ASIA China (Security threat level – 3): On 23 November...
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.”