A measles outbreak is ongoing in the states of Amazonas and Roraima. 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.
Today and tomorrow, travelers in urban centers, particularly Santiago and southern cities, should avoid further protests over the killing of an indigenous Mapuche man by police. While details of the gatherings are not known, they are likely to occur outside government buildings, in major public squares, and around university campuses. There is a potential for local unrest during such demonstrations, which would pose incidental risks to bystanders.
Today, travelers on essential travel in Masaya City should avoid all movement amid ongoing paramilitary operations. Yesterday, reports indicated that these operations are taking place in the Calle Limon, San Jeronimo, and Monimbo areas. The operations come amid an increasing government crackdown targeting various opposition groups.
Minor structural damage was confirmed, but no casualties reported, after two earthquakes felt across northern Venezuela early today. The first magnitude 5.5 temblor struck at 4:59 AM local time three miles east-northeast of San Diego. A magnitude 5.0 aftershock followed at the same depth at 5:24 AM local time in San Diego city. Both quakes were felt in Caracas and in the states of Aragua, Carabobo, and Lara.
AFRICA & THE MIDDLE EAST
Travelers in Beni, Butembo, and Yumbi should minimize movement and exercise caution, after the Independent National Electoral Commission (CENI) postponed voting in the Presidential Election in these locations until March 2019. Meanwhile, this morning, unrest was reported in Beni during a ’dead city’ protest called by the LUCHA (‘Fight for Change’) civil society group. A march at 12:00 PM local time was due to proceed from the city’s Nyamwisi Roundabout towards the local CENI office. Gatherings are also likely in Butembo and Goma today.
Today, travelers in Amman should avoid a demonstration at 5:00 PM local time at Jordan Hospital, near the Fourth Circle. The gathering is a continuation of weekly protests that began in late November, in response to an income tax bill set to come into effect on January 1, 2019. Although last week’s gathering was smaller than previous events, potentially because of poor weather conditions, there remains potential for local unrest. Further gatherings in Amman and other urban centers are likely in the coming weeks.
Travelers in Nigeria are reminded of the need to avoid non-essential travel to Zamfara state following fresh attacks by bandits and continued protests over the issue. A related demonstration in Tsafe LGA (Local Government Area) turned violent on December 24, with participants attacking buildings, burning vehicles, and blocking the highway between Gusau and Zaria. The protest followed the recent killings of more than 40 people by armed bandits in several Zamfara villages.
A case of yellow fever has been confirmed in Nzara County in Gbudue state, while additional probable cases have been reported in adjacent Yambio County; however, risk is present nationwide. Yellow fever is a potentially severe viral illness spread via mosquito bites. It can be prevented through vaccination and by avoiding mosquito bites. Travelers entering South Sudan are required to show proof of vaccination and should receive the vaccine at least 10 days prior to arrival. Proof of yellow fever vaccination may also be required for onward travel.
In the coming days, travelers in Kampala should anticipate and avoid further protests over security forces’ prevention of a planned concert by opposition MP Robert Kyagulanyi (also known as Bobi Wine) yesterday. Today, protesters staged several disruptive rallies in Kampala’s Kamwokya and Katwe suburbs by blocking roads with burning tires. In Katwe, demonstrators blocked the A109 road connecting Entebbe to Kampala, disrupting traffic. Security forces dispersed both rallies using batons.
Travelers in Copperbelt province should exercise caution and monitor developments related to elections for the Provincial Chairmanship of the ruling Patriotic Front (PF) party scheduled for Saturday, December 29. While the intra-party poll is expected to pass off peacefully, recent violent protests in the province over socio-economic issues, especially rumors over the purchase of state assets by Chinese corporations, highlight the potential for unrest at times of heightened political tensions. Travelers should avoid political gatherings as a precaution.
ASIA & THE PACIFIC
On Monday, December 24 and Tuesday, December 25, several incidents of local unrest were reported across the country ahead of General Elections scheduled for Sunday, December 30. Most of these incidents involved attacks on party candidates and motorcades, or vandalism targeting political party offices and vehicles. Affected districts included Kishoreganj, Munshiganj, Tangail, Magura, Satkhira, and Nilphamari. Non-essential travel should be deferred on Sunday, December 30 and Monday, December 31 as a precautionary measure due to the potential for low-level unrest. Travelers in country should minimize non-essential movement over this period.
At least eight people were killed, and 22 others injured on December 25 after a hijacked bus was driven into pedestrians near the Liandong Market in Longyan. The perpetrator stabbed two police officers and the bus driver before taking control of the vehicle. Police subsequently arrested him and said that personal grievances were the reason for the attack. The incident underlines the need for travelers to remain alert to their surroundings at all times.
Yesterday, 15 suspected Islamist militants were detained during raids in several locations in Delhi and Uttar Pradesh state. Bomb-making materials and weapons were reportedly recovered from the suspects, who authorities claimed were planning high-profile attacks in several areas, including in Delhi on Republic Day (January 26). The development highlights the persistent risk posed by terrorism in the country. Travelers should remain vigilant to their surroundings and report any suspicious behavior or items to the authorities.
Travel to the western coast of Banten province, including Pandeglang and Serang regencies as well as the southern coast of Lampung province, should be deferred through tomorrow, following a tsunami which struck these areas at around 9:30 PM local time on Saturday, December 22. Several hundred have died, and many more are injured or missing. Emergency response is underway. In addition to the limited ability to treat medical conditions, there is an increased risk of disease outbreaks and potential food and water shortages. Authorities have advised residents to avoid coastal areas of the Sunda Strait through tomorrow due to forecast high tides, which is likely to disrupt ongoing rescue and evacuation efforts. Indonesia’s Agency for Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics (BMKG) has forecast waves reaching to between four and eight feet in height in waters around Indonesia. Storm surges may arise in the event of inclement weather and can pose hazards to overland travel in coastal areas. Worst-affected areas include the coasts of Pandeglang, including Carita and Labuan beaches, and Rajabasa in South Lampung Regency. Travelers are advised to avoid coastal areas, remain alert, and follow the advice of local authorities.
Confirmed cases of measles have been reported in some areas of the country, including Astana. Measles is caused by a highly contagious virus that spreads from person-to-person via infected droplets. Outbreaks occur frequently in undervaccinated populations. Common symptoms include fever, cough, and a characteristic rash. Measles can result in serious complications, particularly when very young children, the elderly or pregnant women are infected. All travelers should ensure that they are fully immunized against measles.
On Monday, December 31, travelers in Kuala Lumpur and other urban centers should avoid a series of protests at 10:00 PM local time. The youth wing of the Parti Islam Se Malaysia (PAS) Islamist political party is planning to mark New Year’s Eve with nationwide protests against a perceived government failure to improve socio-economic conditions. The main demonstration will be at Kuala Lumpur’s Sogo Shopping Center. Turnout is not expected to be high, and the protests are likely to pass off peacefully; however, traffic disruption is likely in the vicinity.
Minor delays at Auckland Airport (AKL) are possible in the coming hours, following a fire and the subsequent partial evacuation of the international terminal. Emergency services have now extinguished the blaze, which occurred in the duty free area shortly before 7:00 PM local time today, and operations at the terminal have resumed.
Travelers in Eastern, Western and Central Visayas regions, as well as northern areas of Caraga region and Palawan province, should plan journeys accounting for potential disruption during the passage of Tropical Depression Usman. On its current trajectory, the weather system is expected to make landfall tomorrow in Eastern Samar province. Usman is then likely to pass through northern parts of Central Visayas, Western Visayas, and Palawan before exiting the Philippine Area of Responsibility (PAR) on Monday, December 31.
Today, reports indicate that a large fire that broke out at a construction site in the Cheongdam-dong area of Seoul’s Gangnam district has been extinguished. No casualties have been reported. Reports indicate that traffic disruption has eased, though residual delays are possible around the site today.
Through today, the Turkish State Meteorological Service (TSMS) has warned of heavy snowfall and strong winds in parts of the Marmara, Black Sea, Aegean and Central Anatolia regions, including Ankara and Istanbul. Severe weather conditions may persist beyond today and are likely to cause travel disruption. Travelers should maintain flexible itineraries and reconfirm the status of routes and transportation, including flights, before setting out.
Over the coming days, travelers in Yerevan and other urban centers should avoid further demonstrations linked to the presence of a foreign military base in Gyumri. Separate rallies on December 25 were held in Yerevan, one demanding the facility’s closure and the other backing its presence. Further gatherings are possible in Yerevan and other urban centers, and may result in local travel disruption, as well as scuffles between participants and counter-demonstrators.
Over the coming weeks, travelers in urban centers should continue to exercise caution and avoid all protests by supporters of the ‘Yellow Vests’ (‘Gilets Jaunes’ or ‘GJ’) movement. Related demonstrations will take place on Avenue des ChampElyseesin Paris at 3:00 PM local time on Monday, December 31. In addition, a nationwide GJ roadblock campaign continues.
Operations at Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky Airport (PKC) have resumed following a brief suspension yesterday due to ice on the runway. Through tomorrow, travelers flying via the airport should anticipate disruption and reconfirm schedules due to further forecast adverse weather.
In the coming days, travelers transiting Kiev and other urban centers should reconfirm flight schedules and the status of routes due to ongoing adverse weather conditions. Since December 25, dozens of flights have been cancelled or delayed at Boryspil (KBP) and Kiev (IEV) international airports. Operations have also been affected at Danylo Halytskyi International Airport (LWO) in Lviv.
Over the coming weeks, travelers in Ukraine should monitor for official announcements regarding travel for foreign nationals to Crimea and adhere to official directives. Despite the lifting of martial law yesterday, authorities have yet to clarify the stipulations for travel to the peninsula, indicating that the ban on foreign nationals entering Crimea imposed on November 29 remains valid. Those already in Crimea will remain unaffected by the restriction but are reminded to exit the peninsula via the same checkpoint they used for entry.
A 30-day martial law imposed in areas near the coast of the Black and Azov seas, the Russian border, and the TransnistrianMoldovan border ended yesterday. The measure was implemented due to escalating tensions with Russia in the Black and Azov seas. Travel to most of Ukraine can continue, though it requires itinerary- and profile-specific advice, and travelers should monitor developments and abide by official directives. Travelers should continue to defer all travel to the buffer zone and ceasefire line between government forces and armed separatists in Donetsk and Luhansk provinces.
North Korea: Constitution Day
South Sudan: Republic Day
eSwatini: Incwala Day
Kazakhstan: Special Working Day
Mongolia: Independence Day
Ukraine: Special Working Day
Spain: Feast of the Holy Family
Philippines: Rizal Day
New Year’s Eve
Argentina: Bridge Public Holiday
Azerbaijan: World Azerbaijanis Solidarity Day
Switzerland: Restoration Day
Japan: December 31 Bank Holiday
Kazakhstan: New Year (Extra Holiday)
Russia: Extra Holiday in lieu of
New Year’s Day
Cameroon: Independence Day
Cuba: Liberation Day
Czech Republic: Restoration of the
Czech Independence Day
Egypt: January 1 Bank Holiday
Pakistan: January 1 Bank Holiday
Sudan: Independence Day
Slovakia: Republic Day
Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan,Bosnia & Herzegovina,Georgia, Kazakhstan, Moldova,Montenegro, Mauritius: New Year (Day 2)
Botswana: Public Holiday (January)
Canada: Day After New Year’s Day
Switzerland, Liechtenstein:Berchtold Day
China: New Year’s Weekend
Cuba: New Year Day
Haiti: Heroes’ Day/Ancestors’ Day
Japan: January 2 Bank Holiday
Saint Kitts & Nevis: Carnival Day
New Zealand, Romania, Samoa:Day after New Year’s Day
Serbia, Kosovo: Second Day of New Year’s Day
Russia: New Year Holiday Week
Slovenia: New Year
United Kingdom: 2nd January
Armenia: New Year’s Day (Day 3)
Japan: January 3 Bank Holiday
Russia: New Year Holiday Week
Armenia: New Year’s Day (Day 4)
Congo (DRC): Martyrs of Independence Day
Myanmar: Independence Day
Russia: New Year Holiday Week
Sao Tome & Principe: Day of King Amador
Armenia: Armenian Christmas Eve
Vietnam: Working day for Dec. 31, 2018