Business Travel Advisory
Today, travelers should continue to follow all official directives and avoid the site of a large explosion that occurred at an industrial plant in Port Neches, TX. The explosion at a petrochemicals plant in the area between Highway 366 and Park Street shattered windows and damaged homes in surrounding communities and was reportedly felt up to 30 miles away. A Mandatory Evacuation Zone is in place for residents within a half-mile radius, while a Shelter-In Place protocol has been implemented for those within a mile of the plant. Three employees at the plant were injured in the incident.
Today, passengers transiting Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport (MSP) should reconfirm flights and expect delays after approximately 25 flights were canceled due to inclement weather this morning. The facility is operating with one runway.
All Delta Shuttle flights departing LaGuardia Airport (LGA) to Boston, Chicago or Washington, DC have relocated to new gates at Terminal D. Delta will no longer operate any Shuttle operations from Terminal C. The new concourse is accessible via a pedestrian walkway on the east side of Delta’s existing Terminal D. The security checkpoint in Terminal D is being expanded to support both concourses. CLEAR lanes and TSA PreCheck have moved to the east side of security. Travelers arriving into the new gates with checked bags will claim their bags in Terminal D baggage claim.
Increased cases of West Nile Virus (WNV) have been reported, including some fatalities. Arizona is the most affected, followed by California. WNV risk is present in many areas of the United States, with outbreaks occurring each summer and lasting through autumn in some areas. The disease is spread by mosquito bites. People who spend lots of time outdoors are most at risk. Most infections do not produce symptoms, but around one in five cases develop headache and fever. Some infections can be severe with confusion or paralysis. Severe disease is more common in people over 60 years of age with underlying health conditions. There is no vaccine. Travelers should prevent infection by avoiding mosquito bites.
Today through Friday, November 29, a planned strike by drivers and maintenance workers will halt Metro Vancouver bus and SeaBus services in Vancouver. Members of the Unifor union have been involved in sporadic industrial action since the beginning of November, during a dispute over pay and working conditions; however, this will be the first system-wide shutdown if an agreement is not reached. Travelers should make alternative transportation arrangements, as authorities expect limited buses to operate during the planned walkout.
Travelers in Santiago and other urban centers should continue to anticipate and avoid anti-government protests, despite authorities announcing a constitutional referendum scheduled for April 2020. Demonstrations are likely to be well attended and disruptive, often involving roadblocks and unrest, and can pose incidental risks to bystanders. Authorities are likely to employ forceful means to disperse such protests. Government buildings, major public squares, and university campuses are likely flashpoints for unrest.
Travelers in Colombia should continue to avoid all public gatherings, as activists organize further anti-government protests despite embattled President Ivan Duque’s launch of a “national dialogue” on November 24. At least three people have been killed, and around 300 injured since unrest began during a nationwide strike on November 21 over Duque’s economic policies. Demonstrations have continued since, some of which have turned violent. Police have responded with tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse unruly protests. Main squares, including Plaza Bolivar and Parque Nacional, and well-traveled routes remain flashpoints.
An outbreak of Dengue is ongoing in Nicaragua. The disease is spread mainly by mosquito bites. It can cause a range of symptoms including fever, headache, and a rash. Some people, especially infants, pregnant women, and those who have been infected before, get a more severe form that can lead to fatal complications. Travelers should prevent infection by avoiding mosquito bites. 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.
AFRICA & THE MIDDLE EAST
Travelers in southern Africa should exercise increased vigilance ahead of and during the Christmas and New Year holiday period to mitigate crime risks. Crime rates tend to increase during this period because of various factors, including locals carrying more cash and an influx of foreign visitors, who may be targeted due to perceived wealth. Residential robberies also increase during this period. A heightened police presence should be expected in urban centers. Travelers should follow all official directives and maintain a low profile.
Today, travelers in Cairo should plan journeys accounting for local disruption during a women’s rights protest. The protest, authorized by the Ministry of Interior, is set to begin at 12:00 PM local time at Saraya Al Jazeera Square in the city’s Zamalek district. Organized by rights groups, the protest has been called in support of the protection of women’s rights ahead of an amendment to civil status legislation. Travelers should expect a heightened security presence around the protest venue.
Today and tomorrow, travelers in Guinea-Bissau should minimize movement and avoid all gatherings as a precaution following the release of the provisional results of the November 24 Presidential Election. Today, the National Election Commission announced that Domingos Simoes Pereira, the candidate for the ruling PAIGC party, had secured 40% of the vote, while runner-up Umaro Sissoco Embalo of the MADEM-G15 party gained 27%. Current President Jose Mario Vaz came fourth, with 12% of the vote. As no candidate secured more than 50% of the vote, a second round between the top two candidates will take place on December 29.
Travelers in main urban centers should monitor developments and avoid all gatherings during today’s Municipal Elections. The Independent National Electoral Commission plans to release the official results by January 14, 2020. While largescale demonstrations and electoral violence are unlikely, smaller gatherings may result in local disruption, particularly in Antananarivo.
Today, travelers in Dakar should avoid a protest by the opposition “Aar Li Nu Bokk” coalition (ANB) due to the potential for unrest. Participants will gather at 3:00 PM local time at Place de la Nation to denounce an increase in electricity tariff that is due to come into effect next month. Police have forcibly dispersed previous ANB gatherings.
On Friday, November 29, travelers in Cape Town and Johannesburg should expect local disruption around two planned “Climate Strike” protests. Participants in Cape Town will gather in front of Parliament from 12:00 PM to 2:00 PM local time, while those in Johannesburg will protest outside the Johannesburg Stock Exchange from 10:00 AM to 1:00 PM local time. The demonstrations are part of a global movement calling for stronger action on climate change. Previous similar protests have been peaceful; however, travelers should bypass affected areas to minimize delays and inconvenience.
South African Airways (SA) resumed flights from Johannesburg to Cape Town and Durban, as well as Victoria Falls. The airline had earlier resumed international services; however, an ongoing strike by SA staff over wages and job cuts persists, with participants picketing airports. Negotiations between the airline and workers’ unions are ongoing. Travelers should continue to reconfirm flight schedules before setting out.
On November 7, Ugandan officials announced that South Sudanese President Salva Kiir and opposition-leader Riek Machar had agreed to extend the November 12 transitional government formation deadline by 100 days. The extension was agreed during a meeting in Kampala amid a lack of consensus on key issues, including security arrangements and governance. The delay means that uncertainty over the political situation will persist in the immediate term, which could fuel antigovernment sentiment and prompt protests. Travelers should monitor developments closely and avoid all gatherings as a precaution.
ASIA & THE PACIFIC
Today, travelers in Guam and the Northern Mariana Islands should anticipate disruption and maintain flexible itineraries during the passage of Tropical Storm Kammuri. Yesterday, the US National Weather Service issued a Tropical Storm Warning (meaning tropical storm conditions with winds of 39 miles per hour or greater are expected) for Guam, as well as Rota, Saipan, and the Tinian islands. While Kammuri is not forecast to make landfall, it will bring heavy rain and strong winds to the affected areas today. It is then forecast to turn towards the Philippines.
Tomorrow, travelers in Hong Kong should avoid protests and plan journeys accounting for disruption in affected locations. While the gatherings are intended to be peaceful, violence, including vandalism, arson and the use of petrol bombs, remains possible, especially in the evening. Protesters may also erect roadblocks to disrupt traffic. Authorities can be expected to preemptively close Mass Transit Railway (MTR) stations or restrict rail services ahead of any potentially unruly protest.
Travelers in Dhaka should continue to expect heightened security measures after a tribunal delivered its verdict on the 2016 Holey Artisan Bakery terror attack today. Seven of the eight defendants were sentenced to death for the attack, which killed at least 22 people; however, one defendant was acquitted. The defense team is likely to appeal the decision. State authorities have been raiding suspected military hideouts throughout the country in anticipation of an attack linked to the verdict. Travelers should remain aware of their surroundings and report any suspicious behavior or items to authorities.
Today, travelers in Gurgaon should expect disruption in Hero Honda Chowk during a protest by automobile workers over the layoff of contract workers. A previous demonstration on November 22 along National Highway 48 between IMT Manesar and the Mini-Secretariat remained peaceful and was contained by authorities. Workers have been striking since November 5, and negotiations between unions and management continue. While these have eased tensions, local violence around related protests remain possible.
Today, travelers in Nur-Sultan should avoid an unauthorized demonstration at 11:00 AM local time at the EU Delegation building due to the risk of local disturbances. Mukhtar Ablyazov, the leader of the banned Democratic Choice Kazakhstan party, has called for the protest to coincide with an ongoing EU-Kazakhstan Co-Operation Council meeting, during which participants intend to discuss allegations of human rights violations. A similar protest yesterday passed off peacefully.
Travelers should avoid gatherings around the November 30 Elections due to the increased risk of politically motivated violence. Sporadic incidents of violence linked to the Parliamentary, Provincial Assembly and Local Elections have occurred in recent weeks. At least 10,000 security force personnel will be deployed around polling stations in the constituencies, offices of local election authorities and political parties, including in Kathmandu. Polling will begin at 7:00 AM local time on November 30. Travelers should avoid the vicinity of election-related facilities, polling stations, and political party offices.
Several cases of circulating vaccine-derived poliovirus type 2 (cVDPV2) have been confirmed in Mindanao and Luzon. In addition, other poliovirus strains have also been detected in some locations. These are the first cases reported in the country in 19 years. Poliovirus has also been detected in several environmental samples, including from Manila. 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 and selecting safe food and water.
Travelers in the UK and European Union (EU) should continue to monitor developments and follow all government guidelines related to the process of the UK leaving the EU, known as “Brexit.” The EU has agreed on a flexible extension date of January 31, 2020. The current negotiations come amid heightened political tensions over a British General Election, which is expected to take place in early December. 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 Durres, Lezhe, and Tirana counties should continue to exercise caution following a magnitude 6.4 earthquake that struck at 3:54 AM local time yesterday, causing damage and disruption. Today, the government declared a 30-day State of Emergency in Durres and Tirana counties to enable emergency operations. Significant damage has been reported in Durres, Thumane, and Lezhe; however, damage in Tirana itself was limited, and most businesses, including Tirana International Airport Nene Tereza (TIA), are operating normally. Travelers in affected areas should follow all official directives and plan journeys accounting for disruption.
Today, travelers undertaking road travel in France should anticipate significant disruption during scheduled protests by farmers and plan journeys accordingly. Around 1,000 farmers from neighboring regions will use tractors to block major roads in and around Paris beginning at 6:00 AM local time. Similar actions are likely to be take place nationwide. The demonstrators are protesting government policies on free trade and are demanding higher incomes.
On Friday, November 29, travelers in urban centers should plan journeys bypassing protests by environmental activists. Participants plan to disrupt the “Black Friday” commercial event by targeting retail venues. While specific protest venues have not been announced, gatherings are likely to be held in main commercial areas, such as Avenue des Champs-Elysees in Paris. The demonstrations are expected to pass off peacefully. Such gatherings in Paris are likely to be well attended, causing significant disruption.
Beginning Thursday, December 5, strikes are expected across France, primarily affecting public transportation. Cancellations and severe delays can be expected on trains, metros, buses, and trams. Demonstrations on major roads may also cause delays. Strike action by Air France (AF) ground workers may also cause disruption to air travel. Officials at Air France are monitoring the situation but have stated it is too early to determine the potential impact of this strike, should it proceed as planned. Additional protests may also be held by the Yellow Vest movement. Travelers should reconfirm all arrangements, maintain flexible itineraries, and follow all official directives.
Today, travelers in Crete should exercise caution following a magnitude 6.0 offshore earthquake at 9:23 AM local time. The quake struck 45 miles northwest of Chania at a depth of 45 miles; no Tsunami Alert was issued. No damage or casualties have been reported.
On Saturday, November 30, travelers in Budapest should plan routes bypassing a rally related to an ongoing teachers’ strike. Participants will gather at 12:00 PM local time outside the Hungarian Academy of Sciences before marching to Kossuth Lajos Square at 2:00 PM local time. The work stoppage is being observed to demand a salary increase and to denounce working conditions. The march is expected to pass off peacefully but could cause local disruption.
Today, travelers in Valletta should plan journeys bypassing anti-government protests by civic society groups. Protesters are calling for Prime Minister Joseph Muscat’s resignation over the handling of an ongoing investigation into the October 2017 murder of investigative journalist Daphne Caruana Galizia.