Business Travel Advisory
Tomorrow, travelers in urban centers should plan journeys avoiding all gatherings called by supporters and opponents of former President Evo Morales. In La Paz, opponents of Morales will rally at the Plaza San Francisco at 6:00 PM local time. Morales’ party, the Movimiento al Socialismo (MAS), has said it will make a major announcement in El Alto tomorrow. Rallies in support of this event are expected. Associated demonstrations may also occur in other urban centers.
Today, travelers in Guatemala City should expect disruption and heightened security during the presidential inauguration of Alejandro Giammattei. Security will be particularly tight around the Congress of Guatemala, where the inauguration is set to begin at 9:00 AM local time. Afterwards, the new President will be sworn in at the Miguel Angel Asturias Cultural Center. Traffic disruption and road closures are expected in Zone 1, 4, 9, 10, and 14. Several heads of state will attend the event, which will also attract large numbers of spectators.
On Friday, January 17, travelers in Tlalnepantla and Toluca should plan journeys avoiding protests against a recent increase in public transportation fares. Demonstrations will be held at 3:00 PM local time in Tlalnepantla at the Corpus Christi Cathedral, as well as in Toluca at the Cosmovitral building. The protests are likely to be well attended and could turn unruly. On January 9, associated protests devolved into roadblocks and clashes between police and demonstrators.
Today, travelers should exercise caution and avoid all gatherings called by Juan Guaido, the National Assembly-recognized interim President. In Caracas, Guaido supporters will gather at the National Assembly building. In response, followers of President Nicolas Maduro have called for a “Peace March” that is expected to conclude at the National Assembly. Smaller protests throughout the country are likely outside government buildings, at main squares, and along roads in urban centers. The presence of opposing groups may provoke clashes; security forces may forcibly disperse protests, posing incidental risks to bystanders.
AFRICA & THE MIDDLE EAST
A meningitis outbreak has been reported in the Alibori department. Meningococcal disease is a serious bacterial infection that can be rapidly life-threatening. Anyone can be affected, although it is more common in infants, teenagers, and young adults. It spreads from person-to-person via infected droplets. Symptoms usually include fever, intense headache, neck stiffness, sensitivity to light, vomiting, confusion, and a characteristic rash. It must be urgently treated with antibiotics. People who have been in close contact must be given antibiotics promptly to prevent them from getting sick. Travelers should prevent infection through vaccination and paying attention to hygiene.
Outbreaks of cholera have been reported in several areas. 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 accommodations with access to safe food and water are at low risk. Travelers should ensure food and water are safe for consumption and consider vaccination if likely to encounter unsanitary conditions.
On January 11-12, at least seven civilians were killed during fighting in the Salamabila area of Kabambare between the Congolese Army (FARDC) and the Mai-Mai (community-based) Malaika militia. The latter reportedly attacked soldiers stationed in the community after a new local FARDC commander was appointed.
On Friday, January 17, travelers in urban centers should anticipate local disruption around protests called by Martin Fayulu of the opposition Lamuka coalition. These are being held over the spate of attacks by the Uganda-based Allied Democratic Forces (ADF) on civilians in North Kivu province. In Kinshasa, participants will gather at 8:00 AM local time at Place Pascale before arriving at the Echangeur de Limete at 3:00 PM local time.
Ongoing measles outbreaks have been reported nationwide. 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.
Tomorrow and Thursday, January 16, travelers should exercise increased vigilance during the first anniversary of the terrorist attack on the DusitD2 Hotel in Nairobi. Security is likely to be heightened during this period, which also coincides with the fourth anniversary of a significant attack on Kenyan troops in al-Adde, Somalia. Local memorials and vigils are possible around both events, though no official commemorations have been announced.
Travelers in Mombasa should anticipate potentially disruptive demonstrations on Mondays by transportation industry workers and civil society groups. Campaigners have resumed weekly protests against an earlier government directive specifying that all long-distance bulk cargo from Mombasa Port be transported by rail. Yesterday, a related march from Uhuru Garden to Mombasa’s port caused significant traffic disruption. Police used tear gas to disperse the crowd and arrested several participants. Travelers should plan routes bypassing all such demonstrations due to the risk of local unrest and inconvenience.
On Wednesday, January 16, travelers in urban centers should avoid planned opposition protests due to the potential for unrest. The Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC) civil society group has announced nationwide protests calling for the Head of Malawi Electoral Commission, Jane Ansah, to resign amid allegations of electoral fraud. In Lilongwe, demonstrators will gather between 12:00 PM and 5:30 PM local time and march from Lilongwe Community Ground to Capital Hill. Unrest has occurred during previous related demonstrations. Travelers should plan routes avoiding the rallies as a precaution.
Tomorrow, travelers in Maputo should anticipate heightened security and associated disruption around the inauguration ceremony of incumbent President Filipe Nyusi. The event will take place at Independence Square. Road closures and diversions can be expected in the vicinity. The ceremony will be attended by heads of state and delegates. Former rebel opposition group Renamo has threatened to hold protests during the event following its rejection of the October 2019 General and Provincial Election results. Travelers should avoid all related gatherings as a precaution.
Today, travelers in Khartoum are advised to avoid the vicinity of a security force installation located in the northern Kafouri area the city. Reports indicate that members of separate security force branches have exchanged gunfire at the facility. Roads in the immediate vicinity have been blocked.
Today, travelers in urban centers should anticipate heightened security and avoid planned demonstrations due to the risk of local disruption and unrest. These 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.
United Arab Emirates
Today through Thursday, January 16, travelers in the United Arab Emirates should plan journeys accounting for further weather-related disruption from forecast rainfall across multiple emirates, including Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Fujairah, Ras alKhaimah, and Sharjah. Local flooding and strong winds are possible. Heavy rain on January 11 caused local flooding and flight cancellations and delays at Dubai International Airport (DXB). Travelers should reconfirm the status of roads before setting out and anticipate residual disruption even after weather conditions improve.
ASIA & THE PACIFIC
Today, travelers in Dhaka should plan routes bypassing a rally over the recent killing of a senior Iranian Commander in a US airstrike in Baghdad. Left-wing groups have called for a rally at 11:00 AM local time, during which participants will proceed from the National Press Club to the US Embassy in the Baridhara area. Any attempt by security forces to break up the march could cause unrest, posing incidental risks to bystanders.
Today, travelers in Dhaka should plan journeys avoiding a gathering outside the Election Commission headquarters by the Bangladesh Chhatra Oikya Parishad (BCOP) student group. BCOP is demanding a change to the date of the Dhaka North and Dhaka South City Corporation Elections, currently scheduled for January 30, which coincides with a Hindu religious holiday. While the event is likely to pass off peacefully, low-level scuffles involving demonstrators, security forces, and supporters of rival political groups are possible. Any such disturbances could pose an incidental risk to bystanders.
From January 17-19, travelers in Dhaka should expect disruption and heightened security during Bishwa Ijtema, an annual gathering of Muslims. 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 should anticipate disruption and maintain flexible itineraries during the ongoing winter season, which usually lasts through February. Yesterday, flights at Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport (DAC), which serves Dhaka, were suspended for almost six hours due to fog and associated poor visibility. Such conditions could also disrupt road journeys; travelers should reconfirm the status of routes and transportation before setting out.
Travelers should expect protests linked to the Indonesia-China maritime border dispute in the South China Sea. Diplomatic tensions have eased following the December 2019 incursion of state-escorted Chinese fishing boats into waters around the Natuna Islands claimed by both countries. While Chinese vessels have retreated to the edge of Indonesia’s Exclusive Economic Zone to the north of the Natuna Sea, they continue to patrol these waters. Despite the de-escalation of tensions, the dispute might still encourage nationalist or religious groups in Indonesia to hold related protests, though the likelihood of such activity targeting Chinese interests and personnel is very low.
Travelers in the Calabarzon and National Capital regions, including Metro Manila, should anticipate disruption and maintain flexible itineraries due to increased activity at the Taal Volcano. Manila’s Ninoy Aquino International Airport (MNL) continues to experience residual disruption following its closure on January 12. The Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology continues to maintain the volcano at Alert Level 4 (the second-highest level on a five-tier scale) as it is still spewing ash, lava, and steam. This means a hazardous eruption is possible within hours or days. Authorities continue to urge the evacuation of areas within a nine-mile radius of the volcano’s crater.
Travelers should expect gatherings and associated disruption following the release of the results of the January 11 Presidential and Legislative Elections. Incumbent President Tsai Ing-wen from the ruling Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) secured more than 57% of the votes. While related events are expected to be peaceful and take place amid heightened security, minor scuffles between rival supporters are possible.
High levels of air pollution are being reported in Bangkok and northern Thailand. Polluted air can cause symptoms such as wheezing, coughing, shortness of breath, and irritation of the eyes or nose. Young children, the elderly, pregnant women, and people with underlying heart or lung disease are particularly vulnerable. To lessen the risk of potential health problems, travelers should reduce exposure by decreasing time and physical activity outdoors.
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 through Thursday, January 16, travelers in urban centers should avoid fresh union protests against controversial pension reforms due to the risk for unrest. Previous related demonstrations have been well attended, with approximately 149,000 protesters gathering nationwide on January 11, including at least 21,000 in Paris. Despite a concession by the Prime Minister to remove a “pivotal age” for retirement, other contested points remain. While unions such as the CFDT and UNSA have welcomed the move, the main CGT trade union continues to demand the full withdrawal of pension reforms.
On Saturday, January 18, travelers in Athens should plan journeys avoiding an anti-government protest called by an anarchist group as a precaution. Participants are due to gather at Kaniggos Square at 6:30 PM local time to demand social change and highlight socio-economic grievances. Recent gatherings called by the organizers were forcibly dispersed by police.
Today and tomorrow, travelers should anticipate disruption and exercise caution due to strong winds and blowing snow associated with the passage of Storm Brendan. The Icelandic Association for Search and Rescue has warned of “no travel conditions” today. Orange Wind Warnings (second-highest on a three-tier scale) have been issued by the Icelandic Met Office for large portions of the country, while Yellow Warnings (third-highest) are in place for several areas. High Avalanche Danger Alerts (stage four of five) have been issued for western and northern areas.
Today through January 25, travelers should anticipate disruption during strikes by several transportation unions. Air traffic controllers will observe a four-hour nationwide strike from 1:00 PM to 5:00 PM local time today; additional walkouts are planned by other aviation workers. Airports most likely to be affected are Rome Fiumicino (FCO), Rome Ciampino (CIA), Bologna Guglielmo Marconi (BLQ), Reggio Calabria (REG), Ancona (AOI), Perugia (PEG), and Pescara Abruzzo (PSR).