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Global: FCDO advise against all travel to many countries
Covid-19: Over 131m cases & 2.8m deaths
Brazil: Surge in Covid deaths
Europe: Rise in covid case numbers & restrictions
Myanmar: Protests continue & deaths rise
Mozambique: Islamist attacks in north
India: Travel disruption - farmers strike continues
Travellers, be they on business or for pleasure, will find the subcontinent a fascinating although an often tiring place to visit. We believe crime levels are significantly lower compared to Latin America although the risk from road traffic accidents is greater, driving in India has to be seen to be believed at times! India is a very diverse country and to be able to fully appreciate and maximise opportunities it's important that the visitor does sufficient research on the country's history, culture and multitude of religions. The 2019 monsoon season caused extensive flooding across many parts of India, Nepal, Bangladesh and Myanmar. Due to Covid 19 the India Governmant suspended all travel visas and Sri Lanka has also stopped foreigners entering the country. Although cases in India are rising the country is easing lock down measures faster than perhaps anywhere in the World due to the need to get the economy going. India has now recorded over 12m cases and over 120,000 deaths. India's land borders remain closed to non returning nationals. To add to the countries woes, heavy monsoon rains caused extensive flooding in NE India in late summer/ early autumn and winter pollution levels are rising adding to medical difficulties. In mid January India began a mass vaccination programme and by mid April over 100m have been vacinnnated although infections are also rising at over 100,000 per day. On a seperate issue, tension continues on the northern borders with China. Bangladesh is also reporting an increase in Covid cases.More »
Cases of Covid -19 seems to be stabilising in SE Asia. In China which had over 120,000 cases and over 3300 deaths, cases have all but stopped but infections are occurring elsewhere. Across China much of life has returned to pre Covid - 19 levels of activity although some local lock down and mass testing regimes do occur. Vietnam, Laos, Burma and Thailand have all closed their borders to foreigners as have most other countries in region. Cases in S Korea, Japan and Singapore are stablilising, Thailand and Vietnam has been very successful in stopping the spread of the virus, although Vietnam saw a slight increase in infections in early autumn. Thailand has extended its emergency measures with a continued ban on non-nationals entering and Indonesia has announced that tourists will be banned until 2021. The Philippines and Indonesia as well as Japan have seen an increase in cases in early 2021. Burma is once again under military rule following a coup in late Jan 21. Since the coup street protests have taken place and from March onwards the military have been cracking down with ever more brutal tactics and well over 600 people have been shot on the streets.
Thailand has a reputation for scams, crime and drugs and therefore travellers need to be very careful. It must be remembered that there are severe penalties for drugs smuggling in all South East Asian countries, the execution by Indonesia of five foreign drug smugglers in June 2015 is a timely reminder.More »
Cases of Covid 19 continue to grow across the continent and the FCDO advises against all but essential travel to most South and Central American countries and most of them have shut their borders to foreigners. The detection of a new variant in Brazil in early January 2021 as prompted many internationsl travel bans covering all of South America. Brazil as been hard hit but from March 2020 the President has down played the pandemic but Brazil's health service has struggled with over 2.5m cases reported and over 330,000 deaths. In January 2021 a new variant was detected in Manuas and by April 2021 cases were on the rise once again with over 4000 deaths a day. Peru, despite taking early precautions, is also seeing a significant rise in cases, as has Chile. The latter has also seen a number of street protests against the lockdown and associated poor economic conditions. Argentina has banned all domestic and international flights and despite strict measures cases are still rising. Mexico has also seen a recent rise in deaths, officially more than 30,000 but probably many more, raising concern in the southern states of the USA. On 24 Nov Chile announced it was opening it's borders again, international arrivals need a negative covid test. Argentina remains closed. Limited vaccination programmes have begun in most countries. Central American countries have also introduced their own strict control measures although Costa Rica is the one country where more international tourism is permitted. Chile has begun a mass vaccination programme and by the middle of Feb 21 was the leading vacinnated country in S America. The situation in Brazil is worsening again with the highest daily dath toll being recorded in early March 2021.
Most visits to South and Central America are trouble free, but the threat from crime in many of the continent's urban areas is a significant issue. It's essential to ensure your valuables are split up - not all eggs in one basket! In popular tourist areas across South America (Buenos Aires, Cuzco, Bogota & Quito), travellers face a significant threat of being mugged - always comply. Argentina and Brazil are both experiencing severe economic difficulties which in turn is leading to social unrest and some public protests. Venezuela is in a state of permanent unrest, the economy is collapsing and civil protests against the Maduro govenment are growing. The UK FCO currently advises against all but essential travel to Venezuela.More »
Cases of Covid - 19 in Africa are rising at a significant rate fast and all countries have imposed borders controls and health entry checks. There are very serious concerns that the Covid 19 virus will spread rapidly in denslely populated arears of Africa causing mutliple deaths. Check the FCO website for the latest travel advice. Travel in Africa is strongly discouraged at the moment. Currently there have been just under 2000 deaths, less than perhaps feared a month ago. However, it is suspected that there are many more cases, Somalia and Egypt for example has seen a surge in deaths in the last 2 weeks. Whilst cases in South Africa continue to rise the government has begun to the lockdown, schools and retail outlets have re-opened. Despite this, lock down measures are being eased. South Africa had planned to open up international travel in October but aside from some business travellers entry is still barred. A new varaint emerged in mid December and the country is now witnessing a second wave. Travel to Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania is now possible, negative Covid tests on arrival are required. Regulations do change so it's very important to check entry requirements. Kenya reopened its schools in early January 2021. The President of Tanzania, John Magufuli, has publcally stated his oppositon to the Covid vaccine and suggests the country is covid free so there are few, if any restrictions on entry. However on 17 March 2021 he died in hospital, officially from a heart attack. The vice president Sonia Hassn has taken and early indication that Covid will now be taken more seriously.
All travellers planning to go to Africa are strongly advised to check the security and health situation on the UK FCO Travel Advice site and other sites such as the US state Department, WHO and seek a variety of sources. Much of North and Central Africa is not safe. The UK FCO currently is currently advising 'Against all travel to' or 'Essential travel only' to many Sahal countries (or parts of them) including Libya, Egypt, Tunisia, Chad, Mali, Niger, South Sudan, Burkina Faso & much of Northern Nigeria, Yemen and Somalia. If you plan to work or visit these countries/areas we strongly recommend that a thorough travel risk assesment is made and steps put in place to mitigate the risk. There is growing concern that the Ebola outbreak in Eastern DRC is now getting out of control, the WHO declared it an international emergency in July 2019, over 1500 deaths have occurred. As of early 2020 the situation in Sudan is stabilising with the prospect of the military government handing to a power sharing coalition betweem military and civilian rule. In May 2020 heavy rains have caused extensive flooding in parts of East Africa, killing at least 200 people in Kenya.More »
Covid -19 has now affected many countries in the Middle East although Iran is the epicentre with scores of cases and officially 25,000 deaths but the true figure is suspected to be much highter, perhaps close to 40,000. Turkey & Iraq have implemented strict border controls and many flights to Iran across the region have been cancelled. At the begining of May travel restrictions in Iran were lifted but an increase in cases in mid June have prompted the governmnet to reimpose some measures. Cases on both Israel and Lebanon increased significantly in the autumn as lockdown measures were eased. The WHO data suggests there have been over 1m cases across 22 countries in the Middle East. Israel began a mass covid vaccination programme in December 2020. As of January 2021 cases in Iran were stabilising. Of note, the Iranian government has banned any vacinnes from the US and UK.
The killing of the head of Iran's Republican Guards Corps, General Quassim Soliemani by a US drone strike in Baghdad on 3 Jan 20 increase tension between Iran and the USA. The consequences will be felt across Iraq, Lebanon and Iran. Countries across the Middle East face political turmoil following the revolutions in Libya, Tunisia, Egypt, and the ongoing conflict in Syria. Libya was slowly recovering post revolution but has come highly unstable due to interfactional fighting and criminal activity, including kidnapping which is on the rise. The UK FCO advises against all travel to Iraq, Libya and Syria. The presence of IS, now very much diminished, is an issue Syria and Iraq. Power plays between Sunni Saudi Arabia and Shia Iran dominate the agenda in this highly volatile regime. Iran is in the spotlight with growing protests due to economic hardship, the US reimposed sanctions in 2018 which is having a major impact on the economy but meanwhile Iran continues to assert its growing influence in Syria and the Lebanon which in turn is leading to conflict with Israel. Resentment against Iran's involvement in the region is on the rise, in October and November 2019 violent protests have occurred across Iraq and Lebanon against Iran's axis of influence namely the Shia dominated Iraqi government and Hizbollah. This comes at a times when more mass protests have also broken out in Iran following a 50% hike in fuel prices. The scale of the recent Iran unrest is under reported due to an internet black out. Protests in Lebanon have continued into 2020 and the massive explosion of 4 August in Beirut wrecked much of the city and has only increased public anger towards the political elite. In other develpments a peace accord between UAE and Isreal has come into place and even more significant, high level clandestine talks between Isreal and Saudi Arabia took place in November 2020, a sign on an intent to challenge Iran's influence in the region.More »
Covid-19 Lockdown- Remote Business Travel Safety Awareness Training
At Objective Travel Safety, we have now adapted our acclaimed Business Travel Safety Awareness training programme and are delighted to to offer our course online via Skype, Zoom, Webex, Teams or any other video conferencing or webinar platform.
With our flexible approach to training, the training course is broken down into short sessions at times that suit you and your colleagues working from home. This approach gives companies the flexibility to continue travel safety awareness training remotely, in preparation for returning to work and international travel.More »
Hostile Environment Safety Training Covid–19 Risk Reduction Measures
We’re delighted that our Hostile Environment Safety Training courses are now resuming at Objective Travel Safety and we wanted to let you know the robust plans that we have put in place to keep you safe on our HEST training courses, outlining the measures that we are planning to ensure that the courses run as safely a possible within covid-19 restriction guidelines.
Firstly, we ask everyone attending to complete a health declaration form, but more on that later!
Running the courses is clearly not without risk but the courses are designed to prepare attendees whether journalists, reporters or NGO’s for a range of risks, some equal if not greater than the threat posed by Covid-19.More »
Objective Announces New Business Travel Safety Awareness Course
Business Travel Safety Awareness Courses provide confidence, knowledge and essential skills needed to stay safe when abroad, plus delivering duty of care obligations for companies.
Objective have recently increased their portfolio by launching new open group Business Travel Safety Awareness courses held near Birmingham; ideal for SMEs, educational bodies and companies with a limited number of people needing business travel safety advice.More »
Are you taking part in the Mongol Rally Expedition 2019?
We understand that it takes extensive planning for such a fantastic, inspiring and memorable adventure and that it is not about having a smooth, uncomplicated ride. You will definitely be in for an extreme adventure and this is why it is so important to be prepared for every eventuality of this journey.
Myanmar is the most wonderful country to visit and it's a good time to go at the moment due to lack of other tourists. I had been before, in 1983 when one could only get a visa for six days and it was all rather fraught but exciting. Today Myanmar, in a semi-democratic mode, is a joy to visit and it’s relatively easy but perhaps a little more expensive than its neighbours. The unrest in the north of Rakhine and the publicity surrounding the exodus of thousands of Rahinga Muslims has had a negative effect on the tourism trade. Some estimates suggest that tourism may be down by up to 40%.More »
11 Apr, 2021
Global: FCDO advise against all travel to many countries
Covid-19: Over 131m cases & 2.8m deaths
Brazil: Surge in Covid deaths
Europe: Rise in covid case ...
11 Apr, 2021
Travellers, be they on business or for pleasure, will find the subcontinent a fascinating although an often tiring place to visit. We believe crime levels are significantly lower compared to Latin ...
11 Apr, 2021
Cases of Covid -19 seems to be stabilising in SE Asia. In China which had over 120,000 cases and over 3300 deaths, cases have all but stopped but infections are occurring elsewhere. Across China mu...