091118 – World Status Report

When traveling on behalf of UT Dallas, set up your institutional safety net and prepare for an emergency as a standard step of all your travels.  Find more information in the Traveler Best Practices webpage.

The risk information in this report is retrieved from U.S. Department of State, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the World Health Organization, and other professional sources as listed in the post. It provides general guidance for UT Dallas travelers.

Please note the revision date (mmddyy) of this report, printed on the title of the post, and go to the direct sources listed for the most up-to-date information.  The information in this report may change without prior notice.

Avoid Nonessential Travel

Conflict and Terrorism

  • LebanonU.S. Department of State. Reconsider travel Lebanon due to crime, terrorism, and armed conflict. Read the entire travel advisory.

Natural Disaster

  • Guam and Northern Marianas – Government of Canada, GOV.UK. Typhoon Mangkhut should make landfall as a category 3 typhoon on September 11, 2018. Violent winds are expected to start on September 9. The tropical storm is expected to intensify, possibly becoming a Category 4 typhoon, by the time it reaches Guam. The typhoon is likely to bring excessive rainfall. It may cause flash flooding and landslides and could severely disrupt the essential services like transportation, power distribution, water and food supply, telecommunications networks, emergency services, and medical care. Avoid any unnecessary travel through the affected area. If you reside in the affected areas, you should exercise caution, monitor local news and weather reports, and follow the instructions of local authorities.
  • United StatesThe National Hurricane Center (NHC) is issuing advisories on Hurricane Florence. As the storm develops, the NHC will continue to issue alerts and warnings for the potentially affected areas. If you reside in or are traveling to coastal areas of South Carolina, North Carolina and Virginia: monitor local news and weather reports, follow the instructions of local authorities, contact your travel agent or tour operator to determine if the situation will disrupt travel arrangements.

Take Enhanced Precautions

Demonstrations

  • Costa RicaGovernment of Canada. Labor unions called for a general strike on September 10, 2018 throughout the country. Demonstrations will likely take place and roadblocks may be erected. This could significantly disrupt the essential services like transportation, power distribution, water and food supply, telecommunications networks, emergency services, and medical care. If you are in Costa Rica during the event be vigilant at all times, ensure to have sufficient quantities of water, food, medication and fuel, avoid large gatherings and demonstrations, which have the potential to suddenly turn violent and monitor local media and follow the advice of local authorities.
  • IraqGOV.UK. Protests are ongoing in Basra linked to demands for improved services and employment opportunities. Casualties have been reported. Following an escalation in violence on 4 and 6 September 2018, the Government of Iraq imposed temporary overnight curfews in the city. Curfews could be re-imposed at short notice if violence continues.

Crime and Social Unrest

  • Costa RicaGOV.UK. In August 2018, tourists from Mexico and Spain were killed in separate crime-related incidents. In March 2018, a tourist group was assaulted on the shores of River Pacuare. In January 2018, a tourist bus was stopped by criminals and passengers were robbed at gunpoint in Tortuguero, Limon Province. Maintain a high level of personal security awareness, including when using ATMs. Petty theft of personal items including passports is a significant problem.
  • ThailandGOV.UK. Be on your guard against pickpockets and bag snatchers. Foreigners have had items snatched by thieves on motorbikes when walking along busy streets or travelling in open transport like tuk tuks. If you travel by bus or rail, make sure passports, cash and valuables are kept securely and out of sight. Passengers have had items taken from bags while asleep
  • South AfricaGOV.UK. In recent months there have been several bomb threats made against shopping malls and other public places, leading to evacuations of the immediate area by the authorities; South African police are continuing to investigate these incidents; you should monitor the advice of relevant authorities in local and social media; in the event of any future alerts, you should move away from areas where alerts or threats are reported and follow the instructions of the local authorities at the scene.
  • ItalyGOV.UK. Those in cars can sometimes be targeted by thieves. Robberies from cars have been reported particularly in and around Rome, Milan and Pisa, as well as at motorway service stations. Always lock your vehicle, never leave valuables in cars and avoid leaving luggage in cars for any length of time. Be aware that thieves may use a variety of methods to distract you or encourage you to stop your car. These may include asking for help or directions, or pointing out a fictional fault with your car.
  • TunisiaGovernment of Canada. Exercise a high degree of caution in Tunisia due to the nationwide risk of terrorist attacks and civil unrest.

Natural Disaster

  • JapanGovernment of CanadaGOV.UK. Typhoon Jebi passed through Japan on September 4, 2018, causing significant flight disruptions at the Kansai International Airport (KIX). There are also disruptions to the essential services like transportation, power distribution and water supply. If you’re travelling to the affected areas, contact your airline or tour operator to determine if the situation will disrupt your travel plans. Exercise caution, monitor local news and weather reports, and follow the instructions of local authorities.  For the latest information on flights, check the Kansai International Airport website. The Osaka Prefectural government is publishing up-to-date information and guidance on their website.
  • JapanGOV.UK. At 3.12am local time on 6 September 2018, a magnitude 6.7 earthquake occurred in Hokkaido, northern Japan. Transportation throughout the island has been disrupted. If you’re in Hokkaido, or are planning to travel to the area, be careful of aftershocks, follow the advice of the local authorities, follow local news, and check with transportation companies for any changes or cancellations of schedule.
  • St Vincent and the Grenadines, St Lucia, St Kitts and Nevis, Montserrat, Guadeloupe, Barbados, Haiti, Anguilla, Martinique, Aruba, Dominica, Antigua and Barbuda, St Maarten, Curacao, Bonaire/St Eustatius/Saba, Grenada, Dominican Republic, British Virgin Islands   – GOV.UK. Hurricane Isaac is forecast to reach the Caribbean region on or around Thursday 13 September. You should monitor local and international weather updates and follow the advice of local authorities.
  • GuatemalaGOV.UK. Road travel by National Route 14 is vulnerable to closure at short notice during heavy rain or due to volcanic activity. Before climbing volcanoes, you should visit the website of the Guatemalan Meteorological Office (INSIVUMEH) and the CONRED disaster agency for information on access, restrictions and recommendations. You should also check and follow the advice of local authorities beforehand.
  • ThailandGOV.UK. The Thai Meteorological Department continues to warn of heavy rain, high seas (Upper Gulf of Thailand and the Andaman Sea) and the possibility of landslides and flash flooding. You should follow the advice of local authorities and monitor weather forecasts and information from the The Mekong River Commission in case of flood warnings.

Law and Culture

  • IndiaGovernment of Canada. Indian law does not prohibit sexual acts between individuals of the same sex. However, homosexuality is not widely accepted in Indian society.
  • ThailandGOV.UK. Some people, including foreign nationals, have faced criminal charges as a result of sharing articles online that could be seen as portraying Thailand negatively or making accusations about individuals.
  • ItalyGOV.UK. Until 6 January 2019, it is not permitted to consume food while stationary on the pavements around the Uffizi gallery in Florence, between the hours of 12pm to 3pm and 6pm to 10pm; doing so will incur a large fine.

Health

  • ChinaWHO. Since March 2013, when the avian influenza A(H7N9) virus infection was first detected in humans, a total of 1567 laboratory-confirmed human cases, including at least 615 deaths have been reported to WHO (Figure 1) in accordance with the International Health Regulations (IHR 2005). So far, all but three reported cases have occurred in China. In the latest wave (the sixth wave, which began in October 2017), only three human cases have been detected; meanwhile there have been fewer A(H7N9) virus detections in poultry and environment samples, according to reports from mainland and the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region China.
  • China – ECDC. One new human case of avian influenza A(H5N6) was reported in August 2018 from China. The case is a 42-year-old man from Guangxi.
  • IsraelCDC. There is an outbreak of leptospirosis in northern Israel (Golan Heights). Travelers at highest risk are those exposed to contaminated fresh water (like lakes and rivers in the affected area) through activities such as swimming, wading, kayaking, or rafting.
  • Republic of the CongoWHO recommends vaccination against yellow fever for all international travellers above nine months of age going to the Republic of the Congo, as there is evidence of yellow fever virus transmission.
  • Algeria ECDC. As of 5 September 2018 and since the beginning of the outbreak, 217 suspected cholera cases including two deaths (CFR: 0.9%) have been reported in Algeria. Among these cases, 83 have been confirmed. This represents an increase of 27 confirmed cases since the previous CDTR.
  • Saudi Arabia ECDC. During the month of August, six MERS-CoV cases, including one death, were reported by Saudi Arabia. All cases but one were male. Of these cases, two reported camel contact and four were community-acquired.
  • South Africa ECDC. On 3 September 2018, the Ministry of Health of South Africa declared the outbreak of listeriosis over.
  • West Nile VirusECDC. Between 31 August and 6 September 2018, EU Member States reported 86 human cases of West Nile fever: Hungary (38), Croatia (22), Greece (19), France (5) and Austria (2). EU neighbouring countries reported 49 cases, all by Serbia. In five areas, human cases were reported for the first time: Croatia (4) and France (1). All other human cases were reported from areas that have been affected during previous transmission seasons.
  • PoliomyelitisECDC. Since the CDTR published on 3 August 2018, Afghanistan has reported two new cases of wild poliovirus type 1 and four other countries have detected cases of circulating vaccine-derived polio viruses type 2 (cVDPV2): Papua New Guinea (7), Nigeria (6), the Democratic Republic of the Congo (6) and Somalia (1).

Other

  • Costa RicaGOV.UK. Take extra care if participating in tours involving snorkeling or similar activities. There have been recent fatalities.
  • LibyaGovernment of Canada. Currently, only Mitiga (in Tripoli), Benghazi, Misrata, Al Labraq (in Baida) and Tobruk airports offer international flights. Flights are frequently cancelled; tickets must be obtained in advance, and paid for in cash on site.

Ebola News

  • Democratic Republic of the CongoECDC. At the end of August, the Ministry of Health of the Democratic Republic of the Congo reported 13 additional cases and 12 deaths. As of 5 September 2018, there have been 129 Ebola virus disease cases (98 confirmed, 31 probable), including 89 deaths (58 confirmed, 31 probable).
  • Democratic Republic of the CongoWHO. This outbreak of EVD is affecting north-eastern provinces of the Democratic Republic of the Congo, which border Uganda, Rwanda and South Sudan. Potential risk factors for transmission of EVD at the national and regional levels include the transportation links between the affected areas, the rest of the country, and neighbouring countries; the internal displacement of populations; and the displacement of Congolese refugees to neighbouring countries. The country is concurrently experiencing other epidemics (e.g. cholera, vaccine-derived poliomyelitis), and a long-term humanitarian crisis. Additionally, the security situation in North Kivu and Ituri may hinder the implementation of response activities. Based on this context, the public health risk was assessed to be high at the national and regional levels, and low globally.

Please note the revision date (mmddyy) of this report, printed on the title of the post, and go to the direct sources listed for the most up-to-date information.  The information in this report may change without prior notice.