A gathering to commemorate the 24th death anniversary of former president Mohammad Najibullah Ahmadzai is ongoing until 13.00 (local time) on 1 October in the capital Kabul. The event is taking place at a loya jirga (tribal assembly) compound on Kabul-Paghman Road in the Bagh-e-Bala area. Supporters of the Islamist group Hizb-i-Islami Gulbuddin are protesting outside the venue against the ceremony. There is a credible risk of clashes between rival groups, while the high-profile event also presents an attractive target for militant attacks. Members should avoid the area and liaise with their security provider regarding the feasibility of movement.
Members in Hong Kong should anticipate further small gatherings over the weekend and in the coming weeks amid an improvement in the COVID-19 situation. Although the frequency of protests has decreased, activists continue to use online channels to encourage demonstrations. Several gatherings have been planned for1 October which also coincides with the National Day of the Peoples’ Republic of China. Members should monitor developments and avoid all related gatherings as a precaution.
Members in the capital Phnom Penh on 5 October should plan journeys bypassing a rally organised by the Cambodian Independent Teachers’ Association (CITA) to call for teachers’ rights. Demonstrators will gather at Freedom Park from 08.00 to 12.00 (local time) before marching to the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sport and the Office of the Prime Minister of Cambodia (locally known as the ‘Peace Palace’). The authorities have given the organisers permission for the gathering to proceed.
Members in the capital Santiago in the coming hours should avoid ongoing unruly protests near the Pedrero Metro Station and anticipate associated disruption. According to local media sources, the station has been temporarily closed amid reports of disturbances in the area.
Members should continue to anticipate and avoid protests related to the 31 October presidential election, due to the risk of unrest. Following the release of the official candidate list, former president Henri Konan Bedie (in office 1993-99) on 20 September announced the formation of a coalition opposed to President Alassane Ouattara, and called for civil disobedience. Related demonstrations in the commercial capital Abidjan (Abidjan district) on 26 September passed off peacefully. Further protests are likely despite an official ban on all gatherings. Rallies could escalate into clashes involving participants, the security forces and counter-demonstrators. Members should exercise heightened vigilance at all times.
Members in the capital Cairo and other urban centres on 2 October should avoid nationwide protests called by popular businessman and opposition figure Mohamed Ali. In Cairo, a gathering is planned at Tahrir Square after Friday prayers. Related rallies are also expected in other cities. The demonstrations have been called to denounce the policies of President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi’s government (see separate alert). The authorities are likely to pre-emptively deploy police officers to flashpoints and establish checkpoints in and around Cairo. The police are likely to arrest participants and forcibly disperse unauthorised gatherings, posing incidental risks to bystanders.
Members in urban centresover the coming daysshould avoid further anti-government demonstrations due to the risk of unrest. Demonstrators have called for fresh gatheringson 2 OctoberatTahrir Squarein the capital Cairo. Other sporadic rallies are likely in the interim. Since 20 September, protests have taken place despite heavy security force deployments in various cities, including Cairo, Alexandria (Alexandria governorate) and Aswan (Aswan governorate), as well as in rural and suburban areas. The police have used tear gas and water cannon to disperse crowds in some locations, while demonstrators have burned tyres, thrown projectiles and vandalised police vehicles.
Members in Armenia and Azerbaijan should continue to monitor developments amid ongoing clashes, which began on 27 September along the administrative boundary between Nagorno-Karabakh region and the rest of Azerbaijan. Each side blames the other for instigating the fighting and violating the ceasefire. The risk of further clashes along the administrative boundary between Nagorno-Karabakh and the rest of Azerbaijan, as well as along the international Armenia-Azerbaijan border, will remain elevated in the coming days. Members should avoid non-essential travel to these HIGH travel risk areas.
Members in Konstanz (Baden-Wurttemberg state) on 3-4 October should plan journeys bypassing protests by the 'Querdenken' (Lateral Thinking) movement against COVID-19 prevention measures. Several rival groups have announced plans to stage counter-demonstrations and there is a risk of localised scuffles and/or forcible dispersal of the gatherings. Turnout is likely to number in the thousands and any confrontations would pose incidental risks to bystanders.
Members in urban centres should exercise caution and avoid all gatherings related to the 18 October presidential elections. The opposition National Front for the Defence of the Constitution (FNDC) coalition has called for nationwide protests in the lead-up to the vote. Clashes between rival demonstrators and related incidents of vandalism were reported on 30 September in Faranah (Faranah region) and Dalaba (Mamou region). Further gatherings are expected in the capital and other urban centres, including Labe (Labe region), Nzerekore (Nzerekore region) and Boke (Boke region). Members should avoid all related gatherings due to the high risk of unrest.
Members should continue to defer all travel to India due to restrictions linked to COVID-19. International commercial flights remain suspended until at least 31 October. Certain internal restrictions have been eased from 1 October, in accordance with the latestguidelines(dubbed ‘Unlock 5.0’) issued by the authorities. However, lockdown measures within ‘containment zones’ have been extendeduntil at least 31 October. Meanwhile, repatriation flights for Indian nationals stranded abroad continue to be organised as part of the ‘Vande Bharat’ mission’s seventh phase, which began on 1 October.
Members in Indiain the coming daysshould continue to reconfirm transport arrangements and avoid further protests. Farmers' organisations and opposition political parties are protesting legislation they perceive weakens government support for the agricultural sector. Related protests took place across multiple states on 28 September, including in Karnataka, Punjab and Tamil Nadu. Several farmers’ groups plan to resume a rail blockade in Punjab indefinitelyfrom 1 October, expanding the action to also impact rail traffic to the capital New Delhi and Mumbai (Maharashtra state). The police are likely to enforce COVID-19-related restrictions and dismantle roadblocks, and could use baton charges, water cannon and tear gas to disperse demonstrators.
The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) special court on 30 September acquitted 32 defendants charged in connection with the controversial 1992 demolition of the Babri Masjid (mosque) in Ayodhya (Uttar Pradesh state). While no major demonstrations occurred during the announcement, associated protests near the CBI special court building in Lucknow (Uttar Pradesh) are possible in the coming hours. Localised bouts of communal unrest may also occur in sensitive areas and security has been heightened in urban centres such as Mumbai (Maharashtra state). Members should continue to monitor related developments and avoid all gatherings as a precaution.
Members are advised to abide by all official directives in the capital Jakarta after the government announced the reimposition of the Large Scale Social Restrictions (PSBB) since 14 September. During the PSBB, non-essential businesses must implement work-from-home measures. All entertainment venues and places of worship will be closed, while restaurants will only be allowed to serve takeouts. Additionally, private and public transport services will be restricted. The authorities are expected to announce further details related to the upcoming PSBB in the coming days. Refer to the COVID-19 information within thePandemic Information Sitefor full details of travel restrictions.
Members in the capital Tehran and other urban centers on 1 October should avoid protests in support of Azerbaijan in the conflict with Armenia over the Nagorno-Karabakh region, among other issues. Participants will gather at 17.00 (local time) at Imam Hossein Square in Tehran, Shariati Square in Ardabil (Ardabil province), Shariati intersection in Tabriz (East Azerbaijan province), the intersection of Amam Street and Ataiy Boulevard in Urmia (West Azerbaijan province) and Sabze Square in Zanjan (Zanjan province). The gatherings are liable to cause localised travel disruption. Members should plan routes bypassing the protest locations to minimise delays.
Members in the capital Baghdad and southern governorates on 1 October should avoid anti-government protests due to the risk of unrest. Activists have called for large gatherings to commemorate the one-year anniversary since the start of the anti-government protest movement and to demand justice for those who have been killed and injured in subsequent clashes. Protests are likely to be concentrated around public squares, local government buildings and university campuses. In-country members should liaise with their dedicated security provider to plan routes bypassing all gatherings to minimise the incidental risk of exposure to violence.
A roadside bomb detonated in the capital Baghdad at approximately 09.20 (local time) on 30 September near a foreign private security convoy on the intersection of Qadisiyah Expressway and Airport Road, which connects Baghdad International Airport (BGW) and the International Zone (IZ). A civilian vehicle travelling behind the convoy was reportedly impacted by the blast, injuring the driver. The attack follows an earlier incident on 15 September in which a British embassy convoy was targeted in a roadside bombing while travelling on the same road. The incidents highlight the EXTREME travel risks in the city and the need for stringent precautions.
Essential travel to Iraq – including the Kurdistan Region (KR) – can resume after undertaking an assessment of the COVID-19 situation and entry restrictions, including the potential for sudden changes. The authorities have lifted a nighttime curfew in federal Iraq. This follows the easing of several COVID-19-linked restrictions on domestic and international travel in recent weeks. Limited international flights are presently available at the country’s major airports, while the mandatory quarantine period for returning expatriates has been reduced. Refer to the COVID-19 information within the Pandemic Information Site for full details of travel restrictions.
Members should closely monitor developments over the coming weeks following a rocket attack on 30 September in the Kurdistan Region (KR). According to the local authorities, Popular Mobilisation Unit (PMU) brigades launched six rockets towards Gazna village (KR). The village is located around three miles (5km) north of Erbil International Airport (EBL, KR), where US-led coalition troops are based. No casualties were reported. The incident notably follows an earlier warning by the US that it could close its embassy in the capital Baghdad over sustained rocket attacks. Nevertheless, further rocket attacks against US military and diplomatic interests are likely in the near term.
Members in urban centresshould anticipate and avoid further protests linked to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s corruption trial and the government’s COVID-19 response. On 29 September, protesters in vehicles blocked streets surrounding the parliament building in Jerusalem to denounce new COVID-19 prevention measures, which led to scuffles with the security forces. The following day, parliament approved a controversial new law that bans people from holding protests more than 0.6 miles (1km) from their homes as part of the ongoing nationwide lockdown. While most gatherings remain generally peaceful, further localised bouts of unrest are possible, posing incidental risks to bystanders.
Members should continue to defer non-essential travel to Japan despite further easing of entry restrictions linked to COVID-19. From 1 October, certain new visa applicants (excluding tourist visas) as well those with a valid residence status are gradually allowed entry. Such travellers must present a valid visa and undergo strict procedures upon arrival, such as mandatory testing and quarantine requirements. Travellers from countries with high infection numbers are required to provide a negative COVID-19 test certificate issued within 72 hours of their departure. Members should contact the nearest Japanese embassy/diplomatic representation to seek clarifications on the new entry procedures.
The national task force committee for COVID-19 has further extended border control measures until 31 October, including an entry ban for foreigners and the suspension of tourist visas. However, diplomats, employees of international organisations, investors, individuals deemed by the government as experts, technicians and foreign workers who are crucial for major projects may be granted entry into Laos upon receiving authorisation. Additional information regarding restrictions can be found on theInternational SOS Pandemic website.
Members are reminded to avoid all travel to Mopti region after two soldiers were killed and six others were injured during an ambush between the towns of Douentza and Boni (both Mopti) on 29 September. This follows a similar attacksouth ofBoulkessyvillage (Mopti) on 23 September that killed three soldiers and injured four others. The recent attackshighlight the EXTREME travel risks associated with the region and the need to defer all travel.
Members should continue to defer travel to Myanmar, where stringent restrictions linked to the COVID-19 pandemic remain in place. The authorities have extended the suspension of international and domestic commercial passenger flightsuntil at least 31 October. A stay-at-home order remains in effect in the commercial capital Yangon (Yangon region), prohibiting non-essential movement outside residences. Refer to the COVID-19 information within thePandemic Information Sitefor full details of travel restrictions.
A traffic accident on 18 September morning caused structural damage to the Auckland Harbour Bridge in Auckland (North Island). Traffic has been restricted to two of six lanes on the bridge, which connects Auckland’s North Shore and city areas. The authorities have said that the four lanes may remain closed for several days and potentially weeks for repairs. Severe traffic congestion was reported along the Northern and Northwestern motorways. Members travelling between North Shore and Auckland city should allow plenty of time to complete journeys.
Members in urban centresover the coming daysshould anticipate disruption during anti-government protests, fuelled by a recent increase in electricity and fuel prices. Several organisations and political parties claim the rises are exacerbating the socio-economic impact of the COVID-19pandemic.Calls for protests are likely to persist and the activist Coalition for Revolution (CORE) has called for nationwide demonstrations on1 October.Meanwhile, police officials in Lagos (Lagos state) recently announced a citywide ban on all anti-government protests, warning that anyone in attendance will face prosecution. Members should avoid all related gatherings due to the risk of unrest.
Members in Jigawa state over the coming days should plan journeys accounting for disruption caused by heavy rainfall and flooding. Adverse weather in recent weeks has led to rising water levels and the consequent flooding of the Hadejia river. As of 30 September, at least 40 people had reportedly been killed in flood-related incidents, while many others residing in communities near the river had been forced to leave their homes. The worst-affected areas include Gujungu, Ringim, andHadeja, as well as the route between the Kaugama and Birniwa local government areas (all Jigawa).
Members in the capital Warsaw on 2 October should plan journeys bypassing a rally by coal miners over EU-led plans to reduce investments in the sector. Participants plan to march from Nowogrodzka to the Chancellery. The timing of the rally has yet to be announced. A large police presence is likely along the rally route amid ongoing COVID-19-related restrictions on gatherings.
Members in the capital Mogadishu in the coming hours are advised to avoid the vicinity of the Howlwadag district due to an explosion which occurred at about 10.50 (local time) on 1 October. Online reports have identified the location as the Howlwadag district, but this could be subject to change as more information becomes available. Early reports indicate the explosion was caused by a suicide bomber. Details are still emerging.
Members in Gauteng, Limpopo and Mpumalanga provinces should plan journeys accounting for weather-related travel disruption in the coming days. The South African Weather Service (SAWS) issued warnings of thunderstorms, heavy rains and localised flooding in parts of these provinces. Continuous rainfall may lead to increased road traffic accidents due to low visibility. The severe weather will also disrupt infrastructure, telecommunications and power networks in the affected areas. Members should monitor weather conditions, exercise enhanced caution and reconfirm the status of routes before setting out.
Members in Polokwane (Limpopo province) over the coming hours should reconfirm the status of routes if planning to travel via Nelson Mandela Drive, Polokwane Driveand theR521road. Traffic has been disrupted on parts of these roads after service disputes between two taxi associations led to low-level scuffles. The police are at the scene. Members should liaise with local contacts to reconfirm the road status and exercise enhanced caution.
Members in Catalonia autonomous community and particularly its regional capital Barcelona in the coming weeks should continue to anticipate further protests by the pro-independence 'Committees for the Defence of the Republic' (CDR) movement. On 28 September, activists set up roadblocks and set fire to rubbish bins to denounce a decision by the Supreme Court to ban separatist leader Quim Torra from holding public office for the next 18 months. The Constitutional Court is scheduled to review his appeal for protection on 6 October, event which could trigger further gatherings. Related demonstrations should be avoided as a precaution due to the risk of localised unrest.
Members in the capital Khartoum should avoid the central area and anticipate travel disruption due to an unruly anti-government demonstration. Protesters blocked Freedom street. Those travelling towards Omdurman should use Nile, al-Jemaa and al-Ghaba streets.
There have been no immediate reports of damage or casualties after a magnitude 5.9 offshore earthquake occurred at 12.37 (local time) on 30 September. The temblor struck 24 miles (39km) east-north-east ofYilanCounty Hall (Dongshan township, Yilan county), at a depth of 66 miles (106km), and was reportedly felt in the capital Taipei.
Essential travel to Thailand can proceed following the relaxation of travel restrictions. While the ongoing state of emergency has been further extended until 31 October, additional categories of foreign nationals, including long-stay tourists with Special Tourist Visa (STA) and holders of non-immigrant types of visa, will be allowed in the country. The authorities have also extended the visa renewal grace period for stranded foreign nationals until at least 31 October. Inbound travellers should assess the COVID-19 situation and location-specific restrictions, including the potential for short-notice changes, prior to travel.
Members should continue to defer all travel to Tonga amid ongoing COVID-19-related restrictions. The authorities extended the state of emergency until at least 20.00 (all times local) on 26 October. Meanwhile, a nationwide nightly curfew remains in place from 00.01 to 05.00. Gatherings are limited to 50 people indoors and 100 people outdoors. Refer to the COVID-19 information within the Pandemic Information Site for further details on associated restrictions.
Members in the US over the coming hours should anticipate further demonstrations related to police reform and other political issues. Although most demonstrations remain peaceful, several events in recent days have been marred by vandalism and incidents of violence. These include shootings and clashes variously involving protesters, counter-demonstrators and the police. On 29 September, demonstrators in Cleveland (Ohio state) marched in the city’s University Circle neighbourhood ahead of the day’s presidential election debate. Meanwhile, protesters in Portland (Oregon state) confronted police officers outside the Penumbra Kelly Building. Members attending demonstrations should exercise caution and maintain reliable access to communications in the event of an emergency.
Latest update: Cases rising in Midwest and several Southern states.Symptoms of COVID-19 include fever, cough and shortness of breath. Severe disease is possible. Health authorities have implemented protocols for isolation, quarantine, testing and managing people who may have been exposed to the virus. To prevent infection, pay attention to hygiene, wash hands frequently, avoid touching your face, avoid close contact with other people (keep a distance of 1-2 metres / 3-6 feet). Do not travel if you are sick.
Members in Colorado state in the coming daysshould plan journeys accounting for disruption due to ongoing wildfires in Larimer and Jackson counties (both Colorado).The Cameron Peak Fire, which started in Augustnorth-west ofFort Collins (Larimer),has burned more than 194 sq miles (502 sq km) of land and is 25% contained. It has prompted evacuation orders across Larimer, including mandatory evacuations for residents of the north-western Roach and Hohnholz regions. State Highway 14 is closed from mileposts 36 to 105 in Jackson and Larimer. TheongoingMullen Firein Wyoming state (see our related report) has also prompted voluntary evacuation orders for parts of Larimer.
Latest update: Additional cases and state affected. Several people have been confirmed with Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) in Indiana,Massachusetts, Michigan and Wisconsin. One of them died. Monitoring has shown the virus that causes EEE is present in several areas of these states. EEE is transmitted to humans through bites of infected mosquitoes. Whilst most infected people won't have any symptoms, some develop encephalitis (inflammation of the brain) which can cause permanent brain damage or be fatal. Prevent infection by avoiding mosquito bites.