ASIA China (Security threat level – 3): On 23 November...
Jamaica (Security threat level – 3): On 14 April 2022, the Jamaica Tourist Board announced that it will end its pre-departure PCR COVID-19 testing requirement for incoming travelers, beginning on 16 April. The board also ended the mandate to wear face masks in indoor public spaces, effective immediately. However, officials continue to encourage adherence to social distancing and hand-sanitizing practices. According to Jamaican travel authorities, the decision to ease restrictions was based on a desire to increase tourism, which represents a major portion of Jamaica’s economy.
Mexico (Security threat level – 4): On 14 April 2022, protesting truck drivers who had blocked all traffic at Pharr-Reynosa International Bridge, located between the U.S. city of Pharr in the state of Texas and the Mexican city of Reynosa in Tamaulipas state, ended their demonstration after alleged cartel members set fire to at least four of the vehicles on 13 April. Protest leaders called off the demonstration after attackers doused multiple trucks with gasoline and set them on fire in an apparent attempt to restart traffic at the border crossing. The demonstration was originally organized to protest significant transit delays caused by more stringent border inspection requirements implemented by Texas officials on 7 April. Similar protests at other border crossings between Mexico and Texas have also since dissipated.
Mexico (Security threat level – 4): On the evening of 14 April 2022, a drive-by shooting occurred outside the XPlor theme park, located approximately 6 km (4 mi) west of the Playa del Carmen city center. Local authorities reported that the shooter approached the victims on a motorcycle in an isolated section of the theme park’s parking lot before opening fire and fleeing the scene. The attack left one person dead and one other person injured. Shortly after police officers secured the area, the secretary of public safety for Quintana Roo state released a statement claiming that no other bystanders or tourists were affected by the shooting. At this time no motive has been established and no arrests have been made in connection to the attack.
South Korea (Security threat level – 2): On 15 April 2022, South Korean health authorities announced that domestic COVID-19 health restrictions will be eased starting on 18 April. Restrictions to be lifted include the current midnight curfew for restaurants and other indoor businesses, the 10-person limit on private gatherings and the 300-person limit on political rallies and other large public events. Effective 25 April, dining in public places such as cinemas, religious facilities and public transportation terminals will be permitted. However, face masks in public spaces will remain mandatory for the immediate future. The announcement follows consistent decreases in COVID-19 infections in the country — the daily average has fallen from 620,000 per day in mid-March to 150,000 per day in April.
Sweden (Security threat level – 2): On 14 April 2022, a riot broke out ahead of a scheduled demonstration by the far-right Stram Kurs party in the southern city of Linköping. Approximately 200 residents gathered near the rally site to protest the planned burning of a Quran. Prior to the rally, dozens of masked individuals vandalized police vehicles and threw stones at police officers. According to police officials, three officers were injured and two people were arrested following the clashes. In the Navestad district of the nearby city of Norrköping, masked individuals set fire to vehicles and threw stones at police and emergency vehicles, as well as a public tram, causing authorities to suspend tram services in the area. Police officers arrested one person in connection with the violence.
Palestinian Territories / Israel (Security threat levels – 5 / 4): At approximately 0600 local time (0300 UTC) on 15 April 2022, Israeli security forces began using tear gas, stun grenades and rubber bullets to disperse thousands of people gathered for prayers in and around the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem’s Old City during the holy month of Ramadan. Israeli security personnel stormed the mosque after a group of Palestinians threw stones at security personnel and barricaded themselves inside the mosque. At least 152 people were injured. Reports indicate at least 60,000 people peacefully attended noon prayers following the event.
Clashes between Israeli security personnel and Palestinians have been ongoing across the West Bank – including in the villages of Beita, Jabal Sabeeh, Kafr Qaddoum, Beit Dajan, Qusra, Al-Bireh and Hebron — following the Israeli storming of the Al-Aqsa Mosque. Information on how many people have been injured in the West Bank in recent clashes is not currently available.
This most recent bout of unrest follows the 14 April announcement by Israeli authorities of a lockdown on crossings to and from the West Bank and the Gaza Strip – effective from 1600 local time on 15 April until 0000 on 17 April. During this time, all crossings into and out of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip will be closed, except for the northern Jalama and Al-Rehan crossings out of the West Bank, which will be open to Israeli citizens only. Israeli authorities stated that the lockdown was planned to coincide with the beginning of the Jewish Passover. Authorities will assess the situation again during the evening of 16 April to decide whether the lockdown will be extended through the end of the Christian Easter holiday. The Islamic holy month of Ramadan is also underway, during which tens of thousands of Palestinians usually cross out of the West Bank to pray at the Al-Aqsa Mosque.
The lockdown decision came amid rising tensions and violence between Israelis and Palestinians during a series of ongoing Israeli operations across the West Bank intended to root out militants planning attacks. Such operations have been particularly intense around the northern West Bank city of Jenin, where Israeli security personnel have engaged in armed clashes with Palestinian groups.
Analyst Comment: This year the Islamic holy month of Ramadan (2 April-2 May) runs through Jewish Passover (15-24 April), Easter (17 April) and Orthodox Easter (24 April).
Zimbabwe (Security threat level – 4): On 14 April 2022, a passenger bus veered off the road and fell into a gorge in the southeastern town of Chipinge — located near Zimbabwe’s eastern border with Mozambique — as the bus was traveling to an Easter holiday religious service. According to local officials, the number of passengers on the vehicle was above its authorized capacity limit when the crash occurred. At least 35 people were killed and 71 others were injured.
China (Security threat level – 3): On 15 April 2022, the U.S. Mission in China issued a Health Alert announcing a temporary waiver for COVID-19 pre-departure testing for citizens leaving Shanghai, which reads in part as follows: “The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has announced that, based on a request from the U.S. Department of State, it is exercising its enforcement discretion regarding its ‘Amended Order: Requirement for Proof of Negative COVID-19 Test Result or Recovery from COVID-19 for All Airline Passengers Arriving into the United States ,’ effective immediately. CDC has determined that the current exigent circumstances in Shanghai, China may preclude individuals from meeting the requirements of CDC’s amended Testing Order. This exercise of enforcement discretion is limited to the following individuals departing Shanghai, China: U.S. Citizens; U.S. Nationals, Lawful Permanent Residents (LPR); noncitizens in possession of a valid U.S. immigrant visa; and noncitizen nonimmigrants who are traveling with a U.S. citizen or LPR and possess valid travel documents allowing them to travel to the United States.”
Additional information regarding the alert is available here.
France (Security threat level – 3): On 14 April 2022, the U.S. Embassy in Paris issued a Demonstration Alert, which reads in part as follows: “Location: Multiple locations around France
“Multiple events on Saturday, April 16:
“Marches Against Fascism and Racism are expected to take place in numerous cities around France, some with a potential for violent or disruptive clashes
“Additional demonstrations with the potential for violent or disruptive clashes are expected in:
“Nationwide, university and high school students have called for demonstrations against extreme right-wing groups on Saturday April 16, some of which may experience violence on their margins.
“U.S. government employees have been advised to avoid the above locations and any student demonstrations that develop. Additional demonstrations in these and other major cities in France may also be planned.”
“One event on Sunday, April 17:
Kenya (Security threat level – 4): On 14 April 2022, the U.S. Embassy in Nairobi issued a Security Alert regarding a nationwide fuel shortage, which reads in part as follows: “Due to the ongoing nationwide fuel shortage, the U.S. Embassy in Nairobi has suspended official travel outside of Nairobi until further notice. U.S. government personnel have been advised to exercise caution in conducting personal travel during this time as fuel rationing, long lines, and traffic jams could significantly impact travel times.
“The U.S. Embassy in Nairobi emphasizes that U.S. citizens should remain situationally aware and plan to fill up vehicles often and when there is fuel availability, rather than waiting until tanks are low.”