Recent World Wide Alerts

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22.01.20  /  Low  /   – About Today - Wednesday 22 January

Low

22.01.20 About Today - Wednesday 22 January

Australia: 2020 Australian Open tennis tournament in Melbourne Switzerland: World Economic Forum (WEF) Annual Meeting in Davos United States: Anniversary of Roe v. Wade Supreme Court decision (1973) that legalized abortion in the United States. Pro- and anti-abortion protests possible in Washington, D.C. and other major cities.

22.01.20  /  High  /  Australia – Major Health Alert

High

22.01.20 Australia Major Health Alert

As of 21 January 2020, Chinese health officials have reported six confirmed deaths due to the outbreak in Wuhan, China, of a new strain of SARS-like coronavirus. In a separate statement, authorities noted that at least 16 health care workers have been hospitalized for exhibiting symptoms of the disease. The World Health Organization (WHO) is set to convene an emergency meeting on 22 January to determine whether to classify the outbreak as a “public health emergency of international concern.” For nearly a month, Chinese and WHO officials had reported that the primary method of transmission appeared to be animal-to-human. As of late, health authorities note that “limited human-to-human” transmission has also occurred. Health authorities in Asia and the U.S. have implemented additional screening procedures at airports to test individuals arriving from Wuhan and elsewhere ahead of the Chinese Lunar New Year travel holidays -- which represent the world's largest annual human migration. Furthermore, Singapore authorities announced they would quarantine individuals who recently traveled to China and had pneumonia-like symptoms. Authorities at Mumbai’s Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj International Airport (VABB/BOM), as well as those at Sydney (Kingsford Smith) Airport (YSSY/SYD), announced heightened screening procedures for travelers from Wuhan. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) currently maintains a Level 1 – “Practice Usual Precautions” – health advisory regarding the outbreak; additional information can be found here.

22.01.20  /  High  /  China – Outbreak of Viral Pneumonia

High

22.01.20 China Outbreak of Viral Pneumonia

An outbreak of viral pneumonia -- denoted by the World Health Organization as the 2019-nCov (novel coronavirus) -- has been reported in the city of Wuhan, Hubei province in China, by the Wuhan Municipal Health Commission. The previously unknown pathogen has now been confirmed to be a new strain of coronavirus (different strain from SARS and MERS). Since 20 January 2020, the virus has now spread to the major cities of Beijing and Shenzhen, bringing the total number of confirmed cases to over 218; meanwhile, four deaths have been reported. The most common symptom is fever, with some patients presenting with difficulty breathing, and bilateral pulmonary infiltrates. Human-to-Human transmission has been confirmed by China and persons who have been in contact with infected patients are currently being monitored. An ongoing epidemiological investigation has revealed that some of the cases are believed to have originated from the Huanan Seafood Market in Wuhan City. Chinese municipal and national health officials have set parameters to contain the outbreak, showing the country's readiness and ability to manage respiratory illness outbreaks. Travel: At present there are no recommendations from health authorities that travel to the Wuhan area or China needs to be avoided; the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that travelers to Wuhan "should avoid animals (alive or dead), animal markets, and contact with sick people."
  • US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) - Travel Health Notice Alert Level 1 (i.e. "Practice Usual Precautions") - 6 January 2020
  • World Health Organization (WHO) - Advice on International Travel and Health - 10 January 2020; where it recommends the usual precautions such as:
  • "Avoiding close contact with people suffering from acute respiratory infections;
  • Frequent hand-washing, especially after direct contact with ill people or their environment;
  • Avoiding close contact with live or dead farm or wild animals;
  • Travelers with symptoms of acute respiratory infection should practice cough etiquette (maintain distance, cover coughs and sneezes with disposable tissues or clothing, and wash hands)."
Outbound flights from China, particularly Wuhan, are subject to additional inspection in the form of health screening/temperature check, and quarantine of suspected cases. These measures have already been implemented in countries inside and even outside the region - e.g. in the U.S., three airports (San Francisco International, JFK in New York and Los Angeles International) are currently screening passengers coming from Wuhan directly or via a connection. The WHO has called for an emergency meeting. As of 20 January 2020, four confirmed cases in Thailand (two cases), Japan (one case) and recently South Korea (one case) have been recorded. Health officials in Taiwan, Hong Kong, Vietnam, Singapore and the Philippines are also under caution after suspected cases of travelers from Wuhan exhibiting similar symptoms were reported. Recent travelers from the area experiencing fever or respiratory symptoms are advised to seek medical attention immediately.

22.01.20  /  Medium  /  Lebanon – Protests Ongoing

Medium

22.01.20 Lebanon Protests Ongoing

On 20 January 2020, the U.K. Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) issued updated travel advice for Lebanon, which reads in part as follows: “Protests which began on 17 October 2019 are ongoing. The protests have centred on Beirut and Tripoli, but have occurred at various locations nationwide, often with little notice. Violent confrontations between protestors, security forces and supporters of political groups have occurred, including major clashes in downtown Beirut on 18 and 19 January 2020 which resulted in hundreds of casualties and the widespread use of tear gas and rubber bullets by the security forces to disperse crowds. A protestor died in a further incident in Khalde on 12 November 2019. “Violence between the security forces and protestors is highly likely to reoccur, including at short notice, in particular at existing flashpoints – notably downtown Beirut. You should remain vigilant, avoid protests, demonstrations and large political gatherings, and keep up to date with developments... “As a result of the protests, major roads in and out of Beirut and across the country have become blocked at short notice, including the roads to and from Beirut Rafic Hariri International Airport ([OLBA/BEY]). If you’re travelling to or from the airport, check your flight status before leaving, allow extra time for your journey and ensure that you have adequate medical supplies if required. If roads from the airport are blocked, wait there until the authorities confirm access roads are open. “Fuel stations continue to supply petrol, but there have been closures at short notice. Plan any journeys carefully, seek local advice before departing and be prepared to change plans at short notice. “Banks have been closed for long periods during the protests. While ATMs have been reliably stocked with Lebanese Pounds, and credit/debit cards continue to be accepted in most circumstances, access to US dollars is extremely limited. If you do not intend to use the local currency, you should bring US dollars with you. “Medical supplies may become increasingly scarce. You should therefore bring any medicines you need with you to Lebanon.” The full text of the advice is available here.

18.01.20  /  High  /  Comoros – Travel Advice

High

18.01.20 Comoros Travel Advice

On 17 January 2020, the U.K. Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) issued updated travel advice for Comoros, which reads in part as follows: “Some violent incidents occurred during the election period in March 2019. Political demonstrations and other protests may still occur, particularly following the first round of legislative elections on 19 January 2020. You should avoid crowds and demonstrations throughout Comoros and obey local security instructions.”

17.01.20  /  Medium  /  Hong Kong – Multiple Demonstations

Medium

17.01.20 Hong Kong Multiple Demonstations

Multiple demonstrations are scheduled to occur in Hong Kong through 17-19 January. From 1300-1430 local time (0500-0630 UTC) on 17 January protests will take place in Lai Chi Kok, Wong Chuk Hang and San Po Kong. At 2100 local time protesters plan to march from the Hung Hom Promenade to the Hong Kong Clock Tower, approximately 2 km (1.2 mi) west of the starting point. Organizers of these events have not requested a Letter of No Objection from authorities and expected turnout remains unknown. Beginning at 1030 local time on 18 January a flash mob protest is expected to take place outside the headquarters of public broadcasting service Radio Television Hong Kong (RTHK) in Kowloon Tong. Organizers have not applied for a Letter of No Objection. A number of other events related to the upcoming Lunar New Year will also take place throughout the territory, including in Tseung Kwan O, Kwai Chung, Sai Ying Pun, Sai Wan Ho, Mong Kok and Hung Hom. Although these events are not directly related to ongoing protests, protest-related activity could still occur. In what will likely be the largest event of the weekend, a “Karma to Commies” protest march from Chater Road to the SOGO department store in Causeway Bay is scheduled to begin at 1500 local time on 19 January. A request for a Letter of No Objection is currently pending. A related “Karma to Commies” demonstration -- which took place on 12 January at Edinburgh Place in Central -- drew approximately 36,000 attendees, according to organizers; the demonstration concluded peacefully.
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