Heightened security measures will be in place in several Russian cities during the World Cup tournament, taking place from June 14 through July 15. Matches will be held in the cities of Moscow, Saint Petersburg, Kazan, Sochi, Volgograd, Ekaterinburg, Kaliningrad, Nizhny Novgorod, Rostov-on-Don, Samara, and Saransk. Russian authorities have reportedly deployed military personnel, Federal Security Service (FSB) officers, and local security forces to secure stadiums, training grounds, fan zones, and crowded public areas (e.g. city squares, shopping centers, and public transportation systems). Despite such measures, increased rates of petty crime are possible in host cities during the tournament. Heightened security measures may also prompt associated disruptions (i.e. exacerbating traffic congestion and crowdedness on public transport) in host cities in the coming weeks.
The UN's World Health Organization (WHO) and the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) have advised that individuals traveling to Russia for the World Cup ensure that their vaccinations are up to date for measles, mumps, and rubella. According to the WHO, over 600 cases of measles in Russia in 2017 and over 18,000 cases throughout Europe were recorded in the first three months of 2018.
The Islamic State (IS) group has recently made threats against the World Cup via the Internet. The FSB claims to have neutralized terror cells in Kaliningrad and Saint Petersburg and arrested would-be assailants in the months preceding the tournament.
Measles is a highly contagious viral disease that typically affects mostly children. It is transmitted via droplets from the nose, mouth, or throat of infected persons. Symptoms of measles are usually a high fever, which begins approximately ten to 12 days after exposure to the virus and lasts four to seven days. A runny nose, a cough, red and watery eyes, and small white spots inside the cheeks can develop in the initial stage. After several days, a rash erupts, usually on the face and upper neck. Over the course of about three days, the rash spreads, eventually reaching the hands and feet. The rash lasts for five to six days and then fades. On average, the rash occurs 14 days after exposure to the virus (within a range of seven to 18 days). A vaccine is available.
Travelers in the abovementioned cities are advised to remain vigilant, expect crowded conditions (increased demand for hotels, etc.), report all suspicious objects and behavior to authorities, and adhere to all instructions issued by the local authorities.
Individuals in or planning travel to Russia are advised to ensure that their vaccinations are up to date and to contact their doctor with any questions or concerns. Anyone experiencing the abovementioned symptoms is urged to seek immediate medical attention.