Global Risk Insights
February 2023
Inaugural newsletter - welcome!

Welcome to Global Risk Insights - our quarterly newsletter focused on international risk management for ISU travelers and those supporting them! This newsletter is designed to provide valuable information and insights to faculty, staff, and students who travel internationally for study abroad programs, research, or business. Our aim is to cover a wide range of topics, including travel security, health and medical concerns, and cultural considerations. Each issue will highlight resources available to the ISU community, advice for safe travel, and a snapshot of global events that may impact ISU travelers.

Shaun M. Jamieson
International risk manager
Ebola outbreak declared in Uganda

In September 2022 an outbreak of the Sudan strain of the Ebola virus was declared in the Mubende district in the Central Region of Uganda. Iowa State University’s Center for Sustainable Rural Livelihoods (CSRL) has a facility located in the Eastern Region of Uganda, so we began monitoring immediately. While the university did not have any travelers in Uganda at the time of the outbreak, dozens of university travelers visit Uganda every year, so it was critical to make sure they would not be exposed to the virus or face secondary risks as a result of the outbreak.

For the first month of the outbreak the only reported cases were in the Central Region of Uganda, several hours by car from where ISU travelers would be going. As the outbreak continued into the winter, cases were reported in Kampala, where travelers transit through on their way to the center, and Jinja, a mere 45 minute drive from the ISU facility.

In November the university imposed a temporary restriction on non-essential travel to Uganda until the outbreak ended. Although risk of transmission remained low for ISU travelers, the severity of the virus meant any infection would likely be fatal. Additionally, with the virus spreading in the capitol city of Kampala, there was significant risk of a strain on the healthcare infrastructure. ISU travelers rely on medical providers in Kampala for critical health concerns.

The Ugandan Ministry of Health was able to control the outbreak and it was declared over on January 11, 2023. This decision was made following WHO guidelines requiring 42 days without new cases (twice the maximum incubation period of the virus). As a result of this declaration, ISU has resumed normal travel restrictions to Uganda. The first group of students and faculty will return to the center during spring break.
Hugo Curotto/Reuters

In early December, 2022 President Pedro Castillo of Peru was removed from office after a political standoff between him and the legislature. Following his removal, supporters of Castillo began protesting throughout the country, demonstrating in the streets, clashing with police, and storming airports. After a brief pause in unrest over the holidays, the demonstrations erupted again in mid-January and have continued throughout the country, including in the capitol of Lima.

In many cases protests and demonstrations can be an acceptable risk for ISU travelers, but the type of protests we are seeing in Peru present extraordinary challenges. Roadblocks have been erected on major highways and have impeded travel between cities. The storming of airports has resulted in shutdowns and cancelled flights that could prevent travelers from departing the country or getting to the airport. The unpredictable and sometimes violent nature of the demonstrations has also led to shortages of fuel and food in some parts of the country. Popular tourist attractions such as Machu Picchu were closed for some time.

University travelers have deferred and suspended trips to Peru, including one planned study abroad program. Anyone interested in travel to Peru should consult with the Office of Risk Management prior to travel and should consider deferring non-essential travel.
Travel resources - Global Risk Intelligence Portal

Iowa State international travelers have access to many resources that can assist in their safe international travel planning. One such tool is the Global Risk Intelligence Portal provided by ISU’s international insurance and assistance provider, On Call International. Use ISU Group ID (100173GRIP22) to log in and access global risk ratings, incident briefs, individual country reports, and more. This is a valuable planning resource for ISU travelers to understand major destination-specific risks. As always, university travelers are also encouraged to contact the international risk management team for a customized itinerary review to discuss risks.
International insurance - quarantine coverage and COVID-19

Did you know ISU’s international health and safety insurance includes coverage for mandatory quarantine? If you are required to quarantine in-country during your trip due to an official travel restriction, airline regulation, or doctor’s recommendation, the insurance will cover expenses including medical treatment, testing, hotel accommodations, and flight change fees. Coverage limits apply and you can find more details in the plan documents, or click below for a summary.

Other news and announcements

  • With the end of its Zero-COVID policy, China is will begin to allow international travel again. Information on health and safety in Mainland China is still limited, with some suggesting there is widespread strain on the healthcare infrastructure. We recommend you contact us before planning travel to the country.

  • Spring break is one of the busiest travel times for the university. This year we will have more than a dozen study abroad programs traveling over break to destinations including the Philippines, Italy, United Kingdom, Costa Rica, and Australia.

  • Procurement Services will host a Travel and Event Services Showcase on March 2nd from 12-3pm in the Campanile Room, Memorial Union. Stop by and explore travel resources available at the university.

Mission statement: The Office of Risk Management provides expertise, resources, and solutions
to positively impact the university’s financial, physical, and reputational well-being.