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.
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.
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.