102319 – 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

  • Lebanon – U.S. Department of State , GOV.AU – Reconsider travel Lebanon due to crime, terrorism, armed conflict and civil unrest. Some areas have increased risk. Read the entire Travel Advisory. Do Not Travel to the border with Syria due to terrorism and armed conflict, the border with Israel due to the potential for armed conflict, refugee settlements due to the potential for armed conflict.

Take Enhanced Precautions

Conflict and Terrorism

  • Afghanistan – UN News – Afghanistan has seen record-high levels of civilian casualties in the third quarter of 2019, stemming mainly from the violence between pro- and anti-Government elements, the UN Assistance Mission in the country (UNAMA) revealed in a report published Thursday, which concluded that more must be done to protect the country’s people.
  • Indonesia – GOV.UK – There’s a heightened risk during holiday periods including the Christmas and New Year period, Chinese New Year, Nyepi (Balinese New Year), Easter, Ramadan, local elections, presidential inaugurations and annual Independence Day celebrations (17 August). You should follow the advice of the local authorities, remaining particularly vigilant and maintaining a high level of security awareness in crowded places and at large gatherings.
  • Libya – GOV.UK – Inter militia fighting has periodically caused the temporary suspension or closure of airports, closed roads and led to the closure of some border crossings. All airports are vulnerable to attack. Tripoli International Airport has been closed since 13 July 2014. Heavy clashes between militia groups in late August and September 2018 resulted in over 120 deaths and nearly 450 wounded.
  • Rwanda – GOV.UK – On 19 October, a grenade attack in Kamembe Town, Rusizi District in the South West of Rwanda injured four people.
  • Syria – UN News – Civilians are still fleeing shelling and clashes in northern Syria on the border with Turkey, despite a ceasefire deal between Turkish forces and Syrian backed Kurdish military, the UN said on Friday.
  • Thailand – GC.CA – The 35th Summit of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) will be held from October 31 to November 4, 2019. Large events, including political events, can be attractive targets for terrorists. Bomb blasts occurred during the 52nd ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meeting in August 2019.
  • Turkey – GOV.UK – Turkey is conducting a military operation in north eastern Syria. This has led to heightened tensions in border regions, including cross border rocket and mortar attacks into Turkey, close to the border. If you’re in provinces bordering Syria, you should remain extremely vigilant and keep up to date with developments via local media and this travel advice.

Crime and Social Unrest

  • Guatemala – GOV.AU – There is a state of emergency in the departments of Alta Verapaz, El Progreso, Izabal, Peten and Zacapa. This measure is in response to the killing of three soldiers by suspected drug trafficers. Security forces have additional powers and some civil rights are suspended. Follow instructions issued by local authorities, carry your personal identification with you and approach checkpoints cautiously.
  • Turks and Caicos Islands – GOV.UK – The level of crime on Providenciales, the first point of arrival into the Turks and Caicos Islands for most visitors and the territory’s economic hub, is higher than on the other islands where incidences of serious crime are less frequent. The police have been responding to a number of serious crime related issues involving firearms in Providenciales in recent weeks.

Demonstrations

  • Bolivia – GC.CA , GOV.UK – Presidential elections took place on October 20, 2019. Demonstrations could occur following the announcement of the official election results.
  • Chile – GC.CA , GOV.UK , GOV.AU , GOV.NZ – Demonstrations in various parts of Chile have been ongoing since mid October 2019. Incidents of violence have occurred, including arson and looting. Some have led to deaths and injuries. A state of emergency was declared in various areas. The state of emergency limits freedom of movement and assembly.
  • Chile – UN News – The top UN human rights official is calling for politicians and civil society in Chile to engage in “immediate dialogue” to resolve the deadly crisis which has gripped the nation in recent days. At least eight people have died and more than 40 have been injured in protests against rising inequality. The demonstrations began last week following a proposal to increase public transportation fares, which was later scrapped.
  • Colombia – GOV.AU – Colombia will hold regional elections on 27 October 2019. Avoid demonstrations, as they could turn violent.
  • Ecuador – GC.CA , GOV.UK – On October 3, 2019, a nationwide strike was called by transportation unions to protest against economic measures imposed by the government. Demonstrations in Quito and other cities across the country have developed into nationwide protests and civil unrest. On October 13, opposing parties reached a tentative deal. Most of the protesters have left Quito and the situation has improved significantly since then.
  • Guinea – GOV.UK , GOV.AU – Further demonstrations have been announced by the National Front for the Defence of the Constitution (FNDC) for Wednesday 23 October and Thursday 24 October in Conakry and countrywide. Recent demonstrations across Conakry and in other towns throughout Guinea have led to significant travel disruption and a number of violent incidents, including deaths. You should remain vigilant, stay clear of areas where demonstrators are gathering and monitor local media.
  • Hong Kong – GOV.AU – Protests continue and there have been violent clashes between protestors, opposing groups and police. Authorities have invoked emergency laws. These ban face coverings in public assemblies and give police additional powers to physically verify the identity of individuals. Further measures could be introduced at short notice. Road closures, transport disruptions and shop closures occur at little notice. If there are signs of disorder, move away quickly to a safe place.
  • Lebanon – GC.CA , GOV.UK – Demonstrations are ongoing in Beirut and across the country and are expected to continue. Violent incidents have caused deaths and injuries. Roadblocks are restricting access to many roads in Greater Beirut as well as main highways across the country. Telecommunications services may be disrupted.
  • Mozambique – GOV.UK – Presidential, legislative and provincial elections took place in Mozambique on 15 October; you should continue to exercise caution whilst travelling around the country and avoid travelling to unfamiliar places after elections; you should avoid large gatherings, demonstrations and political rallies.
  • Spain – GC.CA , GOV.AU , GOV.NZ – Demonstrations are ongoing in Catalonia, especially in Barcelona, since the sentencing of Catalan separatist leaders on October 14, 2019. Violent clashes between demonstrators and police have caused multiples injuries. Demonstrations may cause significant disruptions to transportation, including access to roads, airports, and the railway and metro systems. Flight delays or cancellations, as well as disruptions at ports, are also possible.

Entry and Exit Requirements

  • Argentina – GOV.UK , GOV.AU  – The land border between Mendoza and Chile will be closed from 4.00pm on Tuesday 22 October to 9.00am on Wednesday 23 October. If you are in Mendoza planning to travel to Chile by land please check the status of the border with the local authorities and follow their advice.
  • Mexico – GOV.UK – There are currently large numbers of migrants moving en masse from Honduras through Guatemala to Mexico and beyond. This is having an impact on border crossings. The situation is fluid but borders crossings at Tecun Uman (Guatemala/Mexico), Agua Caliente (Honduras/Guatemala) and Tijuana (Mexico/USA) are currently affected and subject to periodic closures. You’re advised to check with local authorities and tour operators before attempting to cross land borders.
  • Thailand – GC.CA – Starting on October 31, 2019, those applying for non immigrant visas of category “O A” will need to show proof of a valid health insurance meeting specific criteria. Guidelines Non Immigrant Visa (O A) Thai General Insurance Association
  • Turkey – GOV.UK – You should carry your passport and a printed copy of your e visa (if applicable) or residence permit at all times. In some busy areas, especially Istanbul, the Turkish authorities are stopping members of the public to conduct ID checks.

Health

  • Brazil, Philippines, Mexico, Nicaragua, Bangladesh, Thailand, Honduras, Colombia, Malaysia, Sri Lanka – ECDC – Dengue. Compared with the same time period in 2018, data for dengue infections so far in 2019 show substantial increases. Brazil, the Philippines, Mexico, Nicaragua, Bangladesh, Thailand, Honduras, Colombia, Malaysia and Sri Lanka are reporting most of the cases (89% of 960000) during the past three months. In September 2019, Spain and France reported autochthonous cases of dengue.
  • Ethiopia, Brazil, Thailand – ECDC – Chikungunya. The virus circulates widely in the Americas, with several countries reporting cases in 2019. Chikungunya virus disease cases have also been reported in Asia and Africa during this period. Since the previous update on 20September 2019, Ethiopia, Brazil and Thailand have reported the majority of new cases.
  • Greece, Italy, Serbia, Macedonia – ECDC – West Nile Virus. Between 11 and 17 October 2019, EU Member States reported four human cases in Greece (2) and Italy (2). Five cases were reported from EU neighbouring countries in Serbia (4) and North Macedonia (1). All human cases were reported from areas that have been affected previously. This week, one death was reported by Greece.
  • Japan – ECDC – Mass gathering.  ECDC is monitoring the Rugby World Cup 2019 taking place in Japan from 20 September to 2 November 2019 to detect threats to public health that could affect EU/EEA visitors. Typhoon Hagibis hit Japan on 12 October 2019, resulting in 74 deaths as of 17 October 2019. Two autochthonous cases of dengue were reported in Tokyo; both have a travel history to Nara and Kyoto in Japan. Cases of rubella and measles continue to be reported. According to Japan’s National Institute of Infectious Disease, an increase of 12 rubella cases and 12 measles cases has been reported since the previous CDTR and as of 9 October 2019.
  • Lebanon – WHO – Health authorities in Lebanon are responding to an outbreak of measles. From 1 November 2018 through 12 October 2019, a total of 1,171 cases have been reported, of which 675 (57.6%) were laboratory confirmed, 8 (0.7%) epidemiologically linked cases, and 488 (41.7%) were clinically diagnosed. No associated deaths have been reported as of now. Measles cases have been reported in all eight Lebanese governorates, with Aakar, Baalbek El Hermel, Bekaa North, and Mount Lebanon governorates most affected.
  • Samoa – GOV.AU – There is an outbreak of measles in Samoa. Make sure your vaccinations are up to date before you go.
  • Saudi Arabia – WHO – From 1 through 30 September 2019, the National IHR Focal Point of Saudi Arabia reported 4 additional laboratory confirmed cases of Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS CoV) infection and one associated death. The cases were reported from Al Qassim (2 cases), Riyadh (1 case), and Al Ahsaa (1 case) regions.
  • United States – ECDC – Eastern Equine Encephalitis. The US CDC reports an increase of eastern equine encephalitis (EEE) cases in the US in 2019.

Law and Culture

  • São Tomé and Principe – GOV.UK – Homosexual acts are not illegal in São Tomé and Príncipe; however, public attitudes towards homosexuality are less tolerant than in the UK and public displays of affection may attract negative attention.

Natural Disasters and Climate

  • Botswana, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, China, India, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand, Bolivia, Brazil, Paraguay, Belize, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Argentina, Chile, Australia – GDACS – The drought has lasted for 9 months. Drought indicators suggest anomalies typical of severe to extreme events.
  • Sudan – UN News – Unprecedented heavy flooding in South Sudan’s Maban County has affected nearly 200,000 people, including refugees and host population.
  • Vietnam – GOV.UK – The authorities in Hanoi have said that hazardous chemicals have been identified in tap water in parts of the city and surrounding areas after a chemical spill. Take precautions including avoiding drinking or cooking with tap water.

Other

  • Serbia – GOV.UK – Partizan take on Manchester United in a Europa League match on Thursday 24 October 2019. If you’re travelling to Serbia for the game, you should visit our dedicated advice page.

Ebola News

  • Democratic Republic of the Congo
    • ECDC – Since the previous CDTR and as of 9 October 2019, the Ministry of Health of the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) has reported 20 additional confirmed cases. During the same period, 14 deaths among confirmed cases were reported.
    • CDC – An outbreak of Ebola is occurring in the South Kivu (Kivu Sud), North Kivu (Kivu Nord), and Ituri provinces of the DRC (see map of Ebola-affected health zones in the DRC).
    • WHO – Disease outbreak news: 17 October 2019. The number of confirmed cases of Ebola virus disease (EVD) has been relatively low in recent weeks, with 15 new confirmed cases reported in North Kivu and Ituri provinces during the epidemiological week of 7 October through 13 October. These encouraging signs are offset by a marked increase in case incidence in Biakato Mine Health Area, Mandima Health Zone. During the past 21 days (from 25 September through 15 October), a total of 50 confirmed cases were reported from ten health zones, of which two-thirds were reported from or had transmission links to Biakato Mine Health Area.  The last assessment, carried out on 8 October 2019, concluded that the national and regional risk levels remain very high, while global risk levels remain low.
  • Tanzania – ECDC – Ebola. So far, there has been no new confirmed technical information regarding the death due to an unknown illness in Tanzania.
  • Burundi, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Rwanda, South Sudan, Tanzania, Uganda – GOV.UK – Public Health England has updated its guidance for humanitarian or healthcare workers travelling to countries at risk of Ebola.  The guidance intends to minimize the risk of Ebola virus infection for individuals intending to work in a country with probable Ebola cases or that is at risk of outbreaks.

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.