Subscribers in the capital Yerevan on 3 March should plan routes bypassing a planned protest by the opposition Homeland Salvation Movement. Supporters of the movement are calling for the resignation of Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan (see related alert). They intend to congregate from 16.00 (local time) on Marshal Baghramyan Avenue before marching towards the Presidential Residence. The gathering coincides with a parliamentary session which Pashinyan is reportedly attending. A heightened security presence in the vicinity of the rally should be expected.
Subscribers in the north tropical coast of Queensland state should continue to plan journeys in the coming days accounting for disruption due to the passage of Tropical Cyclone Niran. The weather system strengthened into a Category 1 tropical cyclone (lowest on a five-tier scale) early on 2 March. While landfall is not expected, the Bureau of Meteorology (BoM) has issued weather warnings for strong winds, flooding and high tides for coastal and island communities betweenCape FlatteryandMission Beach (both Queensland). Disruption to electricity services and road blockages have been reported in affected areas.
Subscribers in the capital Dhaka and other urban centresin the coming daysshould avoid protests by the opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) as a precaution. Anti-government rallies are planned inRajshahi (Rajshahi division) on 2 March and in Dhaka on 3-4 March.
Workforce in urban centres should continue to avoid all gatherings linked to the ongoing municipal election cycle. The fifth phase of municipal elections concluded on 28 February. They were held in 30 designated municipalities across the country; results of 29 seats remain due, while one candidate from the ruling Awami League (AL) was elected unopposed. Several irregularities and incidents of violence were witnessed during the fifth phase of the elections, similar to what took place during previous phases. A heightened security force presence and localised disruption can be expected until the electoral cycle ends. Celebratory rallies could be held by winning candidates in the coming days. The sixth phase of the polls is scheduled for 11 April.
The National Health Council, which represents medical professionals in Bolivia, has called for nationwide protests on 2 March. The planned demonstrations come amid an ongoing strike over the government's recent enactment of the Health Emergency Law. Medical professionals are demanding a repeal of the law, which includes provisions on price controls for services and medicines in the private health sector, the hiring of foreign doctors and restrictions on industrial action by health workers. All protests linked to the strike should be avoided to minimise disruption.
Latest update: Healthcare severely impacted in many states. Defer all travel due to the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic on health care services. Cases of COVID-19 continue to increase across the country and several states are experiencing shortages of hospital beds. As a result of increased demand only limited care may be available in both private and public medical systems. Members should defer all travel until the situation improves.
The legislative election run-off in the Central African Republic is scheduled for 14 March. Tensions are likely to increase in the coming weeks as preparations for the polls are under way. A nationwide state of emergency remains in placeuntil at least Julyas the domestic military (FACA) and its allies carry out further operations against militia groups linked to the rebel Coalition of Patriots for Change (CPC). Employees should abide by an ongoing nationwide nightly curfewfrom 20.00 to 05.00(local time), and essential staff in-country should exercise caution due to the continued threat of militia violence.
Avoid an ongoing disruptive demonstration at Plaza Baquedano in the capital Santiago in the coming hours. The police have reportedly used tear gas and water cannon to disperse the gathering; nine protesters have been arrested. The unrest has prompted the closure of Baquedano metro station, as well as multiple streets in the area, including Providencia Avenue from Salvador to Plaza Baquedano and General Bernardo O'Higgins Avenue from San Francisco to Alameda.
Anticipate traffic disruption and reconfirm the status of routes in the coming hours due to a planned caravan protest in major urban centres. Bus drivers are reportedly staging the action to demand additional economic assistance to offset the damage caused to their industry by the COVID-19 pandemic. Participants will depart in buses from 12.00 (local time) from various points in multiple urban centres, causing traffic congestion along major motorways.
Continue to plan journeys accounting for disruption until at least 4 Marchdue to the passage of a low pressure system. The Fiji Meteorological Service (FMS) has issued a heavy rain warning for the whole country, as well as a flood warning for low-lying areas and locations adjacent to major rivers in Ba, Tavua and Rakiraki (all Viti Levu island). Multiple roads in parts of Vanua Levu have been closed due to flooding. Reconfirm transport schedules and the status of routes prior to undertaking road travel.
Continue to abide by stricter COVID-19-related measuresin the Alpes-Maritimes department and in Dunkirk (Hauts-de-France region). The localised restrictions include a weekend lockdown and will remain in placeuntil at least 10 March. In addition, Prime Minister Jean Castex announced on 25 February that 20 departments had been placed under ‘acute surveillance’ due to localised deteriorating health situations. Stricter measures in these areas, including Paris department, could be put in place in the coming days. Subscribers should anticipate additional measures and refer to the COVID-19 information within thePandemic Information Sitefor full details of travel restrictions.
Business travellers in the capital Tbilisi over the period between 2 and 13 March should anticipate disruption due to a series of planned protests. The opposition – including the United National Movement (UNM) – is planning to demonstrate on 2 March outside parliament, on 5 March outside the chancellery building, and on 9 March in front of the Ministry of Internal Affairs. On 11 March, they plan to gather outside the city court and on 13 March at parliament. The protests are being held to denounce the recent arrest of opposition leader Nika Melia (see related report). All gatherings should be avoided to minimise disruption and potential exposure to unrest.
Workforce in urban centres in the coming days should anticipate and avoid further gatherings in support of jailed far-left militant Dimitris Koufodinas, due to the risk of localised unrest. Fresh rallies have been called for 2-3 March in Thessaloniki (Central Macedonia region), with an event on 2 March to start from 13.00 (local time) at the Arch of Galerius (locally known as Kamara) and another on 3 March to take place from 18.00 at the White Tower. Related protests are also likely on these days in other cities, particularly in the capital Athens. All such gatherings are liable to be forcibly dispersed by the police, posing incidental risks to bystanders.
Avoid the Nimajuyu neighbourhood in the capital Guatemala City in the coming hours due to an ongoing unruly protest. Riot police have reportedly fired live ammunition into the crowd, injuring at least one person. Initial reports indicate that demonstrators are attempting to breach the perimeter of a community green space, which has also sparked clashes with local residents.
Latest update: Additional case confirmed, vaccination continues. An Ebola outbreak was detected when several people fell ill and some died after attending the funeral of a nurse in Nzerekore prefecture. Other cases have since been detected in Nzerekore, as well as one case in Conakry. International SOS is monitoring the situation closely and will update this alert as more information becomes available. 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. Defer all 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. To minimise the risk of any infection, pay attention to usual hygiene precautions - wash hands often, select safe food and water and prevent insect bites.
Subscribers in the capital Reykjavik and the Southern Peninsula regionin the coming daysshould exercise caution due to daily aftershocks following a magnitude 5.7 earthquake on 24 February. The temblor struck around two miles (3km) south-west ofKeilir mountain, on the Reykjanes peninsula, at 10.05 (local time). The Icelandic Meteorological Office has warned of an increased risk of landslides.
Plan journeys bypassing a protest on 2 March by the opposition Indian National Congress party in Bangalore (Karnataka state) in order to minimise delays. The rally, being held to denounce increasing fuel prices, will commence at 10.00 (local time) at Krantiveera Sangolli Rayanna Statue, from where participants will march to Maurya Circle. Although the gathering is expected to pass off peacefully, traffic disruption along the route of rally is likely, including on Krantiveera Sangolli Rayanna Circle, Seshadri Road, Anand Rao Circle, Danvanthri Road and Loop Road.
Anticipate disruption in Vishakhapatnam (Andhra Pradesh state) on 5 March during a planned shutdown strike (bandh) by trade unions. Participants will protest the proposed privatisation of a steel plant by the central government, led by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). On 26 February, protesters blocked National Highway (NH)-16 at the Kurmannapalem junction for three hours, resulting in significant traffic disruption. Additional related protests were held in the Krishna, Srikakulam and Vizianagaram districts (all Andhra Pradesh).
Continue to monitor developments and anticipate potential flight disruption in North Sumatra province in the coming weeks following continued volcanic activity at Mount Sinabung (Karo regency, North Sumatra). The volcano erupted on 2 March, spewing columns of ash and smoke as high as 3.1 miles (5km). The growing lava dome indicates continued high volcanic activity. Sinabung has remained at Level 3 (‘stand by’, the second-highest on a four-tier scale) since May 2019 with exclusion zones of up to three miles (5km) in place.
Two militants from the Mujahidin Indonesia Timur (MIT) extremist group and one soldier were killed in a shootout during a raid in Poso regency (Central Sulawesi province) on 1 March. Separately, the police on the same day announced that 12 suspected terrorists from the Jemaah Islamiyah (JI) group were arrested in security operations done in four cities of East Java province on 26 February. Weapons, including a homemade pistol, 50 rounds of ammunition, knives and a bow, were also seized. These developments underline the persistent risk posed by terrorism in the country and the consequent need for vigilance.
Subscribers in Nasiriyah (Dhi Qar governorate) should in the coming days avoid further anti-government protests due to the risk of unrest. At least four people were killed and 175 others – including 57 security force personnel – were injured on 26 February during violent clashes. Protesters have suspended their activities until 4 March to allow time for Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi’s government to meet their demands. Liaise with your dedicated security provider to remain apprised of the latest developments and to ascertain the feasibility of essential movement in the coming days.
Continue to abide by official directives despite the easing of internal COVID-19 restrictionsfrom 7 March. Limits on social gatherings will be relaxed to 20 people indoors and 50 outdoors, from the current 10 and 20 respectively.Hospitality venues will also be allowed to resume their activities. Refer to the COVID-19 information within thePandemic Information Sitefor full details of travel restrictions.
Subscribers in the capital Beirut shouldin the coming hoursplan journeys bypassing an ongoing demonstration near the Military Court as a precaution. Protesters have gathered to denounce the prosecution of activists who participated in previous demonstrations and to call for the release of those still detained. A heightened security force presence near the court can be expected and localised scuffles between protesters and the security forces are possible, posing incidental risks to bystanders.
Subscribers in urban centres should continue to anticipate and avoid further protestsin the coming daysover the non-payment of student scholarships. On 27 February, the security forces used tear gas to disperse an unruly protest at the University of Maninday Toliara in Toliara (Atsimo-Andrefana region). More than 30 participants were arrested. Reports also indicated the use of live ammunition by the security forces. Previously, on 18 February, during a demonstration at theUniversity of Barikadimyin Toamasina (Atsinanana region) one participant was fatally shot, eight arrested and three police officers injured. Further well-attended demonstrations, including commemorative events, have since been organised by the students. The security forces are liable to forcibly disperse future related rallies.
Reconfirm status of routes and anticipate disruption associated with a strike by truck drivers in the coming hours. The action is organised by the National Chamber of Cargo Transport (CANACAR), who is demanding that the government take action to improve security along the country’s roadways. While organisers have stated that roadblocks will not be a part of the demonstration, significant traffic congestion should be expected.
Abide by official directives in Montenegro following the announcement of new movement restrictions in several urban centres. Entry and exit to the capita Podgorica and the municipalities of Budva, Cetinje, Herceg Novi, Niksic, Pluzine, Tivat and Ulcinj for non-essential journeys will be barred from 2-10 March. Refer to the COVID-19 information within the Pandemic Information Site for full details on travel restrictions.
Continue to abide by all official directives after the authorities announced an extension of COVID-19-related lockdown measures until at least 16 March. These include an ongoing nationwide curfew from 21.00 to 06.00 (local time), during which only essential movement is permitted. Refer to the COVID-19 information within the Pandemic Information Site for full details on travel restrictions.
Anticipate travel disruption in Beni Mellal-Khenifra, Draa-Tafilalet, Fes-Meknes, L'Oriental and Tanger-Tetouan-Al Hoceima regions in the coming days due to heavy rains and ongoing flooding. Maroc Meteo issued yellow and orange warnings (second lowest and second highest on a four-tier scale, respectively) for thunderstorms and heavy rain until at least 3 March. Road closures and infrastructure damage caused by flooding have been reported in Tetouan (Tanger-Tetouan-Al Hoceima). Reconfirm the status of routes before setting out and allow additional time for journeys.
Stand fast in a safe location if you are in the vicinity of ongoing unrest. Minimise non-essential movement elsewhere. Large, ongoing demonstrations have sparked multiple clashes between the security forces and protesters in Yangon (Yangon region), Kalay (Sagaing region) Taunggyi (Shan state), Dawei and Myeik (Tanintharyi region). A heavy security presence has been deployed in the vicinity of most demonstrations. The police have reportedly used live ammunition, stun grenades and tear gas to disperse protesters. Further violent clashes between protesters and security forces remain possible, posing incidental risks to bystanders.
Workforce in urban centres in the coming days should anticipate and avoid further protests over COVID-19-related restrictions as a precaution and to minimise travel delays. On 28 February, demonstrators gathered at Museumplein in the capital Amsterdam to denounce ongoing lockdown measures linked to the pandemic, including a nationwide nightly curfew that was recently extended until at least 15 March.Although the event passed off peacefully, further such unauthorised demonstrations are likely and could result in localised scuffles between participants and the police. During similar protests in January, the police notably used tear gas and water cannon to disperse demonstrators.
Continue to exercise heightened vigilance and anticipate protests in the coming days around the release of the official presidential election results, expected by early March. Violent protests erupted in the capital Niamey, Dosso (Dosso region) and Zinder (Zinder region) on 23-25 February following the announcement of the provisional results. Both candidates continue to claim victory. At least two protesters have died during protests and around 480 demonstrators have been arrested. Further spontaneous unrest is likely, particularly in Niamey and Zinder, both opposition strongholds. Internet service disruption remains an issue since 23 February, with 4G services reportedly down.
Unidentified gunmen attacked a girls’ school in Jangebe (Talata Mafara local government area (LGA), Zamfara state) overnight on 25-26 February, abducting an estimated 279 students. The perpetrators remain unknown, though the authorities suspect they were local bandits operating in the area. On the same night, at least 35 people were killed in a raid on a village in Dankurmi (Maru LGA, Zamfara). These incidents reinforce the need for stringent security measures when conducting essential travel in the region.
Avoid a protest march in Karachi (Sindh province) on 2 March at 14.30 (local time), from the Arts Council premises to the Karachi Press Club. The gathering has been organised by the Baloch Yakjehti Committee to condemn alleged abuses by the security forces. Protesters may attempt to reach other venues to hold related gatherings. However, such attempts are likely to be promptly halted by the security forces. There is a potential for localised disturbances, posing incidental risks to bystanders. Travel is also liable to be disrupted in the vicinity, particularly if participants erect roadblocks.
Anticipate disruption during demonstrations linked to a nationwide teachers’ strike on 2 March, and plan journeys accordingly. In the capital Asuncion, participants at 07.00 (local time) are due to gather at Plaza Uruguaya. Related events are also scheduled to take place in departmental capitals countrywide. The FEP and UNE teachers’ unions have called for the industrial action. It will coincide with the planned resumption of face-to-face teaching, which the unions claim is unsafe.
The authorities announced on 2 March that five people – including two Yemeni nationals and three Saudi Arabian nationals – were injured after a projectile launched by the Yemen-based Houthi rebel group landed in an unspecified border village in Jizan province. Shrapnel from the projectile also damaged two private residences, a grocery store and three vehicles in the area. The incident highlights the persistent risk of cross-border attacks into Saudi Arabia and the need for in-country workforce to exercise caution around potential targets.
A roadside bomb on 28 February detonated near the KM4 Junctionin the capital Mogadishu. The attack targeted a district commissioner, whoemerged unscathed. However, two of the commissioner’s bodyguards and one other individual were killed in the attack. No group has claimed responsibility for the incident. There has been an increase in such attacks in Mogadishu in recent weeks,underlining the EXTREME risks associated with travel to the city.
Subscribers in Turkey should continue to abide by official directives as the authorities begin a gradual easing of internal restrictions from2 March. The country has been divided into very high, high, medium and low risk zones based on infection rates. Weekend lockdowns have been lifted in low- and medium-risk cities, while lockdowns in high- and very high-risk cities will only take place on Sundays. The nationwide nightly curfew from 21.00 to 05.00 (local time) will remain in place until further notice. Refer to the COVID-19 information within thePandemic Information Sitefor full details of travel restrictions.
Opposition National Unity Platform (NUP) party leader Robert Kyagulanyi Ssentamu (popularly known as Bobi Wine) on 22 February announced his decision to withdraw his petition disputing the results of the 14 January presidential election. A Supreme Court hearing will be held on 4 March into Kyagulanyi’s application to withdraw his petition. Kyagulanyi has cited lack of autonomy and partiality on part of the Supreme Court as the reasons prompting his withdrawal. While the situation currently remains calm, there is a credible risk of unrest should any demonstrations occur. The security forces are liable to employ heavy-handed tactics to disperse gatherings and enforce COVID-19-related regulations.
Latest update: Downward trend. Variant cases continue to be detected. Many locations with limited acute care bed availability and hospitals are either near or at capacity. Restrictions on movement and gatherings are in place in some areas. Health authorities have implemented protocols for isolation, quarantine, testing and managing people who have COVID-19 and their contacts. Follow all directives. To prevent infection, limit face-to-face interactions with other people as much as possible, pay attention to hygiene, wash hands frequently, avoid touching your face. Wear a mask whenever required to and consider wearing a mask whenever in public. Do not travel if you are sick.
Anticipate heightened security and potential demonstrations in the capital Washington (DC) and other urban centres on 4 March linked to the so-called ‘QAnon’ conspiracy theory. QAnon contends that former president Donald Trump (in office 2017-2021) will resume his presidency on that date. Nearly 5,000 members of the National Guard will remain in Washington (DC) until 12 March in order to deter associated unrest and other security incidents. While widespread unrest is not expected, disruptive gatherings in the capital and other cities cannot be ruled out.