Home > Economy, Politics, Trends > U.S. Issues New Travel Warning as Americans, Tourists, and Firms Flee Egypt

U.S. Issues New Travel Warning as Americans, Tourists, and Firms Flee Egypt

January 31, 2011

Numerous reports this morning from NPR, ABC News and the Guardian UK on people fleeing Egypt. Former Clinton advisor, William Cohen on CNN, just said that with businesses fleeing the country, the economic fallout will intensify.

The Guardian UK reports: Several major European companies began to suspend operations in Egypt today as City experts warned that the country’s economic growth has already been damaged by the protests against President Hosni Mubarak.

Gas producer BG Group suspended drilling in the country, nearly a week after crowds hit the streets of Cairo. The decision was taken over the weekend, and the company is now withdrawing “non-essential, non-Egyptian” staff from the country. The FTSE 100-listed company is continuing to run its production facilities in Egypt, and monitoring the situation.

Earlier today, rating agency Moody’s cut its rating on Egypt by one notch to Ba2, the second-highest “speculative” or “junk” rating. It warned that Egypt’s public finances could suffer if authorities respond to the crisis by raising wages or increasing subsidies on food and fuel.

Credit Suisse believes that the Egyptian economy has already been hurt by the crisis. Analyst Jacqueline Madu said that the biggest immediate danger was a run on Egypt’s banks, once the authorities allow them to open again.

The U.S. State Department issued this Travel Warning today:
The U.S. Department of State recommends that U.S. citizens avoid travel to Egypt due to ongoing political and social unrest. On January 30, the Department of State authorized the voluntary departure of dependents and non-emergency employees. Violent demonstrations have occurred in several areas of Cairo, Alexandria and other parts of the country, disrupting road travel between city centers and airports. Disruptions in communications, including internet service, may occur. The Government of Egypt has imposed a curfew from 4:00 p.m. to 8:00 a.m. in Cairo, Alexandria and Suez until further notice, and U.S. citizens should obey curfew orders and remain indoors during curfew hours. U.S. citizens currently in Egypt should consider leaving as soon as they can safely do so. Cairo airport is open and operating, but flights may be disrupted and transport to the airport may be disrupted due to the protests. Travelers should remain in contact with their airlines or tour operators concerning flight schedules, and arrange to arrive at the airport well before curfew hours.

In the event of demonstrations, U.S. citizens in Egypt should remain in their residences or hotels until the situation stabilizes. Security forces may block off the area around the U.S. Embassy during demonstrations, and U.S. citizens should not attempt to come to the U.S. Embassy or the Tahrir Square area at such times. The U. S. Embassy is open for emergency services for U.S. citizens only until further notice.

As always, any change to Embassy hours will be posted on the Embassy website. U.S. citizens in Egypt who require assistance, or those who are concerned that their U.S. citizen loved one in Egypt may require assistance, should contact the U.S. Department of State and the U.S. Embassy in Cairo at EgyptEmergencyUSC@state.gov, or at 1-202-501-4444. Please follow the directions on the Embassy website for all other consular inquiries.

Demonstrations have degenerated on several occasions into violent clashes between police and protesters, resulting in injuries and extensive property damage. While demonstrations have not been directed toward Westerners, U.S. citizens are urged to remain alert to local security developments and to be vigilant regarding their personal security. The U.S. Department of State strongly urges U.S. citizens to avoid all demonstrations, as even peaceful ones can quickly become unruly and a foreigner could become a target of harassment or worse. If caught unexpectedly near a demonstration, U.S. citizens should obey instructions from police and leave the area as quickly as possible. U.S. citizens resident in Egypt should monitor local news broadcasts and U.S. citizen visitors should ask tour guides and hotel officials about any planned demonstrations in the locations they plan to visit. U.S. citizens should carry identification and a cell phone which works in Egypt.

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