As of 4:30 AM local time today, there were 189 flight cancellations at O’Hare International Airport due to severe weather. As airlines work to clear backlogs, travelers are advised to allow extra time if transiting the airport.
AFRICA & THE MIDDLE EAST
In the coming days, travelers in urban centers should avoid all gatherings related to a referendum on controversial constitutional amendments. A date for the referendum has yet to be decided, but it could be held between April 22 and 24. Several opposition parties have denounced the proposed amendments. Pro- and anti-amendment rallies are likely, including in Cairo. Clashes could occur between protesters and the police during related gatherings, posing incidental risks to bystanders.
On April 17, travelers in Beirut should avoid separate protests at Riad al-Sohl Square as a precaution. The Civil Service Council has called for a sit-in at 10:00 AM local time against corruption. A demonstration to demand salary improvements, organized by the Association of Full-time Professors at the Lebanese University, will begin at 11:00 AM local time. Although most protests in Lebanon pass off peacefully, traffic disruption is possible.
Travelers in Bamako and other urban centers should avoid all demonstrations linked to a nationwide strike by teachers, beginning today and lasting through May 17, as a precaution. The industrial action follows a series of previous strikes and demonstrations to denounce poor working conditions. Thousands of people attended a previous related gathering in Bamako.
There is a measles outbreak in South Sudan. Measles is caused by a highly contagious virus that spreads from person-to-person via infected droplets. Outbreaks occur frequently in under-vaccinated populations. Common symptoms include fever, cough, and a characteristic rash. The illness can result in serious complications, particularly when very young children, the elderly or pregnant women are infected. All travelers should ensure they are fully immunized against measles.
Today, travelers in Tunisia should anticipate travel disruption during a taxi drivers’ strike over a recent fuel price increase. As part of this, members of the UTTI taxi drivers’ union are planning protest marches along main roads from 6:00 AM local time. Demonstrations have taken place across Tunisia since the fuel price increase was announced on March 31. Future protests could also involve the erection of roadblocks on major routes, while any related gatherings at fuel stations could result in temporary shortages.
ASIA & THE PACIFIC
Until at least April 18, travelers in Dhaka, Chittagong, Khulna, and Rajshahi divisions should continue to anticipate disruption due to an ongoing strike by workers at state-owned jute mills. The industrial action and strike-related protests follow failed negotiations with the Bangladesh Jute Mills Corporation (BJMC) over wages and other issues. BJMC workers are blocking roads and railway tracks daily from 8:00 AM to 12:00 pm local time. Reports today, the first strike day, also indicated that the Dhaka-Khulna Highway (N7) and roads across Chittagong were blocked. Travelers should reconfirm the status of routes before setting out and plan journeys bypassing all demonstrations.
Travelers transiting India in the coming days should continue to monitor developments linked to Jet Airways and expect flight disruption. The airline’s pilots had threatened to stage a walkout today if the airline failed to pay salary arrears; however, late yesterday, the union decided to defer the strike indefinitely to allow airline management time to secure funds. All of the airline’s international flights remain suspended until at least April 18, with flights serving Singapore suspended indefinitely, due to financial difficulties. Travelers due to travel with Jet Airways should anticipate disruption and reconfirm schedules.
A significant increase in rubella infections have been reported in several prefectures. Rubella is caused by a virus that spreads from person-to-person via infected droplets. Symptoms include fever and rash. Serious complications can occur when pregnant women are infected. Travelers should ensure that they are immune to rubella prior to arrival in Japan.
Today, travelers should anticipate disruption to travel and business activity, including in Colombo, during Sinhala and Tamil New Year (Aluth Avurudda) celebrations. New Year is celebrated by ethnic-Sinhalese and Tamil populations across the country to mark the end of the harvest season. While New Year’s Day itself is today, the government has also declared the day a public holiday. Travelers should expect congestion at transport terminals and on key roads during the holiday period.
Travelers should continue to anticipate disruption to travel and commercial activities during the Thai New Year (known locally as the Songkran water festival) holiday until April 17. Large gatherings are likely nationwide, particularly in Bangkok and other major cities. Authorities expect more than 3 million people to travel through the country’s main airports over the festival period. Travelers should reconfirm bookings due to a likely increase in demand for transport and accommodations. Travelers should exercise increased caution during overland journeys as there is usually a spike in traffic accidents during the holiday period.
Travelers in Tirana should continue to anticipate and avoid further anti-government protests in the weeks ahead. The main opposition Democratic Party of Albania (DP) has held weekly protests to demand the resignation of Prime Minister Edi Rama over alleged government corruption. They are also calling for local elections on June 30. Demonstrations frequently take place outside the Prime Minister’s office or Parliament. Travelers should avoid all further rallies over the issue.
Over the coming weeks, travelers in Brest should anticipate and avoid further protests against the construction of a battery factory. Demonstrators, who claim the factory will be hazardous, have been gathering in Lenin Square and marching through the city center every Sunday since early February. While most of these gatherings have passed off peacefully, yesterday, scuffles occurred between participants and security forces. At least 15 demonstrators were arrested.
In the coming days, travelers in Copenhagen should avoid further potentially unruly protests by supporters of the farright Stram Kurs party. Rioting by far-right activists started in the afternoon yesterday following a demonstration by Stram Kurs at Blagards Plads in the Norrebro area. It subsequently spread to other locations in Norrebro and to Christiania. The situation stabilized by this morning, though an increased police presence is likely in the affected areas. Stram Kurs leader Rasmus Paludan has threatened further demonstrations, though details are not yet available.
Travelers in Belgrade and other urban centers should expect and avoid further anti-government demonstrations demanding greater media freedom and electoral reform, among other issues. Previous protests, typically held on Saturdays, have largely passed off peacefully and have been attended by tens of thousands of people. Organizers said the latest gathering on April 13 at the Old Palace and National Assembly has been the largest so far. A pro-government demonstration is scheduled in Belgrade on April 19.
In the coming weeks, travelers in the Russian Far East should anticipate disruption due to ongoing wildfires. In the Republic of Khakassia wildfires have erupted close to Abakan, causing smog in the area yesterday. Other affected regions include Magadan and Amur oblasts as well as Zabaikalsky and Khabarovsk krais, including Anyuysky National Park. Further fires and travel disruption are possible in the coming days, depending on local weather conditions.
Until April 28, travelers in Spain should anticipate disruption due to a series of nationwide strikes by aviation, railway, and maritime staff. The workers have made various demands, including improved contracts and better working conditions. Travelers should reconfirm schedules and maintain flexible itineraries.
Beginning today, travelers in main cities should anticipate disruption to road travel during planned protests by the Extinction Rebellion (ER) environmentalist activist group. The impact is likely to be greatest in London, where participants are planning to block traffic at Marble Arch, Oxford Circus, Parliament Square, Piccadilly Circus, and Waterloo Bridge at 11:00 AM local time. ER has called for open-ended demonstrations, and disruption caused by protesters and associated police operations may spread to other parts of the city with little or no notice.