AFRICA & THE MIDDLE EAST
Today through Friday, January 18, all inbound travel to Congo (DRC) should be deferred. In-country staff can conduct movement with caution today and tomorrow, but should minimize non-essential movement from Wednesday, January 9 through Friday, January 18 and remain prepared to stand fast if required. Heightened tensions linked to the December 30 elections persist following the Independent National Electoral Commission (CENI)’s announcement that the publication of provisional results will be postponed until next week.
Today, travelers in Abidjan should avoid the Abobo Doume and Locodjre areas of the city following clashes between police and protesters who have apparently blocked roads in the vicinity.’
Today through Wednesday, January 9, travelers should anticipate disruption caused by poor weather conditions and plan journeys accordingly. Yesterday, the Egyptian Meteorological Authority warned of a cold wave, strong winds (potentially resulting in dust and sand storms), heavy rain, and rising sea levels in the north of the country, including Cairo. Seven major ports, including Alexandria and Dekheila on the Mediterranean Sea and Ain Sokhna and Suez on the Red Sea, were closed yesterday. Meanwhile, rain and snowfall in Kafr El Sheikh have resulted in flash flooding and disrupted road travel.
Today, travelers in Gabon should continue to stand fast and defer all inbound travel after an attempted coup by soldiers from the Garde Republicaine. Boulevard Triomphal remains blocked, and troops are on the streets of Libreville. Telecommunications, particularly internet and radio, have been disrupted. Leon-Mba International Airport (LBV) is open, though some flights have been canceled; maritime and land borders are also open.
Today, travelers in Conakry should avoid a march by the Free Trade Union of Teachers and Researchers of Guinea (SLECG) due to the risk of unrest and traffic disruption. The union is demanding higher wages and has been on indefinite strike since October 3 over the issue. They will march from the Gbessia International Airport (CKY) Roundabout to the central Kaloum area via Autoroute Fidel Castro. Gatherings are expected to start at 6:00 AM local time. Previous protests have been forcibly dispersed by police, posing incidental risks to travelers.
Travelers should exercise caution and anticipate disruption from Storm Norma. The storm, which hit Lebanon on Saturday, January 5, will continue to bring heavy rainfall, strong winds, and snow as it moves northeast through Thursday, January 10. The Lebanese Meteorological Department is predicting particularly strong winds in South and Nabatiah governorates, while there has been heavy snowfall in the mountainous areas of Baalbek-Hermel governorate. Thunderstorms are widely forecast, including in Beirut and Batroun, with the possibility of flash flooding.
Beginning tomorrow, travelers in urban centers should anticipate disruption and avoid all demonstrations related to a planned indefinite nationwide strike by the Nigeria Labor Council (NLC). The industrial action is being held over the government’s delay in raising the minimum wage, among other issues. Associated gatherings are possible in urban centers on the day. While these are expected to pass off peacefully, scuffles between protesters and security forces cannot be ruled out.
Yemen is experiencing the world’s largest-ever cholera outbreak. Cholera is consistently present in the country and is spread via contaminated food and water. Symptoms include vomiting and profuse, watery diarrhea which can lead to severe dehydration. Travelers staying in quality accommodations with access to safe water and food are at low risk. Travelers are advised to pay strict attention to hygiene and consider vaccination.
Today, travelers in Harare should plan routes bypassing a protest calling for the resignation of Finance and Economic Development Minister Mthuli Ncube. Participants are due to gather outside the Finance Ministry at 9:00 AM local time. The ARTUZ teachers’ union has called for the demonstration in protest of austerity measures introduced by Ncube, including a 2% tax on electronic transactions. Teachers, doctors, and other workers are also demanding that their salaries be paid in US Dollars to counter the rising cost of living.
ASIA & THE PACIFIC
Travelers in Dhaka should reconfirm routes and avoid an ongoing protest by garment workers, which has caused disruption in several areas, including parts of the DhakaMymensingh Highway leading to Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport (DAC). The protest began at 10:00 AM local time and has affected several areas of the northern Uttara suburb adjacent to the airport, including Jashimuddin Avenue. Scuffles between demonstrators and police have been reported.
High levels of air pollution have been recorded in several cities of Henan province, including Zhengzhou. Polluted air can cause symptoms such as wheezing, coughing, shortness of breath, and irritation of the eyes and nose. Although young children, the elderly, pregnant women and people with underlying heart or lung disease are more vulnerable, high levels of air pollution can affect everyone. Travelers should be aware of pollution levels and avoid or reduce exposure and outdoor physical activity.
Travelers should anticipate residual disruption following the passage of Tropical Cyclone Mona. According to the Fiji Meteorological Service (FMS), Mona has moved away from the main islands of Viti Levu and Vanua Levu, and is moving south towards the Lau Archipelago before exiting the country tomorrow night. The weather system, currently a Category 1 Storm (on a five-tier scale, with five being the highest), is not expected to make landfall.
A significant increase in rubella infections has been reported, mainly in the Kanto region. 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 in Bishkek should plan routes bypassing an ongoing rally in the city center to minimize inconvenience. Around 200 people reportedly gathered at Ala Too Square and are now moving towards the national broadcaster KTRK’s headquarters. Police are at the scene.
Today through Wednesday, January 9, travelers should plan journeys accounting for potential disruption due to the passage of ex-Cyclonic Storm Pabuk. According to the Department of Meteorology and Hydrology (DMH), the weather system has been downgraded to a deep depression and is expected to weaken further as it continues to move northwest. Heavy rainfall and strong winds are expected to affect the Coco Islands today. Intermittent rainfall is also forecast over several urban centers, including Naypyitaw, Mandalay, and Yangon.
Increasing dengue fever activity has been detected in Nauru. The disease is spread by mosquitoes and is present in both rural and urban areas. Dengue can cause a range of symptoms and has no particular treatment. Some people, especially those who have been infected before, get a more severe form that can lead to fatal complications. Although a vaccine is available in several locations, it is only recommended for people who have been infected with dengue in the past and are living or traveling in areas with high levels of dengue transmission. Travelers should prevent infection by avoiding mosquito bites.
Travelers in urban centers should avoid further protests over students’ rights and tuition fees, among other issues. A related demonstration is due to take place in Tirana today. Protesters will gather at 9:30 AM local time in front of their respective universities and march towards the Prime Minister’s office at 10:00 AM local time. Other protest flashpoints in Tirana include the Education Ministry and Parliament buildings.
Travelers in Belgium should continue to avoid further protests by the populist “Yellow Vests”movement to minimize inconvenience. Related demonstrations are scheduled on Saturday, January 12 in Brussels, Charleroi, Liege and Namur, while related gatherings may also be held in other urban centers. The demonstrations, inspired by the “Yellow Vests” movement in neighboring France, started in Wallonia region and subsequently spread to Brussels and Flanders. Protesters have blocked roads, fuel depots and shopping centers, leading to scuffles with police. Despite falling participation levels, there remains potential for local disruption.
Today, passengers of Air France transiting Marseille Provence Airport (MRS) should reconfirm flights and anticipate disruption if a planned strike proceeds. The CGT union has called on Air France employees in Marseille to walk out between 10:00 AM and 2:00 PM local time in connection with a dispute over working conditions.
Travelers in urban centers should exercise caution and avoid further protests by supporters of the populist “Yellow Vests” movement. Such gatherings could result in local disruption, as well as altercations between participants and police, and may be forcibly dispersed by authorities. Related demonstrations have been planned for Saturday, January 12 in Bourges, Paris, and other cities. Protest flashpoints in and around Paris include Avenue des Champs-Elysees, Place du Trocadero, Place de la Republique, Place de la Bourse, Place de l’Hotel de Ville, Grande Arche de la Defense, and the National Assembly building.
Today, passengers transiting Berlin’s Schonefeld (SFX) and Tegel (TXL) airports should expect disruption and reconfirm their flights due to a strike by security staff. Unionized employees at both facilities will walk out between 5:00 AM and 8:45 AM local time in connection with a pay dispute. Airport authorities have warned that such action is likely to cause significant disruption to air traffic. Yesterday, authorities at Tegel Airport announced that at least 40 flights would be canceled and many more delayed due to the strike.
Today, travelers in London should anticipate rail disruption between London and London Stansted Airport (STN), including on the Stansted Express rail service. The disruption, caused by an earlier accident, is expected to last through 12:30 PM local time.
Australia, Bosnia and Herzegovina,
Belarus, Canada, Eritrea, Ethiopia,
Georgia, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan,
Macedonia, Republic of, Serbia,
Russia, Ukraine, United Kingdom,
United States: Orthodox Christmas Day
Egypt: Coptic Christmas Day
Spain: Epiphany (Observed)
Ghana: Constitution Day
Cambodia: Victory Over Genocide Day
Liberia: Pioneers Day
Panama: Day Off for Martyrs Day
Kosovo: Christmas Day
Moldova: Orthodox Christmas Day Holiday
Montenegro: Christmas Day, Day 2 (Orthodox)
Russia: New Year Holiday Week
Sudan: Coptic Christmas
Bosnia & Herzegovina: Day of the Republika Srpska
Panama: Martyr´s Day
South Sudan: Peace Agreement Day
Bangladesh: Bangabandhu Homecoming Day
Benin: Vodoun Festival
The Bahamas: Majority Rule Day
Falkland Islands: Margaret Thatcher Day
Micronesia: Kosrae Constitution Day
Morocco: Anniversary of the Independence Manifesto
Nepal: Prithvi Jayanti
Turkmenistan: Geok Tepe Memorial Day
Tanzania: Zanzibar Revolution Day
Cabo Verde: Democracy Day
India: Guru Govind Singh Jayanti
Myanmar: Kayin New Year Day
Mongolia: Constitution Day
Togo: Liberation Day
Australia, Canada, Serbia, Ukraine,
United Kingdom, United States: Orthodox New Year
India: Makar Sankranti
Japan: Coming of Age Day
Malaysia: Birthday of Yang diPertuan Besar
Tunisia: Revolution and Youth Day
Uzbekistan: Defenders of the Motherland Day
Sri Lanka: Tamil Thai Pongal Day
Malawi: John Chilembwe Day
Nepal: Maghe Sankranti
Congo (DRC): Anniversary of President Laurent Kabila’s Assassination
El Salvador: Signing of the Peace Accords
Congo (DRC): Anniversary of Prime Minister Patrice Emery
United States: Lee-Jackson Day
Georgia: Orthodox Epiphany
Macedonia: Epiphany (Orthodox)
United States: Robert E. Lee’s Birthday
United States: Confederate Heroes’ Day