China (Security threat level – 4): On 31 August 2022, health officials in the western metropolis of Chengdu, the capital of Sichuan province, announced a stay-at-home order for the city’s 21 million residents — effective as of 1 September. The lockdown — which follows the confirmation of 106 positive coronavirus cases in the provincial capital — will remain in effect while authorities conduct mass COVID-19 testing. During the lockdown, families may designate one person to buy food and essentials and residents will not be allowed to leave their local communities. Public transportation services have been significantly reduced, while entrainment venues and restaurants are closed. Residents may only leave the city after obtaining a negative coronavirus test.
Additionally, earlier the same day, health officials in the southern city of Guangzhou reduced public transportation services and placed several residential buildings on lockdown in the central Haizhu district, following the detection of seven COVID-19 cases. Entertainment venues, restaurants and educational institutions are required to close, and residents in the city’s Haizhu district are required to undergo mass COVID-19 testing during a two-day period. Similar measures have been in force since 30 August in the nearby city of Shenzhen, where four districts with approximately 9 million residents were ordered to quarantine at home following the detection of 37 COVID-19 cases. Approximately 335 bus stations and several railway stations in Shenzhen are closed during the partial lockdown period. The lockdown and prevention measures were implemented in accordance with China’s “dynamic COVID zero” policy.
Belgium / Germany (Security threat levels – 2 / 3): On 31 August 2022, the Vereinigung Cockpit (VC) civil aviation union announced that Lufthansa pilots will observe a 24-hour labor strike beginning at 0001 local time on 2 September (2201 UTC on 1 September). The strike action follows a breakdown in negotiations with the airline’s corporate leadership. The union is demanding a 5.5% pay increase for more than 5,000 Lufthansa employees. Pilots employed by Lufthansa Group’s Brussels Airlines will also participate in the strike. Following the announcement of the strike, Lufthansa canceled approximately 800 commercial and cargo flights scheduled for 2 September. Additional cancellations are expected during the weekend of 3-4 September due to a backlog of flights. Travelers are advised to check directly with the airlines regarding the status of their flights.
Iraq (Security threat level – 5): Overnight on 31 August-1 September 2022, fighting occurred between Moqtada al-Sadr’s Saraya al-Salam militia and the pro-Iran Asa’ib Ahl al-Haq militia in the southern city of Basra. Four people were killed in the clashes before security personnel were deployed to restore order. Tensions remain heightened in Basra and Baghdad following al-Sadr’s 29 August decision to withdraw from political activities after a 10-month-long governmental deadlock.