Business Travel Advisory
Tropical Storm Dorian
Tropical Storm Dorian is currently passing through the Windward Islands, bringing heavy rain and gusty winds to the region this morning. Dorian’s center passed near the south coast of Barbados late last night, producing wind gusts up to 55 mph at Grantley Adams International Airport (BGI). The worst rain and wind impacts from Dorian are now being felt in St. Lucia, Martinique, and Dominica. After passing through the Windward Islands, Dorian will turn northwest and move near or between Puerto Rico and the eastern Dominican Republic tomorrow into Thursday, August 29. Rainfall totals of 2 to 4 inches (locally 6 inches) are currently forecast in parts of the Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico, and parts of the Virgin Islands. That rainfall could trigger flash flooding and mudslides. Tropical-storm-force winds are also likely in parts of Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic, particularly in higher elevations. Some power outages and tree damage could occur.
As of the now, the NHC forecasts Dorian to be an intensifying tropical storm as it moves through the Bahamas late this week, but that forecast is subject to change. Dorian is most likely to approach Florida this weekend, according to the latest forecast from the National Hurricane Center. Wind and rain impacts are possible in Florida by this weekend; however, specific details are uncertain.
A tropical storm warning is in effect for Martinique, St. Vincent and the Grenadines and Puerto Rico, meaning tropical storm conditions (39-73 mph winds) are expected there within the next 36 hours. Hurricane watches have been issued for Puerto Rico and eastern portions of the Dominican Republic; hurricane conditions (74 mph or greater winds) are possible there within the next 48 hours. Tropical storm watches are in effect for Dominica, Grenada, Saba, and St. Eustatius and portions of the Dominican Republic; tropical storm conditions are possible in those areas within the next 48 hours.
On August 21, 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.
At least five people in Massachusetts and New Jersey have been confirmed with Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) this summer. Monitoring has shown the virus that causes EEE is present in mosquitoes in a number of areas of these states. Authorities have stepped up mosquito control activities and are urging residents to prevent being bitten. EEE is transmitted to humans through bites of infected mosquitoes. While most people who are infected won’t have any symptoms, some people develop encephalitis (inflammation of the brain) which can cause permanent brain damage or be fatal. Travelers are advised to prevent infection by avoiding mosquito bites.
A cluster of illnesses in Caranavi, caused by an Arenavirus, has been reported. Arenaviruses can cause a number of diseases differing in both symptoms and severity. Transmission to humans mostly occurs through ingestion or inhalation of excretions from infected rodents, especially rats. The disease can also spread through direct contact with the body fluids of an infected person. Travelers are advised to prevent infection by observing strict hygiene and avoiding contact with sick people.
Travelers should monitor developments related to ongoing forest fires and their effects. A record number of wildfires have been reported in 2019, primarily in rural areas of the northwestern states of Acre, Amazonas, Rondonia, and Roraima. Amazonas has declared the State of Emergency, while Acre has issued an Environmental Alert. There have been no Evacuation Orders, but travelers should monitor developments as efforts to contain the fires continue.
Fires in the Amazon Rain Forest have affected air quality in several parts of the country. The northwestern states of Acre, Amazonas, Rondonia, and Roraima are the worst-affected. Polluted air can cause symptoms such as wheezing, coughing, shortness of breath, and irritation of the eyes and nose. Young children, the elderly, pregnant women, and people with underlying heart and lung disease are particularly vulnerable. To lessen the risk of potential health problems, travelers are advised to reduce exposure by decreasing time and physical activity outdoors.
On August 28-29, travelers in urban centers should plan journeys accounting for disruption during a 48-hour nationwide strike and caravan march by the Fecode teacher’s union. The rally will take place from Bogota to Popayan. The group is denouncing the lack of health coverage for teachers and their families, among other issues.
Authorities are warning that several brands of alcohol are contaminated with methanol. Over 70 people across the country have been poisoned since the beginning of June. Tens of thousands of bottles have been seized and removed from sale. Investigations are ongoing.
An increase in dengue activity has been reported. The disease is spread by mosquitoes and is present in both rural and urban areas. Dengue can cause a range of symptoms and has no particular treatment. Some people, especially those who have been infected before, get a more severe form that can lead to fatal complications. Although a vaccine is available in several locations, it is only recommended for people who have been infected with dengue in the past and are living or traveling in areas with high levels of dengue transmission. Travelers are advised to prevent infection by avoiding mosquito bites.
AFRICA & THE MIDDLE EAST
In the coming days, travelers in Botswana should monitor developments associated with a threatened strike by government employees and the BOFEPUSO union federation if their demands for higher wages are not met. The federation, comprised of six public sector unions, began the final stage of negotiations with the government on August 26. Travelers should expect disruption to public services in the event of a strike. While accompanying protests are likely to pass off peacefully, all such gatherings should be avoided as a precaution.
A surge in malaria activity has been reported across the country. Malaria is consistently present throughout Burundi. It is spread through mosquito bites and can be fatal unless promptly treated. Travelers should seek medical advice prior to travel for an individual recommendation on preventive medication. Travelers should seek prompt medical attention if symptoms develop and inform medical professionals that you may have been in an area with malaria. Travelers are advised to prevent infection with antimalarial medication and by avoiding mosquito bites.
Travelers in Northwest and Southwest regions should exercise caution following fresh Anglophone separatist calls for ‘ghost town’ and ‘lockdown’ protests. Representatives of the Federal Republic of Ambazonia (FRA) movement’s self-proclaimed ‘interim government’ have urged demonstrations beginning today for three weeks, while other groups have called for protests on September 2-6 and 9-13. Travelers on essential business in these regions should liaise with local contacts for information on related demonstrations and avoid all such events due to a credible risk of violence.
Cholera cases have been reported across several provinces; the disease spreads via contaminated food and water. Symptoms include vomiting and profuse, watery diarrhea which can lead to severe dehydration. Travelers staying in quality accommodation with access to safe food and water are at low risk; however, travelers are advised to ensure food and water for consumption are safe and consider vaccination if likely to encounter unsanitary conditions.
An outbreak of measles cases continues in Congo (DRC). Measles is caused by a highly contagious virus that spreads from person-to-person via infected droplets. Outbreaks occur frequently in under-vaccinated populations. Common symptoms include fever, cough, and a characteristic rash. The illness can result in serious complications, particularly when very young children, the elderly or pregnant women are infected. All travelers should ensure they are fully immunized against measles.
Through August 31, travelers in Kenya should expect heightened security and related disruption around a national census. Unruly protests on August 15 occurred in Nairobi’s Westlands constituency, as well as in Kiambu county, over alleged favoritism towards civil servants and corruption in the hiring process for census-takers. Security forces dispersed the rallies with tear gas. Although authorities have taken measures to reduce perceived favoritism, and most census exercises will be conducted during the first two days, residual disruption and related demonstrations remain possible throughout this period.
Petrol station owners and fuel transport operators are threatening to strike on August 29 over a scarcity of US dollars in Lebanon and unfavorable exchange rates. Currency exchange services may also be unavailable on August 30 after several employees were summoned by authorities on accusations of charging above the official exchange rate. Travelers should monitor developments around the scheduled fuel strike in particular, and ensure that their vehicles have sufficient petrol as a precaution. Travelers are also advised to reconfirm travel itineraries, as transport services may also be affected. Related protests are possible and may disrupt road travel.
Between September 6-10, travelers in Antananarivo should anticipate disruption and allow extra time for journeys to the airport during an official visit by Pope Francis, the head of the Roman Catholic Church. The Pope will arrive in Antananarivo Airport (TNR) from Mozambique at 4:30 PM local time on September 6. He will visit Mauritius on September 9 and fly back to Madagascar on the same day, returning to Italy on September 10. The visit is expected to cause disruption, with more than 500,000 people and traffic restrictions expected in and around areas of the pontiff’s itinerary.
Over the coming days, travelers in Sierra Leone should avoid political gatherings linked to the August 24 by-election in Western Area Rural district, south of Freetown. The poll results were subsequently canceled by the National Electoral Commission (NEC), following an attack on a polling station and the destruction of related materials. The electoral cycle proceeded amid outbreaks of political violence and heightened tensions between the opposition All People’s Congress (APC) and the ruling Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP). The developments highlight the risk of local election-related unrest, which can pose indirect risks to bystanders.
On August 30, travelers in Pretoria should anticipate disruption during a planned march to, and protest at, the Office of the Public Protector by members of the Concerned South Africans activist group. Participants oppose Public Protector Busisiwe Mkhwebane’s ongoing investigation of President Cyril Ramaphosa. Although the event is likely to pass off peacefully, travelers should anticipate an increased police presence around the march and plan journeys accordingly.
Travelers on essential travel to Port Sudan in the coming weeks should exercise caution and abide by all official directives following the imposition of a State of Emergency today. At least 17 people have been killed, and 56 others injured since armed clashes broke out on August 21 between the Beni Amer and Nuba tribes in the city. Authorities have imposed a nightly curfew from 7:00 PM to 4:00 AM local time. Despite a reported truce on August 22, fighting has continued amid a heightened security force presence. Internet connectivity has also been disrupted.
ASIA & THE PACIFIC
Tomorrow, travelers in Hong Kong should plan journeys avoiding a protest organized by the Hong Kong Women’s Coalition on Equal Opportunities (WCOEO) against alleged sexual assaults by police officers during a recent demonstration. The event is scheduled to take place at Chater Garden from 8:00 PM to 9:30 PM local time. Police have granted the gathering permission, though the expected turnout is unclear. Meanwhile, a planned protest at Cathay Pacific City remains unconfirmed as the organizer is currently appealing against a police objection to the event.
Tomorrow, travelers in Brisbane should anticipate traffic disruption in the central business district (CBD) due to a planned environmental protest. Participants will gather at 8:00 AM local time at the intersection of Queen and Edward streets and march towards Parliament House. Bus services in the area may also be affected. The demonstration is likely to be well attended.
On September 1-2, travelers in urban centers, including Dhaka, should avoid events celebrating the anniversary of the establishment of the main opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) as a precaution. A large gathering is planned at the party founder’s grave in Chandrima Udyan in Dhaka at 10:00 AM local time on September 1. The BNP is also planning nationwide rallies calling for the release of its jailed leader Khaleda Zia, including at the party’s headquarters in Naya Paltan in Dhaka, on the same day. Traffic disruption is likely on nearby routes, including VIP and Shahid Syed Nazrul Islam Sharani roads.
Additional cases of dengue are being reported in Bangladesh. Dengue is spread by mosquitoes and is present in both rural and urban areas. Dengue can cause a range of symptoms and has no particular treatment. Some people, especially those who have been infected before, get a more severe form that can lead to fatal complications. Although a vaccine is available in several locations, it is only recommended for people who have been infected with dengue in the past and are living or traveling in areas with high levels of dengue transmission. Travelers are advised to prevent infection by avoiding mosquito bites.
There is an ongoing outbreak of dengue in Cambodia. The disease is spread by mosquitoes and is present in both rural and urban areas. Dengue can cause a range of symptoms and has no particular treatment. Some people, especially those who have been infected before, get a more severe form that can lead to fatal complications. Although a vaccine is available in several locations, it is only recommended for people who have been infected with dengue in the past and are living or traveling in areas with high levels of dengue transmission. Travelers are advised to prevent infection by avoiding mosquito bites.
Travelers in Tamil Nadu and Kerala states should expect a heightened security force presence following reports on August 22 that six alleged Islamist militants had entered Tamil Nadu. In addition to deploying more than 7,000 police officers, authorities have established patrols conducting vehicle and baggage checks, especially around transportation hubs and religious sites in Chennai and Coimbatore as well as at the Kerala-Tamil Nadu border. The measures do not indicate an attack is imminent, and such alerts are inherently difficult to independently verify.
Floods, due to heavy rainfall, have affected several states. Health risks associated with flooding include injury, diarrheal disease, skin infections, insect-borne diseases, and seasonal influenza. There can be potential food and water shortages. Travelers are advised to remain alert and follow the advice of the local authorities.
Travelers on Kyushu Island, particularly northern areas, should plan journeys accounting for disruption to travel and essential services caused by heavy rain, flooding, and possible landslides. Today, local authorities issued an evacuation advisory (level 4 of 5) for more than 200,000 people in Sasebo City. Flood and landslide warnings are in place for most cities in Saga prefecture. The Japan Meteorological Agency has warned of further heavy rain with the possibility of thunderstorms until at least tomorrow.
On August 28-31, travelers transiting Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KUL) should anticipate disruption during planned airspace closures and reconfirm flights accordingly. The airspace will be closed between 9:00 AM and 10:30 AM local time during this period in preparation for the country’s 62nd National Day fly-past. At least 500 flights are due to be affected as a consequence. National carrier Malaysian Airlines has advised passengers to arrive at least four hours before departure to avoid delays.
In the coming weeks, travelers in urban centers should monitor developments regarding anti-Japan protests that have been occurring in Seoul and Busan City. This comes amid ongoing trade tensions between the two countries and calls for a boycott of Japanese products and travel to Japan. Thousands of people participated in related protests on August 14 outside the Japanese Embassy and on August 15, at Gwanghwamun Square in Seoul. Travelers should anticipate local disruption during any further gatherings.
Between September 1-10, travelers in Colombo should expect heightened security measures and related disruption during the Bohra Global Conference organized by the Dawoodi Muslim Bohra community. Around 25,000 visitors and 3,000 volunteers are expected to attend the event, which will be held in Bambalapitiya neighborhood, at the Bohra headquarters including Husaini Masjid and Qutbi Hall. Increased security measures, including traffic diversions, checkpoints, and patrols, can be expected around the event. Travelers should also anticipate a heightened demand for transport and accommodations.
An increase in cases of dengue fever has been noted nationwide. The trend is expected to continue during the rainy season. Dengue symptoms include fever, headache, muscle aches, and sometimes a rash. Some people, especially those who have been infected before, get a more severe form that can lead to fatal complications. Travelers are advised to prevent infection by avoiding mosquito bites. Although there is a vaccine available, it is not recommended for travelers as it may increase the risk of severe disease.
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.
Travelers in urban centers should continue to avoid weekly Saturday protests by the Yellow Vests movement, due to the risk of local unrest. The next gatherings are scheduled for August 31. While the major event is due to take place from a roundabout leading to Ferney-Voltaire in the eastern part of the country before heading towards Geneva, Switzerland, additional gatherings in main urban centers, including Paris, are likely. The latest protests on August 24 attracted only a few hundred participants and passed off peacefully.
In the coming hours, travelers transiting Munich Airport (MUC) should anticipate residual flight disruption and reconfirm schedules following a police operation at the facility. Terminal 2 and areas B and C of Terminal 1 were evacuated at around 9:00 AM local time today following unauthorized access to Terminal 2 via an emergency exit. Operations in the affected areas have since resumed.
A sharp increase in cases of tularemia has been noted since late July. Hundreds of cases have been reported in central and northern Sweden. The disease can range from mild to severe. It is spread by insect bites, direct contact with infected animals or through contaminated food and water, but does not spread person-to-person. It can be treated with antibiotics. Travelers are advised to prevent infection by preventing insect bites, choosing safe food and water, and using caution when handling pets or other animals.
On August 31, travelers in Geneva should avoid a joint French-Swiss protest by the Yellow Vests movement, due to the risk of local unrest. Participants will gather in front of the UN headquarters at Place des Nations in Geneva at 4:00 PM local time.
Through August 28, travelers in Kyiv should expect heightened security and plan journeys bypassing events commemorating Independence Day.
After a breakdown in negotiations over a pay dispute, the British Airline Pilots Association (BALPA) announced a three-day strike in September. The strike will likely cause severe disruption for British Airways, as BALPA represents about 90% of the airline’s pilots. Pilots affiliated with BALPA will strike on September 9, 10, and 27. British Airways has issued waivers for those passengers ticketed to travel during the period of industrial action. Travelers are advised to reconfirm their bookings and avoid booking new British Airways flights for travel September 9, 10, and 27.