived police failure to investigate alleged hate crimes perpetrated against members of the LGBTQ community. On August 3, police forcibly dispersed a related gathering in the city; three people were injured, and 12 others arrested.
On Saturday, August 24, travelers in Moscow should anticipate disruption along Sakharov Avenue during gatherings related to National Flag Day. Authorities have approved the events, which include a rally to be held from 11:00 AM to 6:00 PM local time. Travelers should anticipate heightened security in the area and allow additional time for journeys.
Travelers in northwestern areas of Gran Canaria Island should continue to exercise caution and follow official directives due to an ongoing wildfire; however, the situation has stabilized, and efforts are ongoing to contain remaining fires in parts of the Tamadaba Natural Park and Agaete municipality. Yesterday, authorities allowed more than half of around 10,000 evacuated residents to return, including to the worst-affected town of Tejeda.
Tomorrow through August 28, travelers in Kiev should expect heightened security and plan journeys bypassing events commemorating Independence Day. Tomorrow, a gathering in support of Ukrainian detainees will be held near Mariinsky Palace at 3:30 PM local time. On August 24, the usual military parade will be replaced by a memorial ceremony at Nebesna Sotnya at 9:30 AM local time. Veterans’ groups will hold a procession from Shevchenko Park to St. Michael’s Cathedral at 11:00 AM local time on August 24. Nationalist groups are also likely to rally, and local scuffles between rival groups around these locations are possible.
Today, as well as August 24 and 29, passengers transiting Liverpool John Lennon Airport (LPL) can expect normal operations following the suspension of planned strikes by airport employees. Ground staff affiliated with the GMB union had called for the industrial action over working conditions and pay. The strikes have been called off to allow time for unionized employees to vote on a new proposal offered by management.
Travelers using Merseyrail should anticipate disruption during a series of planned 24-hour strikes by staff affiliated with the RMT transportation union. The industrial actions are scheduled as follows: August 24; September 3, 5 and 30; October 2 and 4. The strikes are linked to a plan by Merseyrail to launch new driver-only-operated trains in 2021.
Pilots affiliated with British Airways’ pilots’ union, BALPA, have approved potential strike action; however, discussions between the airline and union are ongoing, and no dates for industrial action have been set. Should the strike proceed, it would have an impact on British Airways’ operations and result in a large number of delays or cancellations.