The Travel Advisories Subscription Service is an inexpensive way to stay on top of new travel advisories, public announcement, and other information on international travel. Each day (including weekends and holidays), the service monitors the range of information issued by the U.S. Department of State, Canada's Department of Foreign Affairs and International Trade, Australia's Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, and Britain's Foreign and Commonwealth Office for the latest travel advisories, information sheets, public announcements, and other documents they issue. The same is done with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the World Health Organization, Health Canada, Australia's National Centre for Disease Control, Britain's Department of Health, and other sources of medical information and announcements. As soon as such items become available, they are e-mailed to subscribers (a faxing service is also available, as is a notification-only service for pagers and e-mail capable wireless telephones). There is no faster way to obtain them.

Why so many reports? Each of the governments and organizations has different criteria for issuing such reports. Only by keeping abreast of them all can you be certain of having a well-informed snapshot of events and considerations for travel to your destination.

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Here are some excerpts from representative reports issued by the U.S., U.K., Australia, and Canada, along with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the World Health Organization, Health Canada, Australia's National Centre for Disease Control, and Britain's Department of Health.

(United States)
U.S. citizens are urged to postpone non-essential travel to Indonesia.

Of particular concern is the political period leading up to the selection of a new president later this month. Those who do travel to Indonesia during this period should exercise caution as there is an increased likelihood of demonstrations in the major cities....

Demonstrations have occurred in the capital city of Jakarta and on all the major islands. In some areas violence has been directed at American businesses. Popular demonstrations against the current leadership are growing in frequency. Demonstrations can be spontaneous and have the potential to turn violent. Although most demonstrations have been peaceful, some protestors have been injured or killed in recent confrontations with police in Jakarta....

The ongoing crisis in East Timor, and the introduction of a U.N.-authorized multinational force, have led to outbreaks of anti-foreign sentiment. In Jakarta, Surabaya, and other large cities there have been frequent demonstrations at Western embassies and elsewhere focusing on East Timor. American citizens in Jakarta and throughout Indonesia are urged to exercise caution and to avoid demonstrations.

American citizens are strongly urged to avoid travel to East Timor and, if there, to depart immediately. Violence erupted throughout East Timor after the August 30, 1999, United Nations-sponsored ballot in East Timor. While a multi-national force (INTERFET) has begun deployment and security has improved in Dili, the capital of East Timor, hostile militias remain active and have expressed a willingness to attack foreigners....

Political changes have given new impetus to separatist movements in Aceh and Irian Jaya. Violent incidents continue to occur in these regions, sometimes targeting American companies. American citizens are strongly urged to defer all travel to Aceh. In Irian Jaya, violence has been less frequent, but American citizens are nonetheless encouraged to evaluate the security situation carefully if travel to that province is necessary.

In the province of East Maluku, particularly the island of Ambon, serious communal violence broke out in January 1999 and continues. American citizens are urged to avoid all travel to Ambon and surrounding islands and to depart immediately if they are already there....

Americans should remember that much of the country, including many tourist destinations, can be isolated and difficult to reach by available transportation or communication links. Travelers and residents should ensure that passports and important personal papers are in order in the event that it becomes necessary to leave the country quickly. Because the situation is uncertain and new outbreaks of violence are possible, American citizens are advised to consult the U.S. Embassy in Jakarta and the U.S. Consulate General in Surabaya for the most recent security information and generally to exercise caution.

(Foreign Affairs & Trade, Australia)
The security situation in Indonesia has deteriorated over recent weeks and may affect the welfare and safety of Australian citizens.

There has been some public criticism in Indonesia of Australia's policy following the ballot in East Timor which has been reflected in the media. There have been demonstrations and protest action at the Embassy in Jakarta, the Consulate in Bali as well as the Consulates in Balikpapan, Kupang and Medan and a number of other centres aimed at Australian citizens and Australian interests. The Embassy and a number of Australian businesses have received threatening phone calls, including bomb threats. There have been a number of shots fired at Embassy buildings damaging some windows and rocks and incendiary devices thrown into the grounds. The grounds of the Australian International School were fire bombed on 4 October....

In view of recent anti-Australian sentiments in Indonesia, visitors to Bali and surrounding islands should keep themselves informed of local developments and observe the same prudence as visitors in other parts of the country. Australians are advised not to travel to the Mt Rinjani area of Lombok due to recent criminal activity targeting tourists....

Australians should avoid large gatherings or demonstrations. Large public events such as political rallies and demonstrations could give rise to violence with little or no warning. The incidence of robbery and street crime generally is high.

(Foreign Affairs & International Trade, Canada)

The security situation in Indonesia has deteriorated in recent weeks and there is potential that it could become more widespread in the days ahead. The planned elections for the presidency on October 20 could lead to increased violence. Some incidents have been directed at foreigners and Canadians are reminded to avoid all gatherings and demonstrations and to inform themselves of all developments, local and national, that could lead to further troubles. Caution and prudence should be exercised at all times.

There continues to be serious security problems in East and West Timor and Canadians should not travel there. Canadians visiting or living in these areas should depart by the safest means possible. There are security problems in other areas and these are detailed below. The security situation in Bali is calm and tourist services are operating normally....

Various authorities predict that the year 2000 computer problem may cause disruptions that could affect international travel or residency in a foreign country. Transportation, telecommunications, banking, medical care, insurance, and government services could be affected, even before the end of 1999.

(Foreign & Commonwealth Office, Britain)

There are likely to be continuing demonstrations in Jakarta in the run-up to the Presidential Elections. Dates to watch are 14 October (the opening of the General Election of the People's Consultative Assembly (MPR) and the President's speech) and 20/21 October, the dates of the Presidential and Vice-Presidential Elections respectively. The Parliament (DPR) Building in Jakarta and surrounding areas, including the Semanggi Junction are likely to be the focus of unrest and particular caution should be exercised in the area. British nationals are advised to monitor the news carefully, and be prepared to take alternative routes. The normal Airport toll road may be closed. Travellers coming into Jakarta from the Airport should be prepared to take the alternative toll road into town (Ancol/ Tanjung Priok). Seek advice from the airline representatives at Soekarno-Hatta Airport.

Parallel demonstrations can be expected in other cities. There have also been outbreaks of anti-foreigner sentiment resulting from the presence of the UN backed Multi-National Force in East Timor.

British nationals are advised to monitor media reports and to carry mobile telephones. Avoid large gatherings. If trouble begins on the streets it is best to stay indoors given the increased risk of crime. Review the security of your residence and keep doors locked and windows secure when in your car. Avoid travelling alone at night. When taking a taxi, use one from a reputable firm, preferably booked by phone. For longer journeys it is a sensible precaution to notify friends of travel plans, contact them on arrival and where possible travel in convoy. There have been reports of cars being stopped and passengers robbed on highways.

(CDC, Centers For Disease Control and Prevention)
Travel to Turkey Following the Earthquake

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) advises strict adherence to all its recommendations for that region (such as receiving hepatitis A, typhoid and tetanus/diphtheria vaccines, etc.). For the complete list of recommendations, including food and water precautions, refer to In the aftermath of this natural disaster, prevention measures assume even greater importance, and CDC recognizes that certain recommendations may be difficult to follow when normal services are disrupted. For example, roads may be impassable, impeding delivery of food and other essential supplies. Refrigeration and fuel supplies may not be available, causing difficulties with safe food preparation.

To ensure safe drinking water, water should be boiled or disinfected, because bottled water may not be available. Boiling is the most reliable method to make water safe to drink. Water should be brought to a vigorous boil for one full minute, then allowed to cool; do not add ice. Taste may be improved by adding a pinch of salt or pouring water back and forth from one container into another. Chemical disinfection may be achieved by using either iodine or chlorine; however, iodine provides greater disinfection in a wider set of circumstances. To disinfect with iodine, use either tincture of iodine or tetraglycine hydroperiodide tablets (e.g., Globaline*, Potable-Aqua*, and others). Portable filters may be another means to make water safe for drinking.

(WHO, World Health Organization)
Suspected haemorrhagic fever in Germany

WHO has been informed that one man has been admitted to hospital in Berlin suffering from suspected haemorrhagic fever. He had recently returned from a trip to Côte d'Ivoire, where he had visited remote rural areas. Diagnostic tests are being conducted in a German laboratory for a range of viral haemorrhagic fevers and other relevant pathogens. WHO is in contact with the German Ministry of Health and the WHO Representative in Côte d'Ivoire.

(Health Canada)
Health conditions for travellers to Saudi Arabia

Pilgrimage to Mecca (Hajj)

The Ministry of Health of Saudi Arabia has issued requirements for the forthcoming Hajj season, as follows.

I. Yellow Fever

(A) All travellers arriving from countries known to be infected with yellow fever (as shown in the WHO Weekly epidemiological record) must present a valid yellow fever vaccination certificate in accordance with the International Health Regulations. In the absence of such a certificate, the person will be vaccinated upon arrival and placed under strict surveillance for 6 days from the day of vaccination or the last date of potential exposure to infection - whichever is earlier. Health offices at entry points will be responsible for notifying the appropriate Director-General of Health Affairs, in the region or governorate, about the place of residence of the visitor.

(B) Airplanes and other means of transportation arriving from areas infected with yellow fever are requested to submit a certificate indicating disinfection in line with the International Health Regulations.

II. Meningococcal meningitis

(A) For all arrivals

Visitors from all over the world arriving for the purpose of "Umra" or pilgrimage or for seasonal work are requested to produce a certificate of vaccination against meningitis issued not more than 3 years and not less than 10 days before arrival in Saudi Arabia. The responsible authorities in the country from where the visitor comes must ensure that vaccination has been carried out as follows:

  • adults and children over the age of 2 years must be given 1 dose of the A/C vaccine;

  • children between 3 months and 2 years of age must be given 2 doses of the A vaccine with a 3-month interval between the 2 doses.

(B) Arrivals from countries in the African meningitis belt

It must be ensured that all visitors from these countries have been vaccinated in their countries, not more than 3 years and not less than 10 days before arrival. This should be documented on the vaccination certificate.

Visitors from these countries will be checked at entry points to ensure that they are vaccinated. Suspect cases shall be isolated and preventive measures will be taken in respect of their direct contacts.

If the authenticity of the vaccination certificate is felt to be questionable, revaccination is to be carried out.

Chemoprophylaxis will be administered to all visitors from these countries to lower the carrier rate among them....

(Communicable Diseases - Australia
National Centre for Disease Control/Communicable Diseases Network Australia New Zealand
Australian Department of Health and Aged Care)

Victorian Measles outbreak

In the face of a continuing rise of reported measles cases among young adults in Victoria, the Communicable Diseases Network of Australia New Zealand (CDNANZ) have called on all Australians aged 18 to 30 to check their vaccination status.

The measles outbreak was first reported in the western suburbs of Victoria several weeks ago and has now spread to involve young adults in the northern and eastern suburbs and border areas.

Everyone should be protected against measles and other vaccine-preventable diseases by vaccination. The recent successful primary schools campaign appears to be protecting children in that age group....

(British Department of Health)

St. Louis Encephalitis in the United States of America

Cases of St Louis encephalitis (SLE) are being reported in New York City. The affected areas are mainly Queens and south and east Bronx. Of the 9 cases that have been confirmed as SLE 3 have died, and there are a further 48 suspected cases.

SLE is a viral infection transmitted by mosquitoes. We are aware that the New York authorities are spraying the affected areas to kill the mosquitoes that may transmit the infection.

The symptoms of SLE in humans are flu-like and severity varies widely. Symptoms are often undiagnosed and range from no apparent signs to a headache with fever, to encephalitis. In some cases severe cases can result in death. It usually takes 5 days to 2 weeks for symptoms to appear after having been bitten. The mosquito that transmits SLE is active mainly at dusk and to a lesser degree at night and then again at dawn.

Visitors to New York City are advised to avoid exposure to mosquitoes by:

  • wearing long sleeved shirts and long trousers if going out during the evening or at night;

  • using an effective insect repellent, eg. one that contains DEET (diethyl-m-toluamide).

The risk for visitors to New York City is very small but anyone returning from there who becomes ill with a feverish illness should advise their doctor about where they have been....

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