ASIA China (Security threat level – 3): On 23 November...
Belize (Security threat level – 3): As of 26 April 2021, members of the Belize National Teachers’ Union are planning a strike and corresponding protest in the capital Belize City. The demonstration is scheduled to begin during the morning hours at the Marion Jones Sporting Complex, located near Belize Municipal Airport (TZA), and is likely to affect traffic on Princess Margaret Drive, Freetown Road, Barack Road, Hydes Lane and Albert Street before ending at the Yarborough Green athletic park, located in the southern coastal area of Belize City. While the protest is expected to be carried out peacefully, traffic disruptions are likely. Teachers are protesting an announced 10% cut to their salaries and a three-year freeze on annual raises.
Mexico (Security threat level – 4): On 23 April 2021, Mexico City officials announced the loosening of select coronavirus-related restrictions, effective immediately. Businesses are now allowed to operate at 20% of maximum capacity and outdoor gatherings with up to 50 attendees are permitted for job training, meetings and children’s parties.
Japan (Security threat level – 1): At approximately 0110 local time on 25 April 2021 (1610 UTC on 24 April), an eruption occurred at the Sakurajima volcano — located in Kagoshima prefecture approximately 10 km (7 mi) east of the city of Kagoshima — producing an ash cloud that reached nearly 2.5 km (1.5 mi) in altitude. The Japan Meteorological Agency issued an eruption alert for residents of Kagoshima and Tarumizu and areas near the two cities, and declared a 2.5 km exclusion zone around the volcano. The alert warns that the volcano could produce pyroclastic flows and volcanic debris. Reports indicate that ash from the eruption covered areas of Kagoshima city. There are no reports of injuries or fatalities caused by the eruption.
Malaysia / India (Security threat levels – 3 / 3): As of 26 April 2021, Malaysian authorities are set to impose a ban on flights between India and Malaysia that will go into effect on 28 April and continue until further notice. Malaysian citizens will be exempt from the travel ban, but will be required to quarantine for 14 days upon entry into Malaysia.
Singapore / India (Security threat levels – 1 / 3): As of 23 April 2021, government officials have banned all non-Singaporean and non-permanent resident travelers with recent travel history to India from entering or transiting through Singapore amid a significant surge in COVID-19 cases in India. The new measure will also apply to travelers who obtained prior approval ahead of the new travel ban. Travelers with recent travel history to India undergoing a 14-day mandatory quarantine in Singapore are required to extend their quarantine period to 21 days. Additionally, those who have recently arrived from India will be required to take a PCR test on day 14 of their quarantine.
Thailand (Security threat level – 3): On 26 April 2021, a coronavirus-related face mask mandate went into effect in the capital Bangkok. Under the order, which will remain in place until at least 9 May, face masks are required in all public areas. Violators are subject to fines of up to 20,000 baht (635 U.S. dollars).
Fiji (Security threat level – 2): On 26 April 2021, Fijian government officials announced new coronavirus-related measures to slow the spread of COVID-19 in the country. All international flights and domestic flights are canceled until 2 May. The ports of Lautoka and Suva will remain open to international freight shipping and cargo shipping. Additionally, the measure will place the cities of Lami, Nausori and the capital Suva under quarantine until 9 May, prohibiting residents from entering or leaving the locations, with exceptions for travel for either essential or medical purposes. Police will monitor the areas to ensure adherence to the new measures.
Cyprus (Security threat level – 2): On 23 April 2021, officials voted to implement a strict lockdown from 26 April to 9 May to curb the rising rate of new COVID-19 cases. A curfew will be in place from 2100 to 0500 local time (1800 to 0200 UTC). There is a ban on all gatherings and the operation of nonessential businesses. Individuals are allowed to leave their residences once per day after sending an SMS message to the government at 8998 with a Cypriot phone number, stating the reason for movement, providing their passport number or national identify card number and their home postal code. Alternatively, those without a Cypriot phone number may write down the previously outlined information and carry it on their person during their outing.
France (Security threat level – 3): At approximately 1420 local time (1220 UTC) on 23 April 2021, a man stabbed and killed a police official at a police station in Ramboillet, located approximately 45 km (30 mi) southwest of Paris. Police officers subsequently shot and killed the assailant at the scene. During the attack, the assailant reportedly shouted Islamist phrases, and authorities are investigating the event as terrorism. Authorities detained at least three other people after searching the suspect’s home. There were no other reports of injuries.
Iraq (Security threat level – 5): During the evening hours of 24 April 2021, a large fire broke out at Ibn al-Khatib Hospital located in the Diyala Bridge area in the southeastern area of the capital Baghdad. The fire broke out after an oxygen tank exploded in an intensive care unit housing COVID-19 patients. The blaze spread to multiple floors in the hospital before firefighters extinguished the flames. The fire killed 82 people and 110 others were injured due to the explosion and fire. Reports indicate the explosion was likely caused by a fault in the storage of oxygen tanks. Authorities are investigating the event.
Analyst Comment: The COVID-19 pandemic has increased strain on Iraq’s already fragile hospital infrastructure. Official estimates indicate that Iraq is averaging approximately 20 daily new cases per 100,000 people, although this figure is likely underestimated.
Mali (Security threat level – 5): On 25 April 2021, an unknown number of rockets struck a United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) base in the town of Tessalit, located approximately 210 km (130 mi) north of the city of Kidal. The rockets struck a barracks housing a contingent of Chadian peacekeepers. Three Chadian peacekeepers were seriously injured in the attack, according to a MINUSMA spokesman. No group has claimed responsibility for the attack.
Mozambique (Security threat level – 4): On 26 April 2021, Total — a French energy company — announced it will withdraw all personnel from the Afungi Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) project located in northern Cabo Delgado province. The company cited the deteriorating security situation in the province as cause to legally suspend contracts associated with the project. The announcement follows a 24 March attack on the town of Palma — located approximately 25 km (15 mi) from the Afungi LNG project — by militants of the Islamic State’s Central Africa Province.
Somalia (Security threat level – 5): On 25 April 2021, armed clashes broke out between rival military factions in the capital Mogadishu. Reports indicate that fighting is ongoing between members of the military who support President Mohamed Abdullahi Farmaajo and those soldiers who oppose his continued rule. Reports indicate that the confrontation included gunbattles and the use of rocket-propelled grenades. There were no reports of casualties. The violence coincided with opposition protests in which demonstrators have burned tires and blocked a key road junction outside the headquarters of Somalia’s intelligence service.
Israel (Security threat level – 3): On 23 April 2021, the U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem issued a Security Alert, which reads in part as follows: “There has been a marked increase in protests and violence in Jerusalem near the Old City, City Center, and parts of North and East Jerusalem. Recent incidents of violence include vandalism, rock throwing, broken glass, burning of vehicles, and attacks on passersby. Protests and violence may continue to occur, some with little or no warning. Embassy personnel have been advised to maintain situational awareness and avoid the area.
“The Embassy strongly encourages U.S. citizens to remain vigilant and take appropriate steps to increase their security awareness, as security incidents often take place without warning.
“The Embassy will continue to review the security situation and will provide additional information as needed.”
Mexico (Security threat level – 4): On 23 April 2021, the U.S. Consulate General in Tijuana issued a Security Alert, which reads in part as follows: “Travelers should avoid the Mexicali Valley until further notice due to the heightened possibility of violence between rival cartel factions. The boundaries of the Mexicali Valley are defined by the area east of Highway 5 (but not including Highway 5), the area south of Highway 2D/Highway 2 (but not including Highways 2D and 2), the area west of the Baja California/Sonora border, and north of La Ventana/Gulf of California in the state of Baja California.”
The full text of the alert can be read here.
Turkey (Security threat level – 4): On 24 April 2021, the U.S. Embassy in Ankara issued a Demonstration Alert, which reads in part as follows: “Demonstrations or protests may occur following the April 24 White House statement remembering the lives of all those who died in the Ottoman-era Armenian genocide. “As a precautionary measure, the U.S. Embassy in Ankara, the U.S. Consulate General in Istanbul, the U.S. Consulate in Adana, and the U.S. Consular Agency in Izmir will be closed for routine American Citizen and visa services on Monday, April 26 and Tuesday, April 27. U.S. citizens in need of emergency assistance should contact the closest consular section using the phone numbers and email addresses below. “U.S. citizens are advised to avoid the areas around U.S. government buildings, and exercise heightened caution in locations where Americans or foreigners may gather.”