Business Travel Advisory
Today, travelers in Sao Paulo should plan journeys bypassing a planned demonstration over recent increases in public transportation fares. Demonstrators plan to assemble at 5:00 PM local time at City Hall.
Travelers in Puerto Rico should continue to exercise caution following a magnitude 6.5 earthquake which struck at 4:24 AM local time today. The US Geological Survey reported that it struck offshore, three miles southwest of Tallaboa at a depth of six miles. Two aftershocks were reported at 4:34 AM and 7:28 AM local time; one with a magnitude of 5.6, five miles south of Tallaboa at a depth of six miles; the second was a magnitude 5.8, one mile south of Indios at a depth of three miles. No Tsunami Warning was issued.
AFRICA & THE MIDDLE EAST
Tomorrow through Friday, January 10, travelers in urban centers should anticipate gatherings associated with a three-day strike by the public sectors union after the collapse of negotiations with the government. The walkout is linked to the nonpayment of bonuses and indemnities since 2016. Related demonstrations are possible, particularly in Ndjamena, though such events are systematically banned by authorities. Security forces may use heavy-handed measures to disperse protesters, posing incidental risks to bystanders.
Travelers in Comoros should monitor developments in the lead-up to the January 19 Legislative Elections. Campaigning for the 24 members of the Assembly of the Union will end on January 17. Four major political parties have announced they will boycott the elections due to President Azali Assoumani’s alleged increasing authoritarianism. Gatherings may be organized by both the campaigning parties and by opposition groups denouncing the election. Tensions are most likely on Anjouan Island, particularly in Mutsamudu and Moroni. Security forces may disperse protesters with live ammunition and tear gas.
Travelers should monitor developments following international reports on January 5 that Iranian authorities would no longer abide by the nuclear enrichment limitations outlined under the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action. The development coincided with escalating US-Iran tensions following the recent killing of Qassem Soleimani, a senior figure in Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps during a US airstrike in Baghdad. Travelers should anticipate a heightened security force presence and enhanced scrutiny by authorities, especially towards US Nationals or those perceived to be linked to the US and its allies. All gatherings should be avoided as a precaution.
Today, travelers in Basra are advised to reconfirm the feasibility of movements due to a planned funeral procession for Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, a senior leader of the Iraqi Popular Mobilization Units. Road closures will be in place between 7:00 AM and 12:00 PM local time around Manawi Al Basha, near Abu Al-Khaseeb district, where al-Muhandis was born. Participants are expected to gather at 8:00 AM local time at Al-Tayran Square in Basra. Simultaneous gatherings across the province are also possible and are likely to be well attended. Travelers should strictly avoid all gatherings. All travel to Baghdad should be deferred through Friday, January 10. While tensions remain heightened amid persistent anti-government unrest and following a US airstrike on January 2-3 near Baghdad International Airport (BGW), the risk of retaliatory attacks is particularly likely against US diplomatic and military interests located in Baghdad and central Iraq.
All travel to Libya should be deferred following an increase in foreign support to the rival Government of National Accord (GNA) and Libyan National Army (LNA). Clashes between forces loyal to each faction have recently intensified in southern areas of Tripoli and Misrata. Flights at Tripoli’s Mitiga International Airport (MJI) have been suspended since January 4 and have reportedly been transferred to Misrata International Airport (MRA). Travelers should continue to monitor developments amid increased inflammatory remarks and posturing from opposing regional parties.
Travelers should plan journeys accounting for disruption caused by heavy rainfall and flooding. The Department of Climate Change and Meteorological Services has warned that flash floods are likely to affect low-lying areas in the Central and Southern regions as well as areas close to the shorelines of Lake Malawi. Lilongwe, urban centers in the Central region, and areas close to Lake Malawi’s shorelines have recently been hit by flooding due to heavy rainfall. Travelers should reconfirm the feasibility of overland journeys before setting out.
Outbreaks of yellow fever have been reported in several states, particularly in the north. Yellow fever is a potentially severe viral illness spread via mosquito bites. It can be prevented through vaccination and by avoiding mosquito bites. All travelers over 9 months old are recommended to be vaccinated and are required to have proof of yellow fever vaccination to enter the country.
On Saturday, January 11, travelers in Saint-Pierre should plan journeys bypassing a protest called by the Yellow Vest movement to minimize disruption. The rally will be held outside the Town Hall at 9:00 AM local time and is being organized as part of an ongoing protest campaign against pension reforms by public sector and transportation unions in France since December 5.
There is a dengue outbreak in Kassala and several other states. 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.
ASIA & THE PACIFIC
The risk of retaliatory violence by Iran or one of its proxies occurring in Afghanistan in response to a recent US airstrike in Baghdad is low. Following the airstrike killed Qassem Soleimani, the Commander of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps-Quds Force, Afghan leaders have called for continued international co-operation in Afghanistan and warned against the development negatively affecting the country’s stability. The Taliban have not issued a statement on the incident.
Travelers should continue to closely monitor ongoing bushfires through February and plan journeys accordingly. As of today, bushfires have killed at least 25 people and burned more than 6.3 million hectares of forest and parks. The government has deployed more than 3,000 officers from the Australian Defense Force, Navy, and Air Force to assist with evacuations, firefighting efforts, and delivery of supplies. Travelers should follow all official directives and be prepared to defer or change travel plans at short notice, especially for journeys to non-urban areas.
Today, travelers in Phnom Penh should expect heightened security and associated disruption during Victory Day celebrations. The event at the Diamond Island Convention and Exhibition Center will commemorate the 41st anniversary of the end of the Khmer Rouge regime. Authorities expect up to 100,000 people to attend the celebration, which will be addressed by Prime Minister Hun Sen. While more than 3,000 security force personnel will be deployed in the area, the presence of a large crowd means there is an increased risk of opportunistic crime.
Tomorrow, travelers should anticipate disruption during a nationwide shutdown strike by trade unions and avoid all related protests. Several farmers’ organizations, public sector bank unions, and at least 10 trade unions support the planned strike, which has been called over the alleged anti-labor policies of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)-led government. Associated gatherings are expected to be well observed nationwide, particularly in major urban centers including New Delhi, Mumbai, and Bangalore. Protesters are likely to gather around government buildings and may block highways. Travelers should reconfirm all transportation arrangements.
Travelers in Aceh province should continue to exercise caution following a magnitude 6.2 offshore earthquake which struck at 1:05 PM local time today. No casualties were reported in the earthquake which struck 10 miles southwest of Sinabang in Simeuleu regency at a depth of 13 miles. Minor structural damages to buildings, including the shattering of glass windows, were reported in Sinabang. Tremors were also felt in Medan, where some buildings were reportedly evacuated following the earthquake. Travelers in affected areas should follow all official directives.
On Thursday, January 9, travelers in Manila should expect road disruption due to the Feast of the Black Nazarene, when a statue of Jesus Christ is carried in a procession through the city’s streets. More than six million Roman Catholics from across the country are expected to attend the traditional procession from Quirino Grandstand in Rizal Park to the Minor Basilica of the Black Nazarene. Heightened security measures can be expected around the route of the procession. Travelers should maintain flexible itineraries to minimize inconvenience.
Today, passengers transiting Sabiha Gokcen International Airport (SAW) should reconfirm the status of flights due to ongoing disruption after a Pegasus Boeing 737 plane skidded off a runway at approximately 9:00 AM local time today. Flights have been temporarily suspended through 3:00 PM local time, and some inbound flights have been diverted. Further disruption is possible due to severe winds in Istanbul. Travelers are advised to reconfirm flight schedules before setting out.
Today and tomorrow, travelers in Istanbul should anticipate disruption associated with adverse weather conditions. The Turkish General Directorate of Meteorology has warned of heavy rainfall and flash flooding in the coming days. Yesterday, poor weather conditions resulted in a number of flight cancellations at Istanbul Airport (IST), as well as the suspension of some ferry services by Istanbul’s fast ferry provider iDO.
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. 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 Vienna should plan routes bypassing a protest in front of Parliament. Activists from the right-wing “The Austrians” movement will gather at 5:30 PM local time to denounce the political program of the newly-formed federal government.
Tomorrow through Friday, January 10, passengers transiting French airports should anticipate disruption and reconfirm their flights during a nationwide strike by air traffic controllers. The industrial action will begin at 7:00 PM local time tomorrow and conclude at 6:30 AM local time on Friday, January 10. While Air France will maintain its entire flight schedule tomorrow, the airline has warned of disruption to its short- and medium-haul services on Thursday, January 9. The work stoppage, which has been called by the USAC-CGT union, is linked to ongoing protests against pension reforms. Associated strikes have prompted the cancellation of hundreds of flights.
On Thursday, January 9, travelers in Paris and other urban centers should avoid renewed nationwide protests denouncing controversial pension reforms. In Paris, participants are due to gather at Place de la Republique at 1:30 PM local time. Several labor unions have organized the demonstrations as part of an ongoing industrial action. Well-attended protests over the issue have previously led to looting and scuffles between attendees and police, and any repetition would pose incidental risks to bystanders. Further rallies have been announced for Saturday, January 11.
On Thursday, January 9, travelers in Athens should anticipate disruption and possible unrest during a demonstration beginning at the University of Athens Central Building. Participants are due to gather at 6:30 PM local time to commemorate the 1991 assassination of a prominent left-wing professor and labor activist, and will then proceed to Parliament. Related gatherings in recent years were well attended. Leftist and anti-fascist demonstrations in Athens frequently lead to scuffles between participants and police, posing incidental risks to bystanders.
Today, passengers transiting Reykjavik-Keflavik International Airport (KEF) should reconfirm international flights scheduled to arrive or depart through 8:00 PM local time due to inclement weather.