Business Travel Advisory
On Saturday, January 11, travelers in Chicago should plan routes bypassing the annual anti-abortion “March for Life” rally due to the risk of local disturbances. Participants are expected to gather at 1:00 PM local time at Daley Plaza. Various groups are organizing a counter-protest near Dearborn and Washington streets at 12:00 PM local time. A heightened police presence around the gatherings is expected. Both events are likely to be well attended and will end at 3:00 PM local time. Travelers should expect road closures in the vicinity of the gatherings and allow additional time to complete journeys in order to minimize delays.
Today, travelers in Sao Paulo should anticipate local disruption around a demonstration over recent increases in public transportation fares. Participants will gather at 5:00 PM local time at Praca da Se.
Hundreds of measles cases are being identified each week across 17 states. Some fatalities have occurred. Measles is caused by a highly contagious virus that spreads from person-to-person via infected droplets. Outbreaks occur frequently in undervaccinated 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.
Tomorrow, travelers should plan journeys avoiding roadblocks expected to be erected by protesters in Villa Nueva, approximately 10 miles southwest of Guatemala City. National Civil Police officers plan to block the CA9 Highway, a key access road for Guatemala City, to demand higher salaries.
Travelers should exercise caution and avoid all gatherings linked to the political situation, which remains volatile. On January 5, Juan Guaido, the National Assemblyrecognized interim President, was prevented from entering Parliament in Caracas, where he was expecting to be re-elected. Instead, President Nicolas Maduro’s surprise candidate, Luis Parra, was appointed the new head of the National Assembly. Guaido denounced this development and held an impromptu “Parliamentary session” at the offices of the pro-opposition El Nacional newspaper in Caracas. The session was attended by opposition lawmakers who re-elected him as head of the National Assembly.
AFRICA & THE MIDDLE EAST
On Sunday, January 12, travelers in urban centers should avoid all gatherings associated with the Berber New Year as a precaution. Activist groups are calling for increased self-determination for the Berber minority ethnic group. At 11:00 AM local time, participants in Tizi Ouzou will march from the University of Tizi Ouzou to l’Ancienne Mairie. Protesters in Bejaia will march from Bejaia University to Said Mekbel Square, and activists in Bouira will march from Raffour to M’Chedallah. All marches are likely to be well attended and are expected to pass off peacefully.
Today, travelers in Conakry and other urban centers should avoid all protests related to an indefinite nationwide strike by teachers. The industrial action is being taken by the Free Union of Teachers and Researchers of Guinea over wages and benefits. Previous strikes by teachers have prompted sporadic and sometimes violent demonstrations by students calling for the resumption of classes.
Tomorrow, travelers in urban centers should anticipate heightened security and associated disruption around protests against the 2016 gas deal between Jordan and Israel. The demonstrations, which have been triggered by the first import of gas from Israel on January 2, will begin at 12:30 PM local time after Friday prayers. Related protests on January 4 were well attended and passed off peacefully.
Travelers should closely monitor developments amid increased US-Iran regional tensions. Yesterday, Iran launched more than a dozen missiles into Iraq against US-led coalition forces. Several of these targeted the Ain al-Assad Airbase, while others targeted the Kurdistan Region. There remains a risk of the Lebanese-based Shia Muslim movement Hezbollah targeting US military personnel and interests following recent remarks made by Secretary General Hassan Nasrallah on January 5. Although a renewed conflict with Israel is unlikely in the near term amid the ongoing political unrest in Lebanon, sustained regional tensions will continue to place pressure on such a scenario in the long term.
Travelers should anticipate possible disruption to road travel and distribution of essential supplies during a planned nationwide strike by local haulage companies beginning Monday, January 13. The Transporters Association of Malawi has called the industrial action to demand more business for local operators and higher fees to cover increased pay for drivers. A truckers’ strike in October 2019, which led to the introduction of a minimum wage for drivers, halted fuel deliveries and caused disruption on roads connecting Lilongwe to other urban centers. Security forces were deployed to force drivers to complete fuel deliveries.
Today, travelers in Lilongwe should anticipate a possible rally over alleged sexual assaults and avoid the affected area due to the risk of unrest. Participants led by the Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC) will march along Kamuzu Procession Road to the Lilongwe Community Ground, Paul Kagame Road, and the Area 18 Roundabout before heading to Police Headquarters in Area 30. The demonstration was originally planned for December 27 but was postponed in order to accommodate more participants. The sexual assaults being condemned were allegedly committed by local police officers; the HRDC is demanding their arrests.
Tomorrow, travelers in Bamako should avoid a planned demonstration against foreign military presence in Mali. Participants will gather at 2:00 PM local time on Boulevard de l’Independance to denounce the presence of both the UN Stabilization Mission and French military presence in the country. Previous demonstrations have descended into local unrest, including the use of tear gas to disperse groups, as well as property destruction. The demonstration is likely to be well attended.
All travel to Borno should be deferred due to high levels of Islamist militant activity. At least 20 soldiers were killed, and several others injured during a militant attack against the garrison town of Monguno on January 7. During the offensive, assailants destroyed at least 750 homes and detonated a car bomb. The attack was subsequently claimed by the Islamic State in West Africa Province (ISWAP) group.
Yesterday, officials announced that a terror suspect had been arrested during a security operation in Qatif district. Security forces also apprehended a cache of weapons and ammunition during the operation. The incident highlights the underlying threat of terrorism in Saudi Arabia, particularly in the Eastern province, as well as the capabilities of security forces to mitigate it. Travelers should continue to minimize time spent around potential targets for militant attacks.
On Tuesday, January 14, travelers in urban centers should anticipate heightened security and avoid planned demonstrations due to the risk of local disruption and unrest. Demonstrations are being held to commemorate the ninth anniversary of the 2011 uprising which led to the ouster of former President Zine el-Abidine Ben Ali. The anniversary has often been marked by protests over various socio-economic issues coupled with public discontent. In Tunis, participants will gather at 10:30 AM local time at Place Mohamed Ali. Key thoroughfares in Tunis, such as Avenue Habib Bourguiba, may be closed to traffic during the demonstrations.
ASIA & THE PACIFIC
A cluster of cases of pneumonia is under investigation in Wuhan, Hubei Province, China. Reports indicate that 59 people have been affected, and seven remain in a serious condition. The infections may have occurred in a local seafood market. The symptoms are consistent with several respiratory diseases, and pneumonia is common in the winter season. It is not yet clear if this new strain of coronavirus is the cause of illness in all of the patients who have been isolated in Wuhan, and investigations are ongoing. Early investigations excluded seasonal influenza, common causes of respiratory illness, some strains of bird flu, MERS, adenovirus, and SARS. Travelers to Wuhan should avoid infection by paying attention to general hygiene.
Travelers should continue to closely monitor ongoing bushfires through February and plan journeys accordingly. As of January 7, the 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, the Navy, and the Air Force to assist with evacuations, firefighting efforts, and 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.
A State of Disaster in Victoria, originally issued on January 3, was extended for an additional 48 hours, beginning today. The move comes amid worsening weather conditions, with high temperatures and strong winds expected to exacerbate the fire threat in the coming days. Evacuation Alerts were issued shortly afterwards for an area in northeastern Victoria, west of Mount Buffalo. Travelers should continue to follow all official directives and plan journeys accounting for Evacuation and Emergency Warnings.
Today, travelers in Pilbara and Kimberley should plan journeys accounting for residual disruption during the passage of former Tropical Cyclone Blake. According to the Bureau of Meteorology, the weather system has weakened into a tropical low and is forecast to move southwest through inland East Pilbara. Associated strong winds and heavy rain are expected in eastern Pilbara and far southwestern Kimberley during the weather system’s passage.
Today through Saturday, January 11, travelers in coastal areas of the Northern Territory state should plan journeys accounting for disruption due to the passage of a storm. The Bureau of Meteorology has forecast that a tropical low located near the Wessel Islands could intensify into a tropical cyclone today or tomorrow. On its current trajectory, the weather system is forecast to continue to move along the north coast tomorrow after having made landfall near Maningrida.
Tomorrow through January 12, as well as January 17-19, travelers in Dhaka should expect disruption and heightened security during Bishwa Ijtema, an annual gathering of Muslims. The first part of the event will be held at Bishwa Ijtema Maidan Masjid on the banks of the Turag River in Tongi from January 10-12. The second phase will take place from January 17-19. More than three million people are expected to attend the event, which is the second-largest congregation of Muslims worldwide. Heightened security measures will be in force, including the deployment of security force personnel and the implementation of road closures and access restrictions.
Travelers in urban centers avoid further demonstrations over an attack on January 5 at the Jawaharlal Nehru University in New Delhi. Today, supporters of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) will participate in a “motorcycle rally” at 9:00 AM local time in New Delhi. Participants will start from the BJP office, passing through Mandi House, the Inter State Bus Terminal, Britannia Chowk, and subsequently returning to the BJP office. The event may disrupt traffic along its route.
Travelers in urban centers should avoid further demonstrations related to the contentious Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA) due to the potential for local disturbances. Fresh gatherings are planned today and tomorrow in New Delhi, Jaipur, Pune, Kolkata, and Hyderabad. Protests are also likely elsewhere in the country. Travelers should reconfirm the status of routes before setting out and allow additional time for journeys.
Today through Saturday, January 11, passengers transiting Amami Airport (ASJ) should continue to reconfirm flights after normal flight operations at the airport resumed today, following the reopening of the facility’s runway. A few flight arrivals and departures scheduled for today remain canceled. The airport’s runway, currently operational, was closed yesterday after an incident with a commuter passenger aircraft. The January 8 incident is being investigated by the country’s Transportation Safety Board. Travelers should reconfirm flight schedules as residual delays and cancellations remain possible.
Travelers in urban centers should expect further demonstrations over the killing of a senior Iranian commander in a US airstrike in Baghdad on January 2-3 and avoid all such gatherings as a precaution. The incident triggered protests on January 3 and 5 in Islamabad, Karachi, and Lahore. Related gatherings will be tightly policed and will have the potential to degenerate into unrest. Travelers should monitor US-Iran diplomatic tensions for any further escalations, which would trigger intensified protest activity, and remain alert to the risk of potential attacks on US personnel and interests.
Today, 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.
On Sunday, January 12, travelers in Bangkok should plan routes bypassing two rival political campaigns to minimize delays. The first is a running event organized by the opposition Future Forward Party (FFP). Supporters of FFP will gather at Wachirabenchathat Park in the Chatuchak district at 4:30 AM local time for a run, which is scheduled to end at 9:00 AM local time. Supporters of the country’s Prime Minister, Prayut Chan-o-cha, will gather at Lumphini Park in Pathum Wan district for a walking event beginning at 6:30 AM local time. While both gatherings are likely to be peaceful, local travel disruption, including road closures, is likely.
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 Paris and other urban centers should avoid fresh nationwide protests against controversial pension reforms. In Paris, participants will gather at Place de la Republique at 1:30 PM local time before marching towards Place Saint-Augustin. Several labor unions have organized the demonstrations as part of ongoing industrial action. Well-attended protests over the issue have previously led to looting and scuffles between attendees and police; any repetition would pose incidental risks to bystanders. Further rallies have been announced for Saturday, January 11, though specific details are not yet available.
On Sunday, January 12, travelers in Berlin should anticipate local disruption around a demonstration to commemorate the 101st anniversary of the murder of two communist leaders. Left-wing activists will gather at 10:00 AM local time at the Frankfurter Tor metro station before marching towards the Friedrichsfelde socialist memorial. The annual event is likely to be well attended and pass off peacefully.
Today, 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.
Travelers should continue to anticipate disruption to air and road travel and maintain flexible itineraries due to ongoing poor weather conditions. On January 7-8, heavy snowfall and stormy weather conditions resulted in the delay and cancellation of several flights at Reykjavik’s Keflavik International Airport (KEF) as well as disruption to cross-country buses, with roads becoming impassable. Disruption to the airport’s operations and other transportation services is expected to continue today.
Tomorrow through January 25, travelers should plan journeys accounting for transportation disruption during strikes by several Italian unions. The most significant impact will be on Tuesday, January 14 during a 24-hour nationwide strike by air traffic controllers and shorter walkouts by other aviation workers. Airports most likely to be affected are Rome Fiumicino (FCO) and Rome Ciampino (CIA), Bologna Guglielmo Marconi (BLQ), Reggio Calabria (REG), Ancona (AOI), Perugia (PEG), and Pescara Abruzzo (PSR). Traffic disruption is likely in Bologna tomorrow and in Rome on Monday, January 13 during a taxi and public transportation strikes.
Today, a magnitude 6.3 earthquake struck 253 miles southwest of Anadyr in Chukotka Autonomous Okrug at 8:38 PM local time. According to the US Geological Survey, the tremblor struck at a depth of six miles.