Travel risk round-up: Friday 25 May

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travel risk

travel risk

Low
New Chinese Social Credit System disrupts millions of trips, China

Since its recent launch, according to local reports on Friday, 25 May, the Chinese Social Credit System has blocked over 11 million people from boarding a flight, and a further 4 million people from travelling by train. These numbers do not include affected itineraries after the end of April. Chinese officials have stated that the aforementioned penalties, following social infractions, may not be enough to deter citizens from breaking the law; and argue for tougher punishments. The Chinese Social Credit System is a huge social control program with numerous data records provided by different national public organisations. The government is able to cross-reference these “blacklists” and ascertain who will be penalised. An enhanced version of the programme will be live in 2020. Although currently foreigners have not been affected by the Chinese Social Credit System, the government is likely to expand the scope of these measures over foreign nationals visiting the country.

Advice to businesses and travellers

Travellers are strongly suggested to have, prior to arrival in the country, a full awareness of China’s laws and regulations. Travelers from the United States of America, Taiwan, or other countries which have unstable relations with China, should be even more careful in respecting laws and abiding by Chinese codes of conduct.

 

Low
Colombia’s land borders to close 26 – 27 May for presidential elections. Border with Venezuela closed 24 – 28 May

Colombia will hold presidential elections on Sunday, 27 May, and a number of border closures have been announced around the event as a precaution. Colombia’s land borders with Ecuador, Peru and Brazil will be closed from 0001hrs (0501 UTC) on Saturday, 26 May, until 1600hrs (UTC) on Sunday, 27 May. Colombia’s land border with Venezuela will close from 0001hrs (0501 UTC) on Thursday, 24 May until 0600hrs (1100 UTC) on Monday, 28 May. Unrest is possible at Colombia – Venezuela border crossings as Venezuelans regularly cross the border to escape harsh economic conditions. International flights will continue as usual, however disruption is possible as travellers switch to alternative means to enter/leave the country.

Advice to businesses and travellers

Members intending to transit to and from Colombia by land are advised to closely monitor local media sources in order to stay abreast of the latest closure-related developments and anticipate border-crossing delays following in the days preceding and following the closures. Any protests and political gatherings should be avoided to minimise the risk of exposure to potential crowd disturbances, incidental violence and police crowd control operations.

 

High
Suicide bombing reported in Jalalabad football stadium, Nangarhar Province, Afghanistan, Pakistan

According to emerging social media reports on Friday, 18 May, a series of explosions, which are likely to have been caused by a suicide bombing, have been heard at a football stadium in Jalalabad, Nangarhar Province. The attack occurred during a cricket match and initial reports from those in the stadium suggest that six people have been killed and up to 50 injured. Further information is awaited.

Advice to businesses and travellers

Members in Jalalabad are advised to exercise a heightened level of vigilance and should immediately report any suspicious activity to security forces. Members should avoid the area around the stadium due to the risk of secondary attacks and exposure to incidental violence. Members are advised to monitor local media sources for further updates on events and security measures in their particular area of operations.

 

Moderate
Clash between Indian Border Security Force and Pakistan Rangers in Jammu and Kashmir’s Samba District resulting in one fatality, India

According to local media sources, on Tuesday, 15 May, an official of the Indian Border Security Force has reported that one of their personnel had been killed as a result of a clash with Pakistan Rangers along the Line of Control in Jammu and Kashmir’s Samba district, India, near Manguchak post of 173 Battalion. The event took place at 0120hrs (1950 UTC). The incident may be related to political tension ahead of the visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Jammu and Kashmir’s Samba district on Saturday, 19 May.

Advice to businesses and travellers

Clients in the aforementioned area are advised to avoid the vicinity of Line of Control in order to limit the chances of being affected by incidental violence and heavy-handed security response. Travellers should monitor local media sources for any further information and heed any directives issued by the authorities.

 

Moderate
WHO raises Ebola health risk assessment to ‘very high’ amid worsening outbreak, Democratic Republic of Congo

Authorities in Bikoro, Équateur Province have confirmed 11 new cases of Ebola, bringing the total number of cases to 45, with 25 dead. The announcement came on Friday, 18 May, as the World Health Organisation (WHO) held an emergency meeting in which it was decided to raise the Ebola health risk assessment in the country to ‘Very High’, although the global risk level remains low. On Wednesday, a case of the disease was confirmed in the city of Mbandaka, some 150 kilometres (93 miles) from the site of the original outbreak.

Advice to businesses and travellers

Members travelling to the DRC should remain apprised of Ebola-related developments as a precautionary measure. Adhere to all directives issued by local authorities. Frequent hand-washing, wearing protective clothing and abstaining from consuming bush meat can help to minimise the risk of exposure. Members presenting symptoms of high fever, severe headache, muscle pain, weakness, diarrhoea and vomiting should seek medical attention immediately.