Members in Algeriain the coming weeksshould continue to plan journeys accounting for travel disruption due to anti-government protests. On 22 February, thousands of people marched in the capital Algiers to commemorate the first-year anniversary of weekly demonstrations staged by the grassroots ‘Hirak’ protest movement. Weekly student protests onTuesdaysand general demonstrations onFridaysare expected to continue,at least in the short term. Conciliatory steps taken by President Abdelmadjid Tebboune have, as yet, failed to appease the demonstrators.
Members in American Samoa (US) should expect residual disruption until 25 February following the passage of ex-tropical storms Vicky and Wasi. A wind advisory remains in place despite an improvement in weather conditions since early on 23 February. Further gales and rainfall can be expected, with a continued risk of flash flooding and mudslides. However, the capital's Pago Pago International Airport (PPG) is expected to resume operations gradually, after earlier reported disruption.
Normal movement can resume along Mary and Edward streets in Brisbane, the capital of Queensland state. This comes after the police shot and killed a man wielding a knife in the area earlier on 23 February. The perpetrator injured one person at around 10.00 (local time) outside The Westin hotel, before officers intervened. Cordons have now been lifted around the scene.
Members should continue to expect disruption to rail services between Sydney (New South Wales state) and Melbourne (Victoria state) following a fatal derailment on 20 February. A train carrying around 160 passengers left the track at 19.50 (local time) in Wallan (Victoria), 28 miles (45km) north of Melbourne. The driver and one other person were killed, while 12 people were injured. Coaches have replaced trains on the Seymour, Shepparton (both Victoria) and Albury (New South Wales) lines until further notice.
Members in Cochabamba department, particularly the areas ofTiquipaya, Quillacollo and Colcapirhua,in the coming days should anticipate disruption and follow official directives amid ongoing flooding and mudslides. Heavy rain since late on 21 February has led to the overflowing of the Taquina river, leaving Ecologica and Circunvalacion avenues impassable. A state of emergency has been declared for Tiquipaya, with a mandatory evacuation order in place for three blocks on either side of the river. Members should exercise caution and reconfirm the status of routes prior to setting out.
Members in Cuiaba (Mato Grosso state) should plan journeys in the coming days accounting for disruption due to ongoing heavy rainfall and associated floods. Several roads have been inundated, including Avenida Tenente-Coronel Duarte and Avenida Isaac Povoas. Members should maintain flexible itineraries.
Travellers in Niagara Falls (Ontario province) in the coming hours should anticipate road disruption in the vicinity of the Scotiabank Convention Centre due to an ongoing demonstration. Thousands of activists have gathered to protest against the Progressive Conservative Party of Ontario, which is holding its annual two-day conference inside the centre. The police have blocked off a section of Stanley avenue – where the majority of protesters are assembled – to accommodate the demonstration. Members should reconfirm the status of routes and plan journeys bypassing the affected areas to minimise potential delays.
Cases of locally-acquired dengue fever have been reported on Easter Island. 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. Prevention is mainly 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 travelling in areas with high levels of dengue transmission.
Member in Pilsen (Pilsen region) on 25 February should plan journeys bypassing an anti-government demonstration organised by the pro-democracy ‘A Million Moments for Democracy’ movement. Participants will gather at 19.00 (local time) on Republic Square to protest against Prime Minister Andrej Babis and a perceived erosion of media freedom. While the event is expected to pass off peacefully, localised traffic disruption in the vicinity of the event is likely.
Members should continue to anticipate and avoid protests over the handling of the nationwide municipal elections, which were postponed to 15 March after problems with automated voting machines. The suspension, which occurred just hours after polling booths opened on 16 February, provoked widespread criticism of the Central Electoral Board (JCE) and other authorities. Demonstrators in the capital Santo Domingo from 09.00 (local time) on 23 February will march along Avenida 27 de Febrero to the JCE office. Related protests have previously resulted in violence, with the security forces using tear gas to disperse participants.
Members in Egypt should plan journeys accounting for disruption caused by forecast adverse weather conditions until at least 25 February. The Egyptian Meteorological Authority (EMA) has warned of moderate-to-heavy rain and dust storms in various locations, including Greater Cairo (Cairo and Giza governorates), the Northern Coasts (Alexandria and Matruh governorates), the Sinai peninsula (North and South Sinai governorates) and Upper Egypt (Aswan and Luxor governorates). Such conditions will result in decreased visibility and an increase in pollutants, which may disrupt transport and other services. Members should reconfirm the status of transport and routes before setting out.
Members should exercise caution in Ambo (Oromia state) on 23 February, following reports of a bombing at a rally in support of Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed. Nearly 30 people have reportedly been injured; details are still emerging.
Members in Belarus, Kyrgyzstan, Russia and Tajikistan on 23 February should anticipate disruption and heightened security around the Defender of the Fatherland Day. Businesses and government offices will be closed for the public holiday, with local military parades liable to result in travel disruption. Members in affected locations should confirm the status of routes before setting out and carry identification documents to ease passage through any checkpoints.
Authorities in several regional countries are continuing health screening measures at certain airports (see More detail) and, where relevant, land border crossings with China, due to the COVID-19 (formerly 2019-novel coronavirus '2019-nCoV') outbreak. The measures apply primarily to travellers arriving from China, though some countries and airlines have suspended flights to/from mainland China and to a lesser extent Hong Kong. Meanwhile, Russia is temporarily banning entry to Chinese nationals from 20 February. Members should be prepared for flight cancellations and travel disruption at airports during the outbreak. If planning travel to China, refer to our detailed alert on the COVID-19 outbreak there for further information and advice.
Members due to fly on Air France HOP, the domestic and regional subsidiary of flag carrier Air France, on 24 Februaryshould reconfirm flights due to planned 24-hour pilots’ strike. The action has been organised by the SNPL union to demand improved pay and working conditions. It is expected that the industrial action will have a limited effect on flight schedules.
Members in urban centres should continue to anticipate and avoid protests by the 'Yellow Vests' (Gilets Jaunes, GJ) movement due to the credible risk of unrest. Fresh demonstrations are expected on29 February, though specific details have not been released. On 22 February, the police used tear gas and stun grenades to disperse demonstrators at an unruly GJ demonstration in Lille (Hauts-de-France region).
Members in the capital Port-au-Prince should avoid a series of ongoing protests as a precaution, and allow extra time for journeys to and from Toussaint Louverture International Airport (PAP). Routes blocked on 23 February include Delmas 32 and 33 south of the airport, where demonstrators are burning tyres, as well as Delmas 48, 60 and 83. In the last three areas, motorcyclists are reported to have created roadblocks and are stopping motorists before taking the keys to their vehicles.
Members in urban centers on 23 February should plan journeys avoiding protests linked to a nationwide shutdown strike by the Bhim Army, a prominent Dalit (the so-called ‘untouchable’ caste) rights organisation. Although specific protest venues and times have not yet been announced, rallies are likely at public spaces such as monuments and parks in urban centres across India. In the capital New Delhi, a large number of participants may gather at popular protest venues such as the Jantar Mantar Monument, Parliament Building, India Gate and Ramlila Maidan.
Members in the capital Baghdad and other urban centres, particularly in the southern provinces, should liaise with their dedicated security provider to plan routes avoiding planned protests on 25 February. Organisers have called for rallies to commemorate the four-month anniversary of the ongoing anti-government movement, and to reject the appointment of Prime Minister-designate Mohammed Tawfik Allawi. Meanwhile, prominent Shia Muslim cleric Muqtada al-Sadr on 22 February called on his supporters to stage demonstrations and sit-ins around the International Zone (IZ) in Baghdad if the parliament failed to confirm Allawi’s proposed cabinet.
Members near the border with the Gaza Strip (Palestinian Territories) in Southern district in the coming hours should follow official directives following rocket fire and related sirens in Ashkelon, Sderot and surrounding towns. Five rockets were reportedly fired late in the afternoon of 23 February; all were intercepted by the Iron Dome missile defence system.
Latest update: More cases identified in Lombardy and Veneto, further restrictions on public movements and activities.A outbreak of COVID-19 has been identified in Lombardy and Veneto. Over 70 confirmed cases have been reported, including some healthcare workers. Authorities are undertaking contact tracing activities and have implemented restrictions on public events, sporting activities, and temporarily closed some non-essential commercial activities and schools in an effort to limit further spread. Please consult the COVID-19 website for the latest information. International SOS is monitoring the situation closely. This new coronavirus can cause symptoms of 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, and keep a distance from people who are sick. Do not travel if you are sick. Anyone who has been in an affected area and develops symptoms should seek medical attention according to the local procedure.
Members due to travel via Italian airports should reconfirm their flights and anticipate cancellations and severe delays around planned industrial action on 25 February. Air traffic controllers, airport personnel and airline employees, including those of national carrier Alitalia and Vueling, will walk out from 12.00 to 16.00 (local time). More than 300 flights scheduled for 25 February have already been cancelled, including at Brindisi (BDS, Apulia region), Milan Linate (LIN, Lombardy region) and the capital’s Rome Fiumicino (FCO) airports. Some late departing Alitalia services on 24 February and early flights on 26 February have also been scrapped. The strike is being observed in protest at the liquidation of Air Italy, formerly the country’s second-largest airline (see our separate alert).
Latest update: US authorities advise higher risk groups to defer non-essential travel. International SOS is monitoring this rapidly developing situation closely. Please consult the COVID-19 website for the latest information. This new coronavirus can cause symptoms of 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, and keep a distance from people who are sick. Do not travel if you are sick. Some authorities have advised their citizens to defer travel to Japan - follow the advice of your local authorities.
Members in the capital Lilongwe on 23 February should plan journeys bypassing a planned political rally, as a precaution and to minimise disruption. Supporters of the opposition United Transformation Movement (UTM) party will gather at the Masintha ground during the afternoon to discuss the party’s strategy for the July re-run elections. Although the event is likely to pass off peacefully, traffic and associated disruption can be anticipated. Members should plan alternative routes and allow additional time to complete journeys if travelling in the vicinity.
Members in the capital Chisinau on 23 February should plan journeys bypassing an anti-government protest by the Unirea political alliance at the Prince Stefan cel Mare monument. Demonstrators from 12.00 (local time) will call for the removal from office of President Igor Dodon, claiming his pro-Russian stance is contrary to the country’s interests. Related weekly gatherings are due to be held on Sundays, and are liable to result in localised disruption.
Members in the Southland region (South Island) should continue to plan journeys accounting for residual disruption from heavy rain and flooding. An ongoing Transition Notice set to end on 14 March allows the authorities to assess the damage caused by floodwaters and conduct infrastructure recovery and repair work. This replaced a regional state of emergency in place on 4-18 February. Whilst most State Highways (SH) in the region have now reopened, SH94 from Cascade Creek to Chasm (both Southland) remains partially closed.
Members in Kaduna on 24-25 February should plan journeys avoiding the Federal High Court where the trial of Ibrahim el-Zakzaky, leader of the Shia Muslim Islamic Movement in Nigeria (IMN) movement is due to resume. Traffic in the vicinity is likely to be disrupted, and the hearing may trigger further IMN demonstrations, which often descend into violence. The IMN is demanding the release of its Zakzaky and his wife. Both are facing criminal charges that the Shia group claims are politically motivated.
Traffic has begun flowing again on the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway north of Lagos (Lagos state) following an accident near the Otedola Bridge earlier on 23 February. The rear of a petrol tanker outbound from Lagos became detached from the vehicle, spilling fuel across the road. The emergency services managed to prevent an explosion, and no injuries were reported. Although cordons have now been lifted, members should expect some residual disruption in the area and allow extra time for journeys.
Members in the capital Moscow and St Petersburg on 23 February should avoid planned protests by left-wing organisations coinciding with Defender of the Fatherland Day. In Moscow, a march will start at 11.00 (all times local) on Pushkinskaya Square and proceed to Strastnoy Boulevard and Petrovka Street before finishing at Revolution Square. In St Petersburg, a protest will start at 14.00 at Aviators Park. Both protests were called to demand a referendum to introduce constitutional amendments, though they differ in the nature of such amendments. Members in affected locations should confirm the status of routes before setting out.
Members in Samoa and Niue should plan journeys in the coming hours accounting for disruption from the passage of Tropical Depression (ex-tropical storm) Wasi. The weather system had passed Samoa and was approaching Niue on 24 February. Strong winds and heavy rainfall are expected in Niue where a cyclone warning is in place, while residual disruption can be anticipated in Samoa. Flights have resumed at Samoa's Faleolo International Airport (APW, Upolo Island). However, the Air New Zealand flight to Hanan Niue International (IUE) on 24 February has been cancelled. A risk of flash flooding and landslides persists in both destinations.
A number of countries have issued travel advisories for Singapore after the Singapore government on 7 February raised the level of the Disease Outbreak Response System Condition (DORSCON) from Yellow to Orange (third highest on a four-tier scale) in response to the ongoing COVID-19 (formerly 2019-novel coronavirus ‘2019-nCoV’ disease) outbreak. The government has also advised additional precautionary measures (see More detail). There is a potential for increased restrictions for those travelling to Singapore upon return to their country of origin, including entry restrictions and mandatory quarantine. Members should comply with all advisories issued by their local national authorities. Those travelling to Singapore should maintain flexible itineraries and be prepared for short-notice changes to entry restrictions. Travellers who are arriving from mainland China, hold a People's Republic of China (PRC) passport or have travelled to China in the past 14 days should reconfirm the overall feasibility of travel prior to departure.
Two armed robbers on 21 February targeted a Harare (Zimbabwe)-bound bus on the N1 highway between Zebediela and Polokwane (both Limpopo province). The criminals, who may have been assisted by a passenger travelling on a false passport, struck when the bus driver stopped the vehicle to investigate a mechanical noise. Passengers were searched and robbed of their valuables, while others were assaulted for resisting and shots were reportedly fired at the bus driver. The incident highlights the risk posed by violent crime, including during road travel, and the need to avoid using public transport for long-haul road journeys.
Latest update: US authorities advise higher risk groups to defer non-essential travel.International SOS is monitoringthis rapidly developing situation closely. Please consult the COVID-19 website for the latest information. This new coronavirus can cause symptoms of 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, and keep a distance from people who are sick. Do not travel if you are sick. Some authorities have advised their citizens to defer travel to South Korea - follow the advice of your local authorities.
The South Korean government maintains the Pandemic Alert level at ORANGE (third highest in a four-tiered system) amid the sharp increase in confirmed cases of COVID-19 (formerly 2019-novel coronavirus, ‘2019-nCoV’ disease). On 21 February, the authorities designated Daegu city and Cheongdo county (both North Gyeongsang province) as ‘special care zones’. Rallies in the city centre of the capital Seoul have been prohibited until further notice. Thailand-based carrier Thai AirAsia X has announced the cancellation of its flights to South Korea from 6 to 27 March. Members should closely monitor the situation and reconfirm their itineraries and the overall feasibility of travel to South Korea prior to departure.
Members travelling to/from Canary Islands should plan journeys accounting for further weather-related disruption at least until 24 February. On 22 February, a dust storm prompted the suspension of operations at Gran Canaria Airport (LPA, Las Palmas province), Tenerife Norte (TFN) and Tenerife Sur (TFS, both Santa Cruz de Tenerife province) airports. The meteorological service Aemet has issued orange wind warnings (third-highest on a four-level scale) and yellow dust storm warnings for parts of Las Palmas and Santa Cruz de Tenerife provinces until 24 February. The adverse weather conditions are also liable to disrupt maritime traffic between the islands in the archipelago.
Members should anticipate potential demonstrationsin the coming weeksby supporters of the opposition Future Forward Party (FFP) over the Constitutional Court ruling on 21 February which dissolved the party. The court ruling further notes that the Election Commission, which has alleged that the FFP broke election laws, could pursue a criminal case against the party’s leader and its top executives. On17 March, the police will also decide whether to bring charges against the party’s founder Thanathorn Juangroongruangkit and four other party members over an unlawful assembly case. Scuffles between supporters of rival groups or between protesters and the police remain possible during future protests. All related gatherings should be avoided.
Members in the capital Lome and other urban centres in the coming days should anticipate and avoid all gatherings following the first round of the presidential election on 22 February. The polls passed off largely peacefully, though civil society groups and opposition parties have reported alleged irregularities. The National Electoral Commission (NEC) has said that provisional results will be released by 20.00 (local time) on 24 February. Related protests are particularly likely in Lome and the opposition stronghold of Sokode (Centrale region).
Highways 3 and 433 remain closed in the Satartia area of Yazoo county (Mississippi state) following a gas leak overnight on 22-23 February. At least 46 people have been hospitalised and 300 residents evacuated after a pipeline burst. While emergency units are working to contain the incident, members should plan journeys avoid the affected area in the coming hours.
Members should continue to exercise caution and follow official directives following a magnitude 5.7 earthquake near the Turkey-Iran border on the morning of 23 February. According to the US Geological Survey (USGS), the temblor at 08.53 (local time) struck 15 miles (25km) south-east of Saray (Van province, Turkey) at a depth of four miles (6km), and was felt in West Azerbaijan province (Iran). Media reports said that seven people were killed and five injured in Turkey, while more than 1,000 buildings in Van city (Van) and in excess of 40 villages have collapsed. Iranian and Turkish officials have dispatched emergency teams to the affected areas to survey damage.
Members in Zambia in the coming days should exercise heightened caution amid renewed violence linked to a series of attacks involving the spraying of a poisonous gas that started in December 2019 (see More detail). Early on 19 February, a group of armed individuals reportedly dragged a man suspected of involvement in the attacks out of a hospital in Mazabuka (Southern province) and set him ablaze. Similar cases of mob brutality and vandalism were also reported over the past week in the capital Lusaka, as well as Nyimba district (Eastern province), where residents burned down a police post on 18 February.