Members on essential travel to the capital Kabul are reminded of the city's EXTREME travel risk rating following an explosion at the Kabul Dubai Wedding Hall along Darulaman Road on 17 August in the Police District (PD) 6. According to local reports, the explosion occurred at approximately 10.40 (local time) during a wedding. At least 40 people have been killed and over 100 others injured.
North Korea fired two projectiles, later identified as short-range ballistic missiles, on 16 August from a site near Tongchon (Kangwon province) into the Sea of Japan (East Sea). This came amid an ongoing joint US-South Korean military exercise, following South Korean calls for peace talks as well as the observation of National Liberation Day of Korea on 15 August. The launches are viewed as an attempt to pressure the US to restart denuclearisation talks. An overall deterioration in the travel security environment on the Korean peninsula and the wider region remains unlikely. However, members should continue to monitor developments in coming weeks.
Members in Hong Kong on 18 August should avoid anti-extradition bill protests due to the potential for unrest. Protesters will march at 14.00 (local time) from Tsing Yi island to Tsuen Wan (Western New Territories). Another march, organised by the Civil Human Rights Front (CHRF), is planned at 14.30 from Victoria Park to Chater Garden (Hong Kong island). There is a credible potential for violence at marches, especially those organised by the CHRF, which typically attract a large turn-out. Clashes are also particularly likely around police stations and government buildings, and when protesters march beyond permitted routes or refuse to disperse.
Members in major urban centres, including the capital Canberra, Adelaide (South Australia state), Brisbane (Queensland state), Melbourne (Victoria state), Perth (Western Australia state) and Sydney (New South Wales state), should plan journeys avoiding further gatherings related to ongoing protests in Hong Kong. A rally will be held in Sydney at Belmore Park on 18 August at 14.30. Turnout at future rallies will likely be in the hundreds. While most demonstrations are expected to pass off peacefully, scuffles between rival groups are possible, as evidenced at a rally on 16 August outside of State Library Victoria in Melbourne.
Members in urban centres on 25 August should anticipate disruption and reconfirm the status of routes during planned nationwide anti-corruption rallies. These will take place at key squares and thoroughfares and are likely to be well attended.
Members in Montreal (Quebec province) on 18 August should anticipate localised disruption around a lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) pride parade and a rally related to ongoing protests in Hong Kong. The parade is scheduled for 13.00 (all times local) beginning at the intersection of Rene-Levesque Boulevard and Metcalfe Street, and proceeding east to the corner of Alexandre-DeSeve Street. The Hong Kong-related demonstration will begin at 12.45 at Parc Aristide-Beaugrand-Champagne, along the parade’s route (see map). While both events are expected to pass off peacefully, a Hong Kong-related rally on 17 August in Toronto (Ontario province) resulted in low-level skirmishes between rival demonstrators.
Latest update: additional cases reported. 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 travellers should ensure they are fully immunised against measles.
Latest update: Cases in South Kivu. An outbreak of Ebola continues in the provinces of North Kivu and Ituri, leading to the declaration of a Public Health Emergency of International Concern (PHEIC) on 17 July 2019. Additionally, two cases have been confirmed in South Kivu. Key response activities continue to be challenged by security issues. International SOS is monitoring the situation closely. Ebola is spread by contact with the blood or other bodily fluids (including vomit and diarrhoea) of infected or dead people. Healthcare workers, household members and people participating in traditional funeral practices (touching the body) are at high risk. Continue to defer non-essential travel to affected areas. Prevent infection by paying strict attention to hygiene, and avoiding contact with blood and body fluids. Do not participate in traditional funerals. Do not go to health facilities where Ebola patients are being treated.
Latest update: further cases in additional affected areas. Polio cases due to strains of "circulating vaccine-derived poliovirus type 2" (cVDPV2) have been reported in many provinces. The cVDPV strain can emerge in under-vaccinated populations. Polio is a contagious viral illness that causes paralysis and death. The infection is spread through ingestion of contaminated food or water, or directly from an infected person. Prevent infection by ensuring polio vaccination is up to date.
Members in urban centres on 21 August should anticipate localised disruption and heightened security during commemorations of civil society protests forcibly suppressed by the Soviet Union in August 1968 and 1969. In the capital Prague, the anniversary will be marked with a march organised by the Million Moments for Democracy campaign. Participants will gather at 18.00 (local time) in Wenceslas Square before marching to Hradcany Square. Previous events organised by the group were well-attended.
At least four people were killed and several others injured on 15 August in the town of Wuchale (South Wollo zone, Amhara state) during clashes between the police and protesting youths. According to local reports, the protest was being held to demand that land designated for the construction of residential houses not be given to government workers in the town. Members conducting journeys through Wuchale in the coming days should anticipate a heightened security presence and avoid all gatherings due to the credible risk of further clashes between protestors and the police.
Members due to travel with Ryanair in the coming weeks should anticipate disruption and reconfirm flights during a series of planned strikes by Ryanair employees over working conditions and announced layoffs. Crew members in Portugal will strike on 21-25 August, Ireland-based pilots on 22-23 August, UK-based pilots on 22-23 August and 2-4 September and Spain-based employees on 1, 2, 6, 8, 13, 15, 20, 22, 27 and 28 September. The walkouts may be called off at short notice following successful negotiations.
Members in urban centres should avoid weekly protests on Saturdays by the Yellow Vests ('Gilets Jaunes', GJ) movement due to the risk of localised unrest. The next gatherings are scheduled for 17 August. In the capital Paris, participants will march from 14.00 (local time) from Place des Fetes towards Place de la Republique (see map below). Related protests on 10 August mostly passed off without major incident and with only a few hundred participants. However, the police used tear gas to disperse protesters marching towards the main square (the Capitole) in Toulouse (Occitanie region), where gatherings have been banned by the authorities. Two people were injured.
Latest update: outbreak ongoing. An epidemic of dengue is ongoing in Tahiti. Few other islands are also affected. The disease is spread by mosquitoes, and is present in both rural and urban areas. Dengue can cause a range of symptoms and has no particular treatment. Some people, especially those who have been infected before, get a more severe form that can lead to fatal complications. 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 travelling in areas with high levels of dengue transmission. Prevent infection by avoiding mosquito bites.
Members in the capital Libreville should expect further demonstrations demanding an inquiry into the health of President Ali Bongo Ondimba. The Court of Appeal of Libreville on 26 Augustis due to hear a petition calling for the leader to undergo an independent physical examination. Related protests are likely on the day. Furthermore, weekly protests have been called for Wednesdays by the 'Call to Action' group, which includes the opposition Gabonese Patriotic Front (FPG) and several unions. Members should plan journeys bypassing such rallies to minimise travel delays.
Members should continue to defer all travel to Kashmir valley and parts of Jammu region in the coming days, despite the announcement of a partial easing of restrictions imposed in affected areas. There have been sporadic demonstrations in Kashmir valley since the government’s decision to revoke constitutional articles granting the region’s autonomous status. On 16 August, the government announced that limitations on movement and communication will be relaxed in the coming days, barring any incidents of unrest. Further lifting of security measures is liable to spark unruly protests targeting security installations, personnel and administrative premises.
Latest update: outbreak ongoing. A surge in cases of dengue has been reported across the country. The disease is spread by mosquitoes, and is present in both rural and urban areas. Dengue can cause a range of symptoms and has no particular treatment. Some people, especially those who have been infected before, get a more severe form that can lead to fatal complications. 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 travelling in areas with high levels of dengue transmission. Prevent infection by avoiding mosquito bites.
Flights resumed at the capital Tripoli’s Mitiga International Airport (MJI) on 16 August following an earlier suspension of operations amid shelling allegedly by the Libyan National Army (LNA). The airport has in recent months been subject to intermittent disruption due to an ongoing LNA offensive aimed at seizing control of Tripoli. Operations were previously suspended on 15 August due to shelling; one person was reportedly killed and several others injured. During such periods, flights are either cancelled or diverted to Misrata International Airport (MRA, Misrata district). Members remaining in Libya should expect intermittent disruption to flights at the airport.
Latest update: increasing trend continues. An increase in dengue activity continues, particularly on the Malay Peninsula, although East Malaysia is also affected. The disease is spread by mosquitoes, and is present in both rural and urban areas. Dengue can cause a range of symptoms and has no particular treatment. Some people, especially those who have been infected before, get a more severe form that can lead to fatal complications. 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 travelling in areas with high levels of dengue transmission. Prevent infection by avoiding mosquito bites.
Latest update: increase in cases. Locally acquired cases of dengue fever have been reported in Mayotte. Dengue is spread by mosquitoes, and is present in both rural and urban areas. It can cause a range of symptoms and has no particular treatment. Some people, especially those who have been infected before, get a more severe form that can lead to fatal complications. 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 travelling in areas with high levels of dengue transmission. Prevent infection by avoiding mosquito bites.
Members in the capital Mexico City as well as Morelos, Puebla, and Tlaxcala states should plan journeys in the coming days accounting for possible disruption. This is due to increased activity at the Popocatepetl volcano, around 56 miles (90km) south-east of the capital. According to the National Centre for Prevention of Disasters (CENAPRED), the volcano on 17 August emitted ash plumes reaching 22,000 feet (6,700 metres) above sea level. While no evacuation orders have been issued, a yellow alert (second-highest on a three-tier scale) is in place. This means people near the volcano need to remain alert and prepare for potential evacuation.
An unruly protest is ongoing late on 16 August at a police station on Calle Florencia in the capital Mexico City. Protesters have reportedly vandalised the premises.
Reports on 13 August indicated that two armed criminals robbed guests at a hotel in the popular tourist destination of Bacalar (Quintana Roo state). The perpetrators reportedly accessed the hotel via Lake Bacalar on the night of 11 August; no one was injured. Reports suggest that the suspects fled towards Chetumal (Quintana Roo). The incident highlights the risks posed by crime in tourist areas, including Quintana Roo, and the need for precautions.
Members in Zacatecas (Zacatecas state) on 17 August should anticipate disruption during a planned demonstration against abortion and gay marriage.The march will begin at 17.00 (local time) at the Engineering Schoolof the Autonomous University of Zacatecas and continue on to theState Congress. Approximately 5,000 participants are expected to attend. A heightened security presence should be expected in the vicinity of the march.
An outbreak of dengue fever is underway in Yap. The disease is spread by mosquitoes, and is present in both rural and urban areas. Dengue can cause a range of symptoms and has no particular treatment. Some people, especially those who have been infected before, get a more severe form that can lead to fatal complications. 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 travelling in areas with high levels of dengue transmission. Prevent infection by avoiding mosquito bites.
An increase in leptospirosis cases has been recorded in Yap state. The bacterial disease is mainly spread through contaminated water entering the body through the skin or mucous membranes (eyes, nose, or mouth). Symptoms are often mild and flu-like, but the infection can be severe. Untreated, it can cause organ failure which can be fatal. Prevent infection by avoiding contact with contaminated waters.
Latest information: e-Yellow cards are only required for Nigerian citizens and residents, not required for international travellers. The Nigerian Government has announced that from July 1st 2019, an "e-Yellow card" will be the only valid documented proof of vaccination against yellow fever for citizens and residents. An International Certificate of Vaccination or Prophylaxis (ICVP) issued outside Nigeria is still accepted for non-Nigerian citizens and non-Nigerian residents arriving in Nigeria. Proof of yellow fever vaccination is required for entry for anyone over 9 months of age (based on new WHO documentation 1 July 2019). In addition, vaccination is recommended for all travellers 9 months of age and older going to Nigeria. Anyone who is in Nigeria and will be vaccinated should ensure the vaccination is documented on the new e-Yellow card.
The Shia Muslim Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN) group is likely to resume protests after its leader Ibrahim El Zakzaky returned on 16 August from India. Zakzaky and his wife had travelled to India on 12 August for medical treatment after they were granted bail. Both of them were detained following their return; Zakzaky's trial is likely to resume in Kaduna (Kaduna state). The IMN has said it will continue protesting until Zakzaky receives appropriate medical care. Members should liaise with local contacts to remain apprised of developments and avoid all IMN demonstrations due to the risk of unrest.
Members in urban centres over the coming days should continue to avoid all protests associated with the Indian government’s decision on 5 August to revoke the special autonomous status of the Kashmir valley. Nationwide rallies were held on 9 and 15 August; the latter coincided with India’s Independence Day. Future protests are likely, particularly after Friday midday prayers. These are likely to attract turnouts numbering in the thousands, causing localised disruption.
Members in Davao City (Davao region, Mindanao island) should anticipate increased security and travel disruption until at least 31 August during the ongoing Kadayawan festival. Some 27,000 personnel in total will be deployed throughout the month to secure this year's festival, with 5,000 at least guarding the main events on 17 and 24 August. Security checks will be established on roads into the the city at Calinan, Lasang and Toril, as well as at shopping centres and markets within Davao. Members should abide by all official directives and plan routes circumventing the main festival areas due to expected road closures.
Negotiations are ongoing overnight on 16-17 August between the SNMMP fuel tanker drivers’ union and the authorities to end an indefinite nationwide strike by the former. The union has suspended its work stoppage until 18 August when a meeting of its members is due to be held. A final decision on the industrial action will be taken during the meeting. Meanwhile, reports indicate that more than 700 petrol stations across the country have either no fuel or are experiencing shortages. Fuel supply restrictions imposed at the capital’s Lisbon Portela Airport (LIS) were lifted on 16 August.
Members in Sochi (Krasnodar kray) should exercise caution and anticipate travel disruption associated with forecast heavy rainfall in the coming days. The authorities have issued a storm warning, advising the public to minimise movement in the event of prolonged rainfall, and to exercise caution in the vicinity of trees, bridges and other potential hazards. Poor weather conditions are expected to persist until 00.01 (local time) on 20 August. Lazarevsky district is likely to be among the most affected by the adverse weather. Operations at Sochi International Airport (AER) remain unaffected.
Members in the capital Belgrade and other urban centres should avoid weekly anti-government demonstrations on Saturday evenings. Regular protests against President Aleksandar Vucic and his ruling party have taken place since December 2018, and have broadened to include calls for greater media freedom and electoral reform. During a related protest on 10 August, scuffles occurred between the police and protesters after the latter attempted to forcibly cross a security barrier outside the presidential palace.
Members in Sierra Leone in the coming weeks should monitor developments and avoid all political gatherings ahead of a by-election on 24 August in Western Area Rural district (Western Area), south of the capital Freetown. Clashes were reported on 29 July inHamilton(Western Area Rural) between supporters of the opposition All People’s Congress (APC) and ruling Sierra Leone People’s Party (SLPP) during an APC rally. The SLPP candidate’s residence was on the same day reportedly attacked by APC supporters, who set her vehicle alight and threw stones. The incidents underline the risk of violence during election-related gatherings.
Latest update: outbreak ongoing.An increase in dengue activity is underway. Dengue fever is spread by mosquitoes, and is present in both rural and urban areas. Dengue can cause a range of symptoms and has no particular treatment. Some people, especially those who have been infected before, get a more severe form that can lead to fatal complications. 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 travelling in areas with high levels of dengue transmission. Prevent infection by avoiding mosquito bites.
Members on essential travel in Sudan should plan journeys accounting for disruption caused by heavy rainfall and resultant widespread flooding during the ongoing rainy season, which usually lasts until September. At least 46 people have been killed and thousands of houses destroyed across the country’s 16 states, including Khartoum, in recent weeks. Several localities remain inaccessible due to flooding; further rainfall is liable to exacerbate the situation. Members are reminded that non-essential travel to Sudan should be deferred for at least the next two weeks because of the political situation (see our separate alert).
Members scheduled to fly via Liverpool John Lennon Airport (LPL, Merseyside county) on 22, 24 and 29 August should anticipate disruption and reconfirm flights schedule during a planned strike by airport employees. Ground staff will observe a 16-hour walkout from 04.00 to 20.00 (local time) each strike day. The industrial action has been called over working conditions and pay.
Members in Portland (Oregon state) on 17 August should avoid a planned far-right rally and counter-demonstration as a precaution. Both events will take place at Tom McCall Waterfront Park. The specific time of the far-right protest has not been released; the counter-demonstration will begin at 10.00 (local time).
Members in urban centres on 18 August should anticipate localised disruption and plan journeys avoiding rallies by gun-control activists. The Everytown for Gun Safety and Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America groups have organised more than 100 events to demand changes to gun laws in the US (see More detail). The events are expected to be peaceful, but well-attended.
Members in urban centres over the coming days should exercise caution and monitor developments following the forcible dispersal on 16 August of an anti-government protest in the capital Harare. Despite an official ban, several hundred supporters of the main opposition Movement for Democratic Change (MDC) party gathered near Africa Unity Square to denounce the poor economic outlook and alleged government corruption. The police used tear gas and batons to disperse the crowd; three people were injured and 91 others arrested. It is unclear whether related demonstrations in Bulawayo on 19 August and Gweru (Midlands province) on 20 August will proceed.