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April 15, 2021

AMERICAS

Argentina / Jamaica / Panama (Security threat levels – 3 / 3 / 3): On 14 April 2021, Argentine President Alberto Fernandez imposed new coronavirus-related restrictions in the Buenos Aires metropolitan area due to a surge in infections that is overwhelming the city’s health care system. A nightly curfew from 2000 to 0600 local time (2300 to 0900 UTC) will commence on 16 April and remain in effect until further notice. All recreational, social, cultural, sporting and religious activities are also suspended in the city until further notice. The Federal Police, Gendarmerie, Prefecture and Airport Security Police will enforce the restrictions. Additionally, members of the military will be stationed across the city to provide COVID-19 testing and distribute hand sanitizer as well as assist with other health measures. In response to the new restrictions, residents across the city banged pots and pans in protest and demonstrators gathered outside the presidential palace (Casa Rosada). While the president did not extend the restrictions to the provinces, he recommended voluntary compliance. Notably, provincial authorities in Santa Fe province — located in northeastern Argentina — stated that the province will not comply with the new COVID-19 restrictions.

Jamaican President Andrew Holness on 13 April adjusted extended weekend curfew hours currently in place. The weekend curfew will now run from 1600 to 0500 local time (2100 to 1000 UTC) Saturday to Sunday and 1400-0500 local time from Sunday to Monday. The extended curfew hours previously included Friday, but due to an improvement in the number of COVID-19 cases and hospitalization rates, the Friday curfew has been lifted. A nightly curfew from 2000 to 0500 local time remains in place for all other days. Additionally, public gatherings are limited to 10 people. The curfew is scheduled to expire on 4 May.

Panama’s minister of health on 13 April announced a loosening of curfew hours as of 19 April following a decline in the country’s COVID-19 case rate. Bars with patios and outdoor sporting activities are allowed to reopen at 25% capacity, while the sale and consumption of alcohol remains banned. The weekend quarantine in effect in the Changuinola district in Bocas del Toro province will be lifted as of 17 April. Additionally, all travelers to Panama must present a negative result from a PCR test upon arrival beginning on 19 April. Travelers from South American countries, who previously had to quarantine for a minimum of five days upon arrival to Panama due to the prominence of new COVID-19 variants in the region, need only quarantine for three days.

Lesser Antilles (Security threat level – 1): As of approximately 1220 local time (0420 UTC) on 15 April 2021, La Soufriere volcano continued to spew volcanic ash clouds, with some extending to approximately 12,200 m (40,000 ft) in altitude, according to the Volcanic Ash Advisory Center Washington. At latest report, volcanic ash emissions were not detected, although a hot spot remains visible via infrared imagery. Experts forecast that during the next 18 hours the possibility of sporadic eruptions exists, as the volcano is gradually expected to cease activity. Additionally, the volcanic ash plume is forecast to gradually dissipate within the next six hours.

Volcanic activity continues to disrupt services in the area. Argyle International Airport (TVSA/SVD) on St. Vincent remains closed, and Grantley Adams International Airport (TBPB/BGI) in Barbados is expected to remain closed until at least 1200 local time on 16 April. At latest report, flights to Barbados, Grenada, St. Lucia and St. Vincent are suspended. Most of the island of St. Vincent remains covered in ash, including the capital Kingstown. Water shortages continue as ashfall has contaminated water supplies, and available supplies are being prioritized to emergency shelters. Authorities recommend that water from public water services be boiled and that water exposed to ashfall not be consumed. Intermittent power outages continue across the island. No casualties have been reported as a result of the eruption.

United States (Security threat level – 2): On 14 April 2021, police officers and protesters clashed outside the Brooklyn Center Police Department, located just northwest of Minneapolis, Minnesota, for a fourth consecutive night. At approximately 2115 local time (0215 UTC on 15 April), police officers deployed stun grenades and tear gas to disperse the crowd of approximately 500 individuals who had gathered outside the police station to protest the 11 April shooting death of a Black man during a traffic stop in the area. Some protesters threw water bottles and other projectiles at the officers. Minnesota National Guard troops deployed to reinforce the officers in order to remove the protesters, who left the area within approximately one hour after the clashes. Police officials arrested at least 24 people on various charges related to the protest in Brooklyn Center where a curfew was in effect from 2200 local time on 14 April to 0600 local time on 15 April. Authorities have arrested the former police officer who shot the man at the traffic stop and filed manslaughter charges in relation to the killing of the motorist.

EUROPE

Belgium (Security threat level – 3): On 14 April 2021, authorities announced a loosening of coronavirus-related restrictions beginning on 19 April. The ban on nonessential travel to and from Belgium will be lifted, although individuals who return from a government-designated “red zone” will be required to quarantine and take a COVID-19 test on days one and seven upon return. Schools will be allowed to reopen for limited in-person learning. As of 26 April, nonessential shops will be allowed to fully reopen and serve customers without prior appointments. Close contact professionals, such as barbers and tattoo artists, will be permitted to reopen as well. The number of attendees permitted at outdoor gatherings will also increase from four to 10 people.

Switzerland (Security threat level – 2): On 14 April 2021, the Swiss government announced that restrictions imposed to curb the spread of COVID-19 will be eased as of 19 April. Bars and restaurants will be permitted to open outdoor seating areas with no more than four people at each table. Leisure facilities, such as botanical gardens, cinemas and zoos, will be permitted to reopen. Additionally, concerts and sporting events will be allowed to resume operations, as long as attendance is limited to no more than one third of the capacity of the venue.

MIDDLE EAST AND NORTH AFRICA

Iraq (Security threat level – 5): On the night of 14 April 2021, unidentified militants launched an armed drone attack on a U.S. military base located at Erbil International Airport (ORER/EBL) in the northern Kurdistan region. Officials briefly suspended flight operations at the facility, but they have since resumed. The attack damaged a warehouse at the airport, but there have been no reports of casualties. No group has claimed responsibility for the attack; however, video of the incident is circulating on social media accounts of Iran-affiliated Shiite militia groups.

Analyst Comment: Attacks by Shiite militant groups affiliated with the Iranian government, particularly those targeting U.S. military posts, have become increasingly common in northern Iraq. However, prior attacks have generally involved rockets and this event would be the first such incident involving an armed drone. In February 2021, a rocket attack targeted Erbil International Airport and killed one U.S. government contractor.

GOVERNMENT WARNINGS

Cambodia (Security threat level – 3): On 15 April 2021, the U.K. Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) issued updated travel advice regarding lockdowns in the capital Phnom Penh and Takhmao, which reads in part as follows: “There has been a community outbreak of COVID-19 since 20 February 2021. The Government of Cambodia has introduced a lockdown of Phnom Penh and Takhmao (in Kandal Province) from midnight on 14 April 2021 for two weeks. Guidance is available on The Cambodian Ministry of Foreign Affairs website. In addition, all restaurants in Phnom Penh are now closed all day to sit-in customer but food delivery services may be available. The sale of alcohol has also been suspended.”

Lesser Antilles (Security threat level – 1): On 14 April 2021, the U.S. Embassy in Bridgetown, Barbados, issued a Natural Disaster Alert for St. Vincent and the Grenadines, which reads in part as follows:

“Event: The U.S. Embassy is coordinating with Royal Caribbean Cruises for a transit opportunity for U.S. citizens who wish to depart St. Vincent on Friday, 16 April to Dutch Sint Maarten. Boarding on the Celebrity Reflection will begin at 7:00 A.M. and will depart Kingstown Port, St. Vincent at 1:00 P.M. The ship will arrive in Philipsburg, Sint Maarten on the morning of Saturday, 17 April at approximately 7:00 A.M. CDC recommends against travel on cruise ships because the chance of getting COVID-19 on cruise ships is higher since the virus appears to spread more easily between people in close quarters aboard ships. See link to CDC guidance below.

“There is no cost or travel fare for the ship’s voyage. However, U.S. citizens will be responsible for making their own onward travel arrangements. Please plan accordingly, including potential hotel stays in Sint Maarten and booking onward commercial airline flights from the Sint Maarten Princess Juliana International Airport which offers direct flight to multiple U.S. cities.

“U.S. citizens who decide not to depart St. Vincent should be prepared to shelter in place for an undetermined amount of time. There are currently no future plans for other transit opportunities.”

The full text of the alert can be read here.

Saudi Arabia (Security threat level – 3): On 15 April 2021, the U.S. Department of State issued an updated Travel Advisory for Saudi Arabia, which reads in part as follows: “Reconsider Travel to Saudi Arabia due to the threat of missile and drone attacks on civilian facilities, and COVID-19. Exercise increased caution in Saudi Arabia due to terrorism…”

“Missile and drone attacks perpetrated by Iran and Iran-supported militant groups represent a significant threat. The Islamic Republic of Iran has supplied Yemen-based Houthis and other regional proxy groups with weapons to conduct destructive and sometimes lethal attacks using drones, missiles, and rockets against a variety of Saudi sites, including critical infrastructure, civilian airports, military bases, and energy facilities throughout the country, as well as vessels in Red Sea shipping lanes. Recent attacks were aimed at targets throughout Saudi Arabia including Riyadh, Jeddah, Dhahran, Jizan, Khamis Mushayt, the civilian airport in Abha, Al Kharj, military installations in the south, as well as oil and gas facilities.”

To read the full text of the advisory, please click here.

April 14, 2021

AMERICAS

Colombia (Security threat level – 4): On 13 April 2021, President Iván Duque announced weekend lockdowns for Barranquilla, Bogotá, Medellín and Santa Marta in an attempt to quell escalating rates of COVID-19 infection. In Bogotá and Medellín, a modified 4×3 “pico and cédula” strategy will be implemented, with a quarantine imposed from 2359 local time on 15 April (0459 UTC on 16 April) to 0400 local time on 19 April, and again the following weekend from 2359 on 22 April to 0400 local time on 26 April. During these periods, residents will be allowed to leave their homes to carry out essential activities, such as purchasing groceries or banking; however, only one person per family will be allowed to travel in fulfillment of such activities, and only during designated times based on the last digit of their identity card. Additionally, leaving or entering Bogotá and Medellín during these periods will be prohibited. In Barranquilla and Santa Marta, these quarantine measures will be applied on 17-18 April only.

Haiti (Security threat level – 4): On 14 April 2021, President Jovenel Moïse announced the resignation of Prime Minister Joseph Jouthe in response to Haiti’s deteriorating security environment. Moïse stated that the appointment of the new prime minister, current Minister of Foreign Affairs Claude Joseph, will allow the government to better address Haiti’s high crime rates and political instability. Joseph is the sixth prime minister to be appointed by Moïse during his four years as president. Although the constitution dictates that a new prime minister must be confirmed by parliament, Moïse has ruled by decree after the legislative branch was suspended in 2020.

Analyst Comment: President Jovenel Moïse has previously timed appointments of new prime ministers to placate critics of his government’s policies and to distract from other perceived failures.

Lesser Antilles (Security threat level – 1): As of 0400 local time (0800 UTC) on 14 April 2021, the La Soufriere volcano was continuing to spew ash, with some plumes shooting as high as 11,000 m (36,090 ft) into the sky, according to the Volcanic Ash Advisory Center Washington. Experts expect the volcano to spew ash for at least the next 18 hours, with plumes reaching an altitude of approximately 35,000 m at the end of 18 hours. The primary ash cloud is projected to move slowly north over the forecast period. A secondary ash cloud has detached from the volcano; it is currently located approximately 370 km (230 mi) east of the summit of the volcano and extending 40,000 meters into the air. The volcano is also generating pyroclastic flows, which are fast moving currents of hot gas and other volcanic matter that run down the side of the volcano. According to scientists with the University of West Indies Seismic Research Center, the volcano is expected to continue to erupt for the next several days.

Volcanic activity has disrupted services across the island. Argyle International Airport (TVSA/SVD) on St. Vincent remains closed, and Grantley Adams International Airport (TBPB/BGI) in Barbados will be closed until at least 1200 local time on 14 April. Most of the island of St. Vincent remains covered in ash. The local coast guard continues to evacuate people — mostly individuals who resisted the previous evacuation order — from restricted areas of the island. Water shortages continue as ashfall has contaminated local water supplies. Authorities recommend that water obtained from public water services be boiled and that water exposed to ashfall should not be consumed. Intermittent power outages continue across the island. No casualties have been reported as a result of the eruption.

United States (Security threat level – 2): On 13 April 2021, police officers clashed with protesters outside the Brooklyn Center Police Department, located just northwest of Minneapolis, Minnesota, for a third consecutive night. At approximately 2045 local time (0145 UTC on 14 April), officers of the Minnesota State Patrol began deploying tear gas and stun grenades in an attempt to disperse the crowd of approximately 800 to 1,000 people who had gathered at the site, where dozens of National Guard personnel and police officers are stationed. Some of the protesters threw rocks, bottles and other projectiles at the officers during the clashes. There were no reports of significant injuries or deaths. Authorities arrested more than 60 participants. In anticipation of violence, local officials had instituted curfews in the Minneapolis-St. Paul area, including in Brooklyn Center, the latter of which was in effect from 2200 local time on 13 April to 0600 local time on 14 April. Hundreds of protesters have been gathering outside the police department nightly since 11 April after a police officer shot and killed a 20-year-old Black man during a traffic stop in Brooklyn Center. The local police chief has stated that the death occurred as the result of an “accidental discharge” of a gun by the officer, who had intended to deploy a Taser stun gun.

United States (Security threat level – 2): As of the morning of 14 April 2021, the U.S. Coast Guard and other emergency crews are conducting search and rescue operations off the coast of the southeastern U.S. state of Louisiana after a 129-ft (40-m) commercial vessel capsized the previous day about 8 mi (13 km) south of Port Fourchon, which is located nearly 100 miles south of the city of New Orleans. Multiple Coast Guard vessels, four private boats, a helicopter and an HC-144 aircraft used for maritime patrol have been deployed to assist in the search efforts. The self-propelled vessel had 19 people on board when it overturned during the late afternoon hours of 13 April; six of those aboard have been rescued. Inclement weather conditions, with winds of up to 70-80 mph (113-129 kph), were recorded in the area at the time of the event.

ASIA

Pakistan (Security threat level – 5): On 14 April 2021, the interior minister announced plans to ban the far-right Tehreek-i-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) party under the Anti-Terrorism Act, pending approval from the Cabinet, amid ongoing protests organized by the TLP following the arrest of the party’s leader on 12 April. During the demonstrations, TLP supporters blocked roads in major cities and frequently clashed with police officers. At least four people have died in the unrest, and hundreds more have suffered injuries; hundreds of protesters have also been arrested. As of 14 April, most roadways in major cities have been cleared, and authorities have deployed additional security personnel to major cities throughout the Ramadan period in an effort to maintain security.

MIDDLE EAST AND NORTH AFRICA

Morocco / Tunisia (Security threat levels – 3 / 3): On 13 April 2021, officials with the Moroccan National Airport Office (ODNA) announced a ban on commercial flights to and from Tunisia beginning 15 April in an effort to limit the spread of COVID-19 in the country. The ban will be in effect until further notice.

United Arab Emirates (Security threat level – 2): On 13 April 2021, unidentified assailants fired a missile at an Israeli-owned cargo vessel in the Gulf of Oman off the coast of the United Arab Emirates near the port city of Fujairah. The Bahamas-flagged ship reportedly sustained minor damage. There were no reports of casualties. The vessel is currently at the port undergoing damage assessment. Israeli media sources, citing local security officials, indicate that the Iranian military perpetrated the attack. The targeted vessel is owned by the Tel Aviv-based firm Ray Shipping Limited, which also owns another vessel that was struck by a suspected Iranian missile in the Arabian Sea in February.

GOVERNMENT WARNINGS

Republic of Congo (Security threat level – 3): On 13 April 2021, the U.S. Embassy in Brazzaville issued a Message for U.S. Citizens regarding the presidential swearing in ceremony in the city, which reads in part as follows:

“On Friday April 16, President Denis Sassou N’Guesso will be sworn in at the Palais des Congrés. Several heads of state will attend the ceremony and will arrive and depart within 24 hours of the ceremony. Roads may be blocked and transportation, including commercial air travel, could be disrupted. Due to the expectation of heavy traffic jams around the airport, the embassy and throughout the city center on Friday from 09:00 to 16:00, U.S. government personnel are advised to avoid those areas during these hours and to work from home when possible. Consular services will be limited to emergency services.”

The full text of the alert is available here.

April 13, 2021

AMERICAS

Bermuda (Security threat level – 1): On 13 April 2021,  authorities in Bermuda implemented an island-wide stay-at-home order through 20 April to control a spreading outbreak of COVID-19. Residents are only allowed to leave their homes from 1100 to 1900 local time (1400 to 2200 UTC) for essential reasons, which include shopping for basic necessities, attending a gas station, being vaccinated or tested for COVID-19, visiting a health care center and banking. Grocery stores and gas stations are allowed to operate at 20% capacity from 0700-1900 local time, with restrictions limiting patrons to visit such establishments on certain days based on the first letter of a person’s last name. Gyms, bars, museums and libraries are closed. All events and gatherings are banned, including meetings of individuals from separate households for any reason. Additional  information as outlined by the government of Bermuda can be viewed here.

Ecuador (Security threat level – 3): On 12 April 2021, Guillermo Lasso declared victory with 52% of the vote in Ecuador’s presidential runoff election held on 11 April after his opponent conceded defeat. Lasso has stated that he intends to eliminate the country’s fiscal deficit within four years, while not raising taxes. Additionally, he has pledged to pursue free market policies, including new contracts with private oil companies to boost production and free trade agreements with a number of countries, including China and the U.S., to attract foreign investment and create jobs.

Lesser Antilles (Security threat level – 1): As of 0223 local time (0623 UTC) on 13 April 2021, the La Soufriere volcano continued to spew ash extending approximately 11,175 m (36,660 ft) in altitude, according to the Volcanic Ash Advisory Center Washington. Experts expected the volcano to spew ash for at least the next 18 hours. The ash cloud is expected to remain at 11,175 meters and to move toward the east-southeastern to southeastern direction during the forecast period. According to the National Emergency Management Organization for St. Vincent and the Grenadines (NEMO), the volcano is expected to erupt explosively and ashfall is likely for several days.

Volcanic ash has covered most of the island of St. Vincent and has disrupted services across the island. Argyle International Airport (TVSA/SVD), which serves the capital Kingstown, and all other airports in St. Vincent and the Grenadines are closed until at least 14 April. At least 20,000 residents from areas near the volcano have been evacuated. The island’s water supply was at 20% of capacity, resulting in water rationing across the island. Food supplies were also declining, with 40% of St. Vincent and the Grenadine’s agriculture reported damaged. There have been no reports of injuries or deaths. The casualty assessment is likely to change as not all residents evacuated their homes, and large portions of St. Vincent remain inaccessible, unsafe or otherwise off-limits.

United States (Security threat level – 2): On 12 April 2021, clashes between protesters and police officers occurred in the northwestern Brooklyn Center suburb of Minneapolis, Minnesota, for a second consecutive night after a police officer shot and killed a 20-year-old Black man during a traffic stop in the suburb. Police officers deployed tear gas canisters and stun grenades to disperse hundreds of protesters who had gathered outside the Brooklyn Center Police Department. Some of the protesters threw back the gas canisters and other projectiles at the officers. Authorities arrested 40 people during the gathering. Meanwhile, 13 people were arrested in Minneapolis for burglaries and violation of the nighttime curfew that went into effect at 1900 local time (0000 UTC on 13 April) in Hennepin County — which encompasses Brooklyn Center and Minneapolis — as well as in nearby Anoka, Dakota and Ramsey counties, and expired at 0600 local time on 13 April. The mayors of Minneapolis and St. Paul, which are colloquially referred to as the Twin Cities, announced a state of emergency on 12 April, and military officials stated that more than 1,000 National Guard personnel were being deployed across Minnesota.

Analyst Comment: In addition to continuing protests in Brooklyn Center, tensions are high in the Twin Cities area due to the ongoing high-profile court trial of a former police officer in relation to the May 2020 killing of a Black man in Minneapolis.

ASIA

Pakistan (Security threat level – 5): On 13 April 2021, thousands of protesters gathered in major cities, such as Karachi, Lahore and the capital Islamabad, to condemn the arrest of the leader of the Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan (TLP) party. In Islamabad, demonstrators staged sit-ins, blocking parts of Dhokri Chowk, Bhara Kahu, Kashmir Chowk, Rawat T Chowk, Tarnol, Faizabad and IJP Chowk. In Karachi — the country’s largest city — protesters gathered in the Orangi Town and Korangi areas, as well as along parts of Hub River Road. Clashes occurred between police officers and TLP supporters as authorities attempted to disperse the gatherings. At least two demonstrators and a police officer were killed in the violence.

Analyst Comment: Following the publication of caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad in France in October 2020, protests organized by the TLP and other conservative religious groups occurred across Pakistan to demand a boycott of French goods as well as the expulsion of the French ambassador in Pakistan. A deadline agreed between the government and the TLP to resolve the issue in Parliament will expire on 20 April. The day before the TLP leader’s arrest on 12 April, he warned that the party would hold mass rallies, if the government did not meet the deadline. Demonstrations are likely to continue unless the government reaches an agreement with the TLP to extend the deadline or release the party’s leader.

EUROPE

Austria (Security threat level – 2): On 12 April 2021, authorities announced an extension to the coronavirus-related lockdown in the capital Vienna until 2 May. Measures include a 24-hour stay-at-home order, with exemptions for errands such as visiting health care centers, the closure of nonessential businesses, an FFP2 face mask mandate in public areas and indoor locations where more than one person is present, and twice-a-week testing requirements for those commuting to and from high-risk areas or abroad for work. Additionally, employees are required to either work from home or take a COVID-19 test once a week in order to work from office.

France / Brazil (Security threat levels – 3 / 3): On 13 April 2021, French Prime Minister Jean Castex announced that all flights between France and Brazil are suspended until further notice as part of an effort to limit the spread of a COVID-19 variant that was first detected in Brazil. Castex also stated that travel to France from Brazil will only be allowed for “compelling reasons,” without providing specific details. Travelers who are allowed to enter France from Brazil must present a negative COVID-19 test and will be required to self-isolate for 10 days. In addition, travelers are required to take another COVID-19 test during the 10-day period and obtain negative results to leave the isolation.

SUB-SAHARAN AFRICA

Benin (Security threat level – 3): Voters in Benin are awaiting provisional results of the first round of the presidential election held on 11 April 2021. Provisional results are expected on 13 April, with early results indicating that incumbent President Patrice Talon is set to win a second five-year term amid accusations of election fraud. During the election, Talon faced two lesser known opposition candidates after several prominent opposition leaders were detained on terrorism-related charges. Talon has denied that his government is targeting his opponents. Western media reported that voter turnout was low compared to previous elections and there were widespread problems in identifying or registering voters, although the government has not released information on turnout or other issues.

Sporadic violence was reported in the lead-up to the election, with protests held in several cities the previous week. An unspecified number of people were killed by gunfire on 8 April in the central town of Bante when security forces fired warning shots at a gathering, according to local government officials. Subsequently, the embassies of France, Germany, the Netherlands, and the U.S., as well as a delegation from the EU, released a joint statement expressing solidarity with the victims of violence observed during the electoral process. These countries have called for an end to violence and for a return to calm as well as for all political actors to promote dialogue and gestures of goodwill.

GOVERNMENT WARNINGS

Chad (Security threat level – 5): On 13 April 2021, the U.S. Embassy in N’Djamena issued a Security Alert, which reads in part as follows:

“Location: Northern Chad near the borders of Niger and Libya.

“Event: Media reports indicate movement of armed non-governmental groups into Chad from Libya and possible confrontations with the Chadian Army. The reports describe the area in northern Chad near the borders of Niger and Libya, particularly Wour and Zouarke.

“Actions to Take:

  • The U.S. Government discourages travel to these and surrounding areas in northern Chad.
  • Monitor local media for updates. Check regularly for updates from the Embassy and the U.S. Department of State (links below).”

Malaysia (Security threat level – 3): On 13 April 2021, the U.K. Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) issued updated travel advice regarding visa overstays, which reads in part as follows: “On 12 April, the Malaysian Immigration Department announced that those who have overstayed on a social visit pass that has expired since 1 January 2020 must now leave the country by 21 April 2021. British nationals should not encounter any problems following the advice issued by the Immigration Department to leave the country by 21 April as there are regular flights.”

April 12, 2021

AMERICAS

Haiti (Security threat level – 4): On 11 April 2021, nine heavily armed individuals from the “400 Mawozo” gang abducted a group of seven Catholic priests and nuns, including two French nationals, in the city of Croix-des-Bouquets located approximately 10 km (6 mi) northeast of the capital Port-au-Prince. The abduction occurred as the convoy traveled to the town of Ganthier — located approximately 25 km (16 mi) east of Port-au-Prince — to attend a religious ceremony at the Immaculate Church of Galette Chambon. The gang has demanded a ransom of 81.5 million Haitian gourdes (1 million U.S. dollars) for the release of the hostages. Discussions between authorities and the gang members are ongoing.

Lesser Antilles (Security threat level – 1) : As of approximately 1230 local time (0430 UTC) on 12 April 2021, La Soufriere volcano continued to spew volcanic ash clouds extending approximately 10,000 ft (3,050 m) in altitude, according to the Volcanic Ash Advisory Center Washington. Experts forecast that during the next six hours the volcano will continue to spew ash clouds and debris. Additionally, the ash cloud is expected to maintain its approximate altitude of 10,000 ft, while continuing to move at approximately 35 kph (22 mph) in an easterly direction.

Volcanic ash has covered most of the island of St. Vincent and has disrupted services across the island. Electric power — which had been interrupted the previous day — was restored by 1200 local time, according to local media and the local utility company. The manager of the Central Water and Sewage Authority stated that water rationing will be likely, given the company’s limited water supply and prioritization of water to groups most affected by the eruption. Coast Guard personnel from St. Vincent and the Grenadines continued to work alongside entities from other countries to evacuate people who did not evacuate before the eruption. On the island of Barbados, airport authorities have extended the closure of Grantley Adams International Airport (TBPB/BGI) until 1200 local time (1600 UTC) on 14 April. The closure is due to continued ash fall causing unsafe conditions for aircraft operations at the airport and surrounding area. Many local businesses and government offices on Barbados have closed until 13 April.

United States (Security threat level – 2): Overnight on 11 April 2021, clashes were reported between protesters and police officers in Brooklyn Center, a suburb located north of the city of Minneapolis, after a police officer fatally shot an individual during a traffic stop. Several hundred protesters gathered near the scene of the shooting and marched to the Brooklyn Center Police Department headquarters, where some demonstrators began throwing projectiles at police officers. The officers used tear gas and stun grenades in an attempt to disperse the group after declaring the demonstration an unlawful assembly. Reports indicate that sporadic looting occurred at the Shingle Creek Crossing shopping center and nearby stores. At latest report, police officials had not issued a statement regarding any arrests or injuries related to the event.

ASIA

Japan (Security threat level – 1): On 9 April 2021, Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga placed the city of Kyoto, the capital Tokyo and nine cities in Okinawa prefecture under new coronavirus-related measures to slow the increased rate of local infections. The measure will cover the 23 wards of Tokyo, along with the cites of Chofu, Fuchu, Hachioji, Machida, Musashino and Tachikawa, located in western Tokyo. Also, the following cities in Okinawa prefecture are included: Ginowan, Itoman, the prefectural capital of Naha, Nago, Nanjo, Okinawa City, Tomigusuku, Uruma and Urasoe. The measure commences as of 12 April and will last until 5 May for Kyoto and the nine cities in Okinawa and until 11 May for Tokyo and the six affected cities. Restaurants and bars in affected areas are to close nightly by 2000 local time (1100 UTC). Officials in the affected areas will increase monitoring of bars and restaurants for compliance.

AUSTRALASIA

Australia (Security threat level – 2): At approximately 1900 local time (1100 UTC) on 12 April 2021, Tropical Cyclone Seroja made landfall south of the city of Kalbarri, located approximately 500 km (310 mi) north of the state capital Perth. The cyclone destroyed the city’s central business district and at least 50% of the homes in the area sustained significant damage, according to local authorities. Reports indicate the cyclone caused power outages throughout Western Australia’s Midwest region, and various cellular companies noted widespread outages to their networks in the region. Additionally, the cyclone significantly damaged homes and other structures in Northampton, Carnarvon and other towns along its path. In response, the government has mobilized personnel from the army reserve to aid rescue personnel in recovery operations. There have been no reports of casualties from the cyclone.

EUROPE

Austria (Security threat level – 2): At approximately 1200 local time (1000 UTC) on 10 April 2021, protesters gathered at Schweizergarten park near the capital Vienna’s main train station to demonstrate against coronavirus-related restrictions. A segment of demonstrators moved to the Landstraßer Gürtel thoroughfare and attempted to break through security barriers but were repelled by police officers who deployed pepper spray. Protesters then threw projectiles at police officers. Clashes also occurred near Belvedere Palace as police officers used pepper spray to prevent protesters from breaking through a roadblock. The demonstration ended in the late evening hours. Reports indicate that at least 15 individuals were arrested and three police officers were injured.

Ireland (Security threat level – 2): On 10 April 2021, Irish officials extended a mandatory quarantine requirement for travelers from 16 countries and strengthened COVID-19 testing requirements for travelers from countries not considered high-risk to slow the spread of known coronavirus variants in Ireland. As of 0400 local time (0300 UTC) on 15 April, and until further notice, incoming travelers from Belgium, Canada, France, Italy, Kenya, Luxemburg, Turkey and the U.S. will be required to quarantine for 14 days. In addition, the quarantine measure is also extended to travelers from Armenia, Bangladesh, Bermuda, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Curaçao, Maldives, Pakistan and Ukraine. Travelers from countries not considered “high-risk” by Irish officials are required to book a follow-up COVID-19 PCR test to be taken on day five of quarantine through Health Service Executive. Travelers will also be required to provide proof of booking upon arrival to Ireland. More information regarding the mandatory 14-day quarantine requirement can be found here.

Netherlands (Security threat level – 2): On 11 April 2021, media reports — citing a government spokesperson — stated that the government will extend the countrywide lockdown, including a nightly curfew, until at least 28 April in response to escalating COVID-19 infections in the country. The curfew is currently in effect from 2200 to 0430 local time (2000-0230 UTC). Additionally, essential businesses such as grocery stores, pharmacies and banks are allowed to remain open, whereas nonessential businesses such as bars, cafes and restaurants are restricted to providing takeout services only. Other nonessential establishments, including museums, theaters and fitness centers, remain shut down. Health officials reported 8,218 new COVID-19 cases over the previous 24 hours, which is the highest daily increase recorded in more than two weeks.

MIDDLE EAST AND NORTH AFRICA

Morocco / Tunisia / Turkey (Security threat levels – 3 / 3 / 4): As of 12 April 2021, several governments in the Middle East and North Africa region have updated their local restrictions in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Details regarding the latest developments in Morocco, Tunisia and Turkey are available below.

In Morocco, on 9 April authorities extended the country’s health state of emergency until at least 10 May. Additionally, for the month of Ramadan, which lasts from approximately 12 April to 11 May, authorities have imposed a nationwide nightly curfew from 2000-0600 local time/UTC.

In Tunisia, on 9 April authorities revised curfew hours, effective that same day. The revised nightly curfew is now in place from 1900-0500 local time (1800-0400 UTC); all non-emergency travel is banned during the curfew. Additionally, special work hours for the month of Ramadan went into effect as of 12 April, with business hours set from 0800-1400 local time. Authorities have also updated quarantine requirements, now stipulating that individuals must self-isolate for five days upon arrival.

Meanwhile in Turkey, authorities announced that a 2100-0500 local time (1800-0200 UTC) nightly curfew will be in effect from 13 April until 16 May. Additionally, a 24-hour curfew will be in effect on weekends (Saturday-Sunday). Additionally, restaurants and cafes will be closed for in-person dining throughout the month of Ramadan, although takeout services will be available.

Saudi Arabia (Security threat level – 3): As of 12 April 2021, air traffic has returned to normal at Jeddah’s King Abdulaziz International Airport (OEJN/JED). According to Saudi authorities, military activity in the area on 11 April forced airport officials to divert all inbound flights to Medina’s Prince Mohammad bin Abdulaziz International Airport (OEMA/MED). Reports indicate that Saudi air defenses intercepted at least six armed drones and ballistic missiles. There were no reports of casualties or damage on the ground.

SUB-SAHARAN AFRICA

Democratic Republic Of The Congo (Security threat level – 4): On 9 April 2021, protests against the U.N. peacekeeping mission MONUSCO turned violent in the eastern North Kivu province. At least one person was killed when peacekeeping soldiers engaged protesters who set fire to two bridges leading into a MONUSCO base in the rural area of Oicha. Meanwhile, a second person died when an ambulance en route to a hospital in Beni was unable to reach the city due to blocked roads. Protests have been ongoing for several days in eastern DRC against the inability of MONUSCO to prevent armed rebel groups from killing civilians in the region.

Somalia (Security threat level – 5): On 10 April 2021, a suicide bombing occurred outside a café in Baidoa, the capital of the southwestern Bay region. Local reports stated that a man wearing an explosives-laden vest detonated his explosives at the site after a security guard prevented him from approaching the regional governor. At least five people, including the suicide bomber, were killed in the blast and six others were wounded. The regional governor escaped unhurt. The al-Shabab militant group claimed responsibility for the attack.

Separately, an explosion occurred in the Huriwa district of the capital city Mogadishu. At least one soldier was killed and one civilian was injured. While no group has thus far claimed responsibility for the blast, al-Shabab militants frequently carry out such attacks in Mogadishu.

GOVERNMENT WARNINGS

France (Security threat level – 3): On the afternoon of 12 April 2021, the U.S. Embassy in Paris issued a Security Alert, which reads in part as follows:

“Location: Paris 16th District, Hopital Henri- Dunant, 95 rue Michel-Ange.

“Event: Police and Media report a shooting incident. The shooter escaped on a scooter and is at large. At this time, it appears to be a personally motivated, targeted attack. Police request people avoid the area around the hospital.”

Italy (Security threat level – 3): On 12 April 2021, the U.S. Embassy in Rome issued a Demonstration Alert, which reads in part as follows:

“Location: Rome, Piazza Montecitorio.

“Event: On Monday, April 12, 2021, from 4:00pm to 7:00pm, a static demonstration sponsored by restaurant owners is scheduled to take place demanding the easing of lockdown restrictions and financial assistance from the government. More than 1,000 participants are expected to attend, and the police will be monitoring this event.”

The full text of the alert is available here.

Jamaica (Security threat level – 3): On 12 April 2021, the U.S. Embassy in Kingston issued a Security Alert regarding an ongoing police search for a shooting suspect, which reads in part as follows: “A shooting just occurred at the Chest Hospital near Standpipe. Shooter fled the scene and police are conducting a search operation in the area. Shooter is considered armed and dangerous. Exercise increased caution.”

Mexico (Security threat level – 4) : On 9 April 2021, the U.S. Consulate General in Tijuana issued a Security Alert, which reads in part as follows: “Travelers should exercise increased caution when traveling in and around Mexicali, the Mexicali Valley, and the western part of the state of Sonora due to the possibility for heightened violence between rival cartel factions. Members of the embassy community have been advised to avoid the Mexicali area until further notice.”

The full text of the alert is available here.

Mexico (Security threat level – 4): On 9 April 2021, the U.K. Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) issued updated travel advice for Mexico, which reads in part as follows: “As of 1 April 2021, the State of Quintana Roo charges a tax for all tourists visiting the state. Tourists can make the payment before or during their stay. Proof of payment must be presented at the airport prior to departure. The payment can be made on the VISITAX web portal, available in English. Assistance with the web portal is also available at Cancun Airport.”

April 9, 2021

AMERICAS

Colombia / Ecuador (Security threat levels – 4 / 3) On 8 April 2021, authorities in Colombia announced a lockdown for the northern department of Atlántico, which includes the city of Barranquilla, due to a spike in COVID-19 cases. The lockdown will remain in effect from 1800 local time (2300 UTC) on 9 April to 0500 local time on 12 April, during which time residents are encouraged to remain at home. Following the weekend lockdown, a nightly 1800-0500 local time curfew will remain in effect during 12-19 April.

 

On 8 April authorities in Ecuador imposed new entry restrictions for travelers from Brazil to limit the spread of COVID-19. Under the restrictions — which remain in effect until further notice — travelers arriving from Brazil are required to quarantine for 10 days at a government-approved hotel upon arrival. All other travelers arriving by air are required to obtain proof of a negative result from a COVID-19 test taken with 72 hours of arrival or proof of full vaccination against COVID-19.

Lesser Antilles (Security threat level – 1) At 0841 local time (1241 UTC) on 9 April 2021, an explosive eruption occurred at the La Soufriere volcano in St. Vincent and the Grenadines. The eruption resulted in an ash column approximately 6 km (3 mi) high, with reports of heavy ashfall in areas surrounding the volcano. There were no reports of casualties. Authorities have suspended operations at Argyle International Airport (TVSA/SVD) following reports of ashfall near the airport. According to the director of the University of the West Indies Seismic Center, additional explosive eruptions are possible.

 

On 8 April Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves had ordered mandatory evacuations for the northern portion of the island of St. Vincent near the volcano. Gonsalves warned that the La volcano was likely to erupt within hours or days, and authorities arranged for cruise ships to assist in transporting evacuees as of 9 April. Gonsalves stated that individuals boarding cruise ships or taking refuge on other islands are required to be vaccinated for COVID-19. Gonsalves stated that he is working with other Caribbean governments to ensure that they will accept national identification cards from evacuees in lieu of passports. An estimated 5,000 to 6,000 people are affected by the evacuation order from the island’s “red zone.”

Authorities with the National Emergency Management Organization (NEMO) have designated some areas on the island of St. Vincent as safe. These areas include those from North Union to Kingstown on the windward side of the island and from Barouallie to Kingstown on the leeward side. The Grenadine Islands were also designated safe areas. Travelers in this area should keep informed of local developments.

United States (Security threat level – 2) At approximately 1430 local time (1930 UTC) on 8 April 2021, a gunman opened fire inside a warehouse in Bryan, Texas, a town located near Texas A&M University, about 100 mi (160 km) northwest of the city of Houston. The assailant then fled the scene and a police pursuit ensued, during which the gunman shot and wounded a Texas state trooper. Law enforcement officials apprehended the 27-year-old suspect outside a residence in the town of Bedias — located about 40 miles east of Bryan — nearly two hours after the initial shooting in which one person was killed and five others were wounded. Two of those wounded remain hospitalized in critical condition. The suspect, a resident of the nearby town of Iola, was an employee of the cabinet-manufacturing plant where the shooting occurred. Authorities have launched a probe to determine a definitive motive for the shooting.

 

ASIA

India (Security threat level – 3) On 8 April 2021, authorities in the southwestern state of Karnataka announced a nightly 2200 to 0500 local time (1630-2330 UTC) curfew in seven cities due to a spike in COVID-19 cases. The restrictions, which will remain in effect from 10-20 April, will affect the cities of Bengaluru, Bidar, Kalaburagi, Mangaluru, Manipal, Mysuru, Tumkuru and Udupi. Only essential services will be allowed to operate during curfew hours.

 

South Korea (Security threat level – 2) On 8 April 2021, authorities extended existing coronavirus-related regulations until 30 April. The greater Seoul area is set to remain under Level 2 social-distancing regulations — the third highest in the country’s five-tier system — while the remainder of the country remains at Level 1.5. In the greater Seoul area, businesses – such as cafes and karaoke rooms – remain under a nightly 2200 local time (1300 UTC) curfew; however, authorities noted they may adjust the curfew to commence at 2100 local time in the near future. Additionally, bars and similar entertainment establishments will be required to close as of 12 April.

 

EUROPE

United Kingdom (Security threat level – 3) On the evening of 8 April 2021, police officers in Northern Ireland deployed water cannons to disperse a crowd of youths who had gathered on Springfield Road — a stronghold of Irish nationalists — in western Belfast, the capital. Approximately 100 youths gathered near an interface that separates Springfield Road from Shankill Road — a predominantly British loyalist area — from where some of them threw Molotov cocktails, rocks and other projectiles at the officers. While there were no reports of significant injuries due to the clashes on 8 April, the deputy police chief of Northern Ireland stated that a total of 55 police officers have been injured in the violence during the previous six nights since Good Friday. The unrest is occurring amid increasing tensions regarding trade restrictions between Northern Ireland and adjacent Ireland — a member of the EU — following the United Kingdom’s exit from the EU. Loyalist youths also resent the government’s decision not to prosecute 24 members of the Irish nationalist party Sinn Fein, who attended the June funeral of a former leader of the Irish Republican Army, violating the coronavirus-related ban on large gatherings.

 

Analyst Comment: Further violence is anticipated in Belfast and other areas of Northern Ireland during the upcoming weekend, as youths — mainly British loyalists — reportedly plan to organize a number of parades in multiple cities. The current conditions in Northern Ireland are more conducive to sustained unrest as the annual marching season , which started on 5 April, peaks in the lead-up to the Twelfth of July parades.

GOVERNMENT WARNINGS

Democratic Republic Of The Congo (Security threat level – 4) On 8 April 2021, the U.S. Embassy in Kinshasa issued a Security Alert, which reads in part as follows: “There are reports of increased threats directed at MONUSCO personnel and affiliated facilities including the Goma International Airport. We continue to advise U.S. citizens to not travel to Goma in the Travel Advisory  for the DRC.”

 

Ecuador (Security threat level – 3) On 8 April 2021, the U.S. Embassy in Quito issued a Security Alert regarding potential election-related protests, which reads in part as follows:

 

“Event: The Ecuadorian presidential run-off election will be held on April 11. There is the potential for large demonstrations across the country following the election. The U.S. Embassy urges you to exercise extra vigilance when moving about Ecuador during the week after the election. Avoid areas that have previously attracted large election-related gatherings, such as the area around the Consejo Nacional Electoral (CNE) election-night headquarters located at the intersection of Avenida 12 de Octubre and Luis Cordero,the CNE Quito office near Avenida Eloy Alfaro and Avenida 6 de Diciembre, provincial CNE offices, Avenida de los Shyris to the east of Parque Carolina, and the Plaza Grande de la Independencia across from the Presidential Palace.”

France (Security threat level – 3) On 9 April 2021, the U.S. Embassy in Paris issued a Demonstration Alert, which reads in part as follows:

 

“Location: Announced gathering points and routes include, but are not limited to,

Paris, Chateau d’eau (10th district, near Gare de l’Est)

Lyon, Place Lyautey

“Event: Demonstrations which may attract counter protestors and lead to violent clashes are expected to take place on April 10 beginning at 2:00 p.m. in Paris and 4:00 p.m. in Lyon. In Paris, Jeune Garde Antifasciste intends to protest the extreme right. In Lyon, Bon sens.Org and @19reation intend to protest in support of the extreme right. Additional demonstrations in other major cities in France may also be planned. Many cities throughout France are expected to see motorcyclists protesting against technical controls for motorcycles, which may create traffic issues.”

Honduras (Security threat level – 4) On 7 April 2021, the U.S. Embassy in Tegucigalpa issued a Security Alert regarding an upcoming soccer match, which reads in part as follows: “A soccer match is scheduled to be played today, April 7, at 8 pm in the Estadio Nacional Tiburcio Carias Andino in Tegucigalpa. Security measures will be taken to help ensure the safety of all attending the game. Road closures will begin around the stadium at 4pm and will last until the game is over. Traffic will be impacted on roads close to the stadium. U.S. citizens should avoid the National Stadium area and are reminded to maintain awareness of their surroundings as even peaceful celebrations may turn violent with little or no notice.”

 

Mozambique (Security threat level – 4) On 9 April 2021, the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) issued updated travel advice regarding Mozambique’s Cabo Delgado province, which reads in part as follows:

“Terrorists have attacked the town of Palma in Cabo Delgado. Terrorists remain active in the area and attacks on other towns are possible especially in areas frequented by foreigners or in towns and other areas where foreign companies operate and where expatriate staff reside. Australians in Cabo Delgado should leave the area if it is safe to do so. If you decide to remain in the area, maintain heightened security awareness, monitor local media and follow the advice of local authorities.”

April 8, 2021

AMERICAS

Argentina / Paraguay (Security threat levels – 3 / 3): On 7 April 2021, Argentine President Alberto Fernandez announced new nationwide coronavirus-related restrictions due to a second wave of COVID-19 cases. The new measures will remain in effect from 9-30 April. The measures include a nightly 0000-0600 local time (0300-0900 UTC) curfew, the nightly closure of restaurants and bars at 2300 local time, and the suspension of operations at bingo halls, casinos and nightclubs. In the Buenos Aires area – where COVID-19 cases have increased 53% over seven days — only essential workers, teachers and those with special authorization may use public transport. Gatherings in private homes are prohibited, and outdoor gatherings are limited to 20 individuals.

On 7 April authorities in Paraguay imposed new entry restrictions for travelers from Brazil to limit the spread of COVID-19. The restrictions will remain in effect until further notice. Under the new restrictions, travelers are required to obtain a negative result from a COVID-19 test taken no more than 72 hours prior to arrival and complete an electronic Traveler’s Health Record no more than 24 hours prior to arrival. Additionally, all travelers arriving from Brazil are required to self-isolate for seven days upon arrival.

Canada (Security threat level – 2): On 7 April 2021, the premier of Ontario province — for which Toronto serves as the capital — declared a provincewide state of emergency and imposed an associated stay-at-home order to control a rapidly spreading outbreak of COVID-19. The stay-at-home order went into effect at 0001 local time (0401 UTC) on 8 April and is scheduled to remain in force for four weeks. The order requires residents to stay home except for essential reasons, such as traveling to work or school, procuring food and medicine, or seeking urgent medical attention. Additional information as outlined by the Ontario government can be viewed here.

ASIA

Brunei (Security threat level – 1): On 7 April 2021, the government of Brunei extended entry restrictions imposed to curb the spread of COVID-19 until 22 April. Under the restrictions, cross-border activities between Brunei and Malaysia remain suspended. Meanwhile, the ban on entry for all foreign nationals, including transits through land and sea-based ports of entry, remains in effect.

EUROPE

Malta (Security threat level – 2): On 7 April 2021, Prime Minister Robert Abela announced plans to ease nationwide restrictions imposed to curb the spread of COVID-19. Childcare centers, kindergartens and primary schools will reopen on 12 April, while middle and secondary schools will reopen on 14 April and 16 April, respectively. Nonessential businesses and services will reopen and groups of up to four people will be permitted in public spaces as of 26 April. Additionally, Malta’s tourism industry is slated to reopen as of 1 June.

Spain (Security threat level – 3): On 7 April 2021, the government of Catalonia announced that it will reintroduce quarantine measures across the community — including restrictions on inter- and intra-community travel — during 9-19 April as daily infection rates of COVID-19 continue to rise. Officials outlined exemptions for those traveling for work, health reasons, care of relatives, and other essential purposes.

In Madrid, local officials extended existing quarantine measures across several zones amid a rise in local hospitalizations. Residents are only allowed to enter or exit their locality for essential reasons, such as travel for work or health care. The six zones are Las Margaritas (in the municipality of Getafe), San Fernando (in San Fernando de Henares), Villaviciosa de Odón (in the town of Villaviciosa de Odón), and in the city of Madrid, Alameda de Osuna (Barajas district), Rejas (San Blas-Canillejas district) and Chopera (Arganzuela district). The municipalities of La Cabrera, Moralzarzal and Colmenarejo have also closed their borders to travelers. Other restrictions include a nightly 2300-0600 local time (2100-0400 UTC) curfew, an obligatory 2300 local time closure for food and drink establishments, and a ban on social gatherings among members of different households.

Additionally, the Spanish government has extended the 10-day mandatory quarantine for travelers arriving from Brazil, Peru, Colombia, South Africa, Botswana, Kenya, Mozambique, Tanzania, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Ghana and Comoros until at least 19 April.

United Kingdom (Security threat level – 3): On 7 April 2021, a group of protesters, composed primarily of British unionists, hijacked a bus and threw a Molotov cocktail into it, setting it alight at the intersection of Lanark Way and Shankhill Road near a “peace wall” in western Belfast. Prior to the incident, protesters also assaulted a journalist and set fire to tires and trash bins in the streets. Additionally, two large groups of protesters launched fireworks, and threw bricks and Molotov cocktails across the peace wall at one another.

Protests began late last week when prosecutors decided not to prosecute 24 members of the political party Sinn Fein for attending the funeral of an Irish Republican Army figure, violating coronavirus-related guidelines. Protesters are also upset over reports of a potential hard border between the United Kingdom and European Union member Ireland. Since the protest actions began, 41 police officers have been injured and 10 individuals arrested.

Analyst Comment: The peace wall – one of many – was constructed to prevent clashes between Catholics and Protestants during nearly 30 years of sectarian clashes prior to the peace agreement in 1998. The unionists at the time were mostly Ulster Protestant, while the nationalists were majority Catholic.

April 7, 2021

EUROPE

Poland (Security threat level – 2): On 7 April 2021, the Polish minister of health announced an extension of existing COVID-19 restrictions until 18 April in an attempt to reduce stress on the country’s hospital system. Businesses deemed nonessential, such as shopping malls and gyms, remain closed. The restrictions will maintain occupancy limits on public transport, at commercial businesses and in places of worship. Additionally, individuals are required to wear face masks in public spaces.

MIDDLE EAST AND NORTH AFRICA

Bahrain / Saudi Arabia (Security threat levels – 3 / 3): On 6 April 2021, the National Medical Team for Coronavirus Response announced an easing of coronavirus-related entry restrictions for Bahraini citizens returning from abroad. As of Eid al-Fitr, the holiday marking the end of Ramadan on 12 May, travelers with proof of full COVID-19 vaccination will be exempt from having to take COVID-19 tests pre-departure and upon arrival in Bahrain. Additionally, officials are set to reopen restaurants, cafes and movie theaters as well as allow attendance at sporting events to vaccinated individuals. Social distancing and other public health measures will remain in place.

Meanwhile, in Saudi Arabia on 6 April the president general of the Grand Mosque and Prophet’s Mosques announced new permit requirements for individuals seeking to conduct the Umrah pilgrimage to Mecca. As of 12 April — the beginning of the Islamic holy month of Ramadan — only individuals with proof of having received full inoculation against COVID-19 no less than 14 days prior to arrival will be granted permits to perform the Umrah pilgrimage to Mecca and attend prayers at the Grand Mosque. Additionally, individuals with evidence of recovery from COVID-19 are also eligible to apply for permits. Verification of an individual’s immunizations will be confirmed through the Tawakkalna application, the official app approved by the Saudi Ministry of Health to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. The president stated that these requirements are being imposed to maintain the safety of pilgrims and worshippers.

SUB-SAHARAN AFRICA

Benin (Security threat level – 3): On 6-7 April 2021, opponents of Benin’s President Patrice Talon protested in several cities, denouncing his decision to stand for reelection. Hundreds of people marched, burned tires and set up roadblocks in the capital Cotonou and the central city of Parakou, according to a Western media outlet. Talon, who assumed power in 2016, faces two challengers in the upcoming election on 11 April, despite a promise that he would serve only one term.

Analyst Comment: There is an increasing likelihood of post-election unrest in Benin. Benin’s image of stability and democracy in West Africa has been eroding since 2019. For example, the decision to exclude opposition leaders from the parliamentary election in April 2019, sparked rare violent and deadly unrest in the country. As post-election demonstrations grew in April and into May, Talon blocked internet access and security officers used deadly force against demonstrators. For additional information see the Security Alert from the U.S. Embassy in Cotonou in the Government Warnings section below.

Ethiopia (Security threat level – 4): As of 6 April 2021, border clashes between the people of the eastern Afar and Somali regions remain ongoing. According to the Afar region’s deputy police commissioner, at least 100 civilians have been killed during the violence, which commenced on 2 April. Each side denies initiating the clashes, and it remains unclear what specifically provoked the violence. Ethnic and regional tensions have sparked border clashes since the federal government in 2014 redrew the boundary between the regions.

GOVERNMENT WARNINGS

Benin (Security threat level – 3): On 6 April 2021, the U.S. Embassy in Cotonou issued a Security Alert, which reads in part as follows:

“Event: Benin will hold presidential elections on April 11, 2021. Before, during, and after Election Day, U.S. citizens in Benin should heighten their situational awareness and exercise increased caution. Presidential campaigning and election activity could generate large crowds and demonstrations. Election-related gatherings may lead to an increased risk of violence, petty crime, arrest, and traffic disruptions. Large gatherings also increase the risk of transmission of COVID-19. U.S. citizens should avoid crowds and demonstrations and take proper precautions against the spread of COVID-19.”

The full text of the alert is available here.

Chad (Security threat level – 5): On 7 April 2021, the U.K. Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office issued updated travel advice regarding the upcoming election, which reads in part as follows:

“The Chadian Presidential Election will take place on 11 April, but the official result will not be announced until 25 April. During this period, you should be vigilant and avoid any demonstrations or large gatherings of people. If you become aware of any nearby protests leave the area immediately. You should keep yourself informed of developments through local media.”

New Zealand (Security threat level – 1): On 7 April 2021, the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) issued updated travel advice for New Zealand, which reads in part as follows: “From 19 April 2021 you can travel from Australia to New Zealand without having to enter managed isolation on arrival. Pre-COVID entry requirements will apply. For further information see NZ COVID-19.

“New Zealand is now exempt from the ban on overseas travel from Australia for people who have been in Australia for 14 days prior to departure. Be prepared for the possibility of an extended stay or disruption to your travel if authorities implement measures in response to COVID-19 outbreaks.”

North Macedonia (Security threat level – 3): On 6 April 2021, the U.K. Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) issued updated travel advice for North Macedonia, which reads in part as follows: “From Wednesday 7 April, all catering facilities are closed to the public unless operating via online/telephone orders or self-collection outside of the catering facility (via stand/counter). This includes cafes, restaurants, bars, clubs and other facilities that provide catering services, including catering facilities in accommodation (hotel, motel, hostel, boarding house and other accommodation facility) or at gas stations.

“Some businesses are allowed to open including shops in shopping malls, supermarkets and grocery stores but they may operate with reduced working hours and limits are placed on the number of people entering shopping facilities at any time. Betting shops and casinos are to be closed for visitors.

“There is a complete ban on visitors to all gyms, fitness clubs and sport centres.

“It is forbidden to organise, hold and attend / participate in any kind of seminars, trainings, workshops, courses, conferences and other events of this type.

“There is a ban on gathering in groups and groupings of more than four people in public space, parks, or any open area. This applies to the entire territory of the country every day during the week.

“Health and safety protocols are in place on beaches including wearing of face coverings and social distancing, and at swimming pools.

“Other measures include cancellation of some cultural and sporting events; restrictions on gatherings in public areas and closure of some schools and universities. Further measures can be introduced at short notice.”

Serbia (Security threat level – 3): On 6 April 2021, the U.S. Embassy in Belgrade issued a Security Alert, which reads in part as follows:

“Location: Belgrade, Serbia

“Event: Soccer clubs Partizan and Red Star will play on April 7, 2021 at 6:00 PM, at Red Star stadium. This is a high-risk event because of animosity between hooligans affiliated with both teams, and frequent clashes between them in and around the stadium. This match will be played without an audience, but there are indications that fans will gather near the stadium prior to the match. Expect traffic congestion and enhanced police presence in the area and around the city.”

April 6, 2021

AMERICAS

Colombia / Venezuela (Security threat levels – 4 / 5): On 5 April 2021, the mayor of Colombia’s capital Bogotá announced new coronavirus-related restrictions to reduce stress on the country’s hospital system. The city is set to operate under a scheme with four days of activity followed by three days of a general quarantine. On 6-9 April, the city will resume its “pico and cédula” system, which staggers the days and times that residents are allowed to visit commercial establishments — exceptions exist for restaurants and hotels — based on their ID card number. Then, on 10-13 April the city will enter a general quarantine, beginning at 0000 local time (0500 UTC) on 10 April and continuing through 0400 on 13 April. Residents are expected to remain at home, and vehicles will be prohibited from entering or exiting the city during general quarantine.

On 5 April Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro extended strict nationwide quarantine measures until 12 April in an effort to curb the spread of COVID-19. Under the measures, only essential businesses and services, including supermarkets, pharmacies and public utilities, are allowed to operate. As part of Venezuela’s ongoing “7 + 7” plan, the country rotates between flexible and strict quarantine phases weekly.

United States (Security threat level – 2): As of 6 April 2021, emergency crews are working to remove millions of gallons of wastewater from a leaking reservoir in the town of Piney Point, Florida, located approximately 30 mi (50 km) south of the city of Tampa. Authorities have deployed 26 pumps and 10 vacuum trucks to the former phosphate fertilizer processing plant, which are capable of removing 75-100 million gallons of wastewater daily into the Tampa Bay estuary. The Florida Department of Environmental Protection stated the previous day that engineers and dam safety experts have ruled out a potential second breach at the reservoir. The initial breach and subsequent threat of large-scale flooding in the area prompted officials on 3 April to issue mandatory evacuation orders for more than 300 nearby residences and shut down a stretch of U.S. Highway 41.

ASIA

India (Security threat level – 3): On 6 April 2021, the chief minister of the National Territory of Delhi — where the capital New Delhi is located — announced a nighttime curfew to slow the spread of COVID-19. Effective immediately, a nighttime curfew from 2200 to 0500 local time (1630 to 2330 UTC) will be in effect until 30 April. Individuals traveling to airports, railway stations and bus stations are exempt with proof of ticket. Exceptions to the nighttime curfew include pregnant women and individuals requiring medical treatment.

EUROPE

Kosovo (Security threat level – 4): On 6 April 2021, authorities announced new nationwide restrictions to curb the spread of COVID-19. The restrictions will remain in effect from 7-18 April. Under the restrictions, a nightly curfew will be in effect from 2200 to 0500 local time (2000-0300 UTC). Additionally, bars, cafes, restaurants and shopping centers will be required to close their facilities to customers, but may still offer takeout services.

MIDDLE EAST AND NORTH AFRICA

Oman (Security threat level – 2): On 5 April 2021, Omani authorities announced that as of 8 April — and extending until the end of Ramadan on 12 May — only Omani citizens and permanent residents are allowed to enter the country from overseas. Additionally, authorities have extended existing coronavirus-related measures throughout the month of Ramadan, including a nightly curfew from 2100 to 0400 local time (1700-0000 UTC) and a general ban on nonessential commercial activities.

SUB-SAHARAN AFRICA

Nigeria (Security threat level – 5): On 6 April 2021, suspected members of the banned Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) separatist group attacked a prison in the southeastern city of Owerri in Imo state. Heavily armed gunmen — who local police officials claim were members of the paramilitary branch of the IPOB, known as the Eastern Security Network (ESN) — used rocket-propelled grenades and explosives in the attack, which allowed at least 1,800 prisoners to escape from the Owerri Custodial Center. One police officer was shot and injured in the attack, but there were no reports of fatalities. A potential motive remains unclear. IPOB and ESN have denied responsibility for the attack.

GOVERNMENT WARNINGS

Ecuador (Security threat level – 3): On 5 April 2021, the U.K. Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) issued updated travel advice for Ecuador, which reads in part as follows:

“A 30-day state of emergency for the provinces of Azuay, El Oro, Esmeraldas, Guayas, Loja, Manabi, Pichincha and Santo Domingo de los Tsachilas, was declared by the President on 1 April. This includes: a curfew for people and vehicles from 8pm to 5am, between 2 and 9 April, the prohibition of alcohol sales and consumption from 6pm onwards from Monday to Thursday and all day Friday, Saturday and Sunday; the prohibition of social and public gatherings; the suspension of mixed online/in-person schooling; restaurants can operate at 30% capacity and shopping centres at 50% capacity; and all public and private sectors to prioritise virtual working.”

Kuwait (Security threat level – 2) : On 6 April 2021, the U.S. Embassy in Kuwait City issued a Health Alert, which reads in part as follows: “On April 1, the government of Kuwait announced changes to curfew restrictions effective April 8 – April 22.

“Starting April 8, curfew will begin one hour later. Curfew will be in effect from 7:00 PM to 5:00 AM daily from April 8 to April 22. U.S. citizens should observe the restrictions announced by the Kuwaiti government during the curfew period.

“The period for walking outdoors in one’s neighborhood will be from 7:00 PM – 10:00 PM. Restaurants will be able to deliver until 3:00 AM.”

Global Kidnap for Ransom Insight – March 2021

This issue of Constellis’ Kidnap for Ransom Insight Report covers global kidnapping incidents and trends for the months of January and February, as well as March 2021. The information is derived from multi-source analysis of kidnap for ransom activity and where known, the outcome or resolution of the events. The report covers current kidnap for ransom hotspots at regional, national and provincial levels, with a particular focus on areas where kidnap for ransom activity is increasing.

Read Full Report.

April 5, 2021

AMERICAS

United States (Security threat level – 2): At approximately 1300 local time (1700 UTC) on 2 April 2021, a motorist drove his car into two members of the U.S. Capitol Police manning the North Barricade vehicle access point, located along Constitution Avenue and approximately 100 yd (90 m) from the entrance of the Capitol complex in Washington, D.C. The perpetrator then exited the vehicle wielding a knife. Police officers at the scene opened fire, wounding the suspect, who later succumbed to his injuries at a nearby hospital. One of the two injured police officers also died, and the second officer remains in critical condition. Security officials placed the Capitol complex on a temporary lockdown following the event. Authorities stated that the event does not appear to be terrorism-related; an investigation is ongoing to determine the perpetrator’s potential motive.

ASIA

India (Security threat level – 3): On 4 April 2021, authorities in the Indian state of Maharashtra — where the city of Mumbai is located – imposed new restrictions to slow the spread of COVID-19. The new measures, which will remain in effect until further notice, include a nightly 2000-0700 local time (1430-1330 UTC) curfew as well as a weekend curfew from 2000 local time on Fridays until 0700 local time on Mondays. Essential services are exempt from the curfew. In addition, gatherings of five or more Individuals are prohibited. Malls, bars and restaurants are closed, although home delivery is permitted.

EUROPE

United Kingdom (Security threat level – 3): On 4 April 2021, unrest continued for a third consecutive night in the cities of Belfast and Londonderry (Derry), as well as in other unionist areas of Northern Ireland. Individuals threw Molotov cocktails and bricks at police officers in the town of Carrickfergus, located approximately 20 km (10 mi) north of Belfast. Protesters also set fire to trash bins and blocked the North Road. Meanwhile, rioters set fire to trash bins and blocked the Cloughfern roundabout in the town of Newtonabbey, located on the northern outskirts of Belfast. Police officers were also attacked in Londonderry. In addition, on the night of 3 April, rioters threw at least 30 Molotov cocktails at police officers in Newtownabbey and set ablaze three vehicles. The violence escalated on 2 April, when crowds of mostly young people set vehicles on fire and threw Molotov cocktails and other projectiles at police officers in Belfast and Londonderry. At least 15 police officers were injured in Belfast, and 12 others were injured in Londonderry during the violence on 2 April. Authorities arrested a total of eight people. The unrest occurred amid increasing tensions regarding trade regulations for Northern Ireland following the United Kingdom’s exit from the EU and growing disagreements between the Democratic Unionist Party and the Irish nationalist party Sinn Fein, which jointly govern Northern Ireland. Unionist supporters also resent the government’s decision not to prosecute approximately two dozen members of Sinn Fein, who attended the June funeral of a former leader of the Irish Republican Army, violating the coronavirus-related ban on large gatherings.

SUB-SAHARAN AFRICA

Mali (Security threat level – 5): On 2 April 2021, approximately 100 suspected Islamist militants assaulted a United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) camp in the northern city of Aguelhok with gunfire, mortar shells and an attempted vehicle-borne suicide bombing. At least four U.N. peacekeepers and 20 militants were killed, and 19 more peacekeepers were wounded. In a separate attack on the same day, militants assaulted Malian troops at a military post in the central city of Diafarabe, killing 10 Malian soldiers and wounding 10 others.

GOVERNMENT WARNINGS

Bangladesh (Security threat level – 4): On 4 April 2021, the U.S. Embassy in Dhaka issued a Health Alert, which reads in part as follows: “The Government of Bangladesh has announced a countrywide lockdown to limit the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic. The U.S. Embassy will be closed for routine U.S. citizen services from Monday, April 5 for a duration of seven (7) days – or for the duration of the lockdown in the event it is extended. All U.S. citizen services appointments already scheduled for the week will be rescheduled. In the event of an immediate service need or emergency, please email [email protected] to request an emergency appointment.

“The Embassy will reopen U.S. citizen services appointments after the lockdown is lifted.”

To read the full text of the warning please click here.