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August 18, 2021


Cayman Islands / Lesser Antilles / Mexico / Cuba (Security threat levels – 1 / 1 / 4 / 2): As of 0800 local time (1200 UTC) on 18 August 2021, Tropical Storm Grace was located approximately 30 km (20 mi) southwest of Grand Cayman, the largest of the Cayman Islands, and 650 km east-southeast of Tulum, Mexico, and was moving west at 26 kph (16 mph), according to the U.S. National Hurricane Center. At that time, Grace was generating maximum sustained winds of 100 kph, with higher gusts. On its current forecast path, the storm will likely continue to move near or over the Cayman Islands later on the morning of 18 August. Grace is then expected to strengthen into a hurricane as it approaches Mexico’s Yucatán Peninsula during the evening of 18-19 August.

Tropical Storm Grace produced heavy rainfall and strong winds that flooded streets and felled trees in Jamaica’s eastern provinces; significant disruptions to Jamaica’s power grid were also reported, including in the parishes of Kingston – where the capital city Kingston is located — St. Andrew, St. Catherine, St. Thomas, Portland, St. Mary and St. Ann. The storm also interfered with the distribution of clean water to several areas of the island. However, there were no reports of casualties.

A Hurricane Watch is in effect for the Cayman Islands. A Hurricane Warning is in effect for the Yucatán Peninsula of Mexico in Quintana Roo state from the tourist city of Cancún to Punta Herrero point, which also includes the city of Cozumel. A Tropical Storm Warning is in effect for the Cayman Islands, the Yucatán Peninsula of Mexico from north of Cancún to the city of Campeche and south of Punta Herrero point to Puerto Costa Maya port. A Tropical Storm Watch is in effect for the southern coastal Cuban province of Pinar del Río, as well as for Isla de la Juventud.

United States (Security threat level – 2): On 17 August 2021, a spokesman for the Transportation Security Administration (TSA) stated that the agency will extend the countrywide requirement for travelers over 2 years of age to wear face masks at airports, bus and train stations — as well as aboard passenger aircraft, public buses and trains — through 18 January 2022. Airline passengers are required to wear face masks at TSA screening checkpoints at airports, and anyone who refuses to do so may be denied entry to secure areas of airports to board their flights. Passengers aboard U.S.-bound international flights are also required to wear face masks upon arrival at the airport. Violators could be subject to civil penalties. The requirement, which was enacted to limit the spread of COVID-19, was set to expire on 13 September.

The extension comes amid a notable surge of COVID-19 cases in the country, largely attributed to the highly contagious delta variant of the coronavirus and a low vaccination rate. The latest seven-day rolling average of new reported cases has increased to nearly 157,000 — the highest level in more than six months — and 40.5% of the eligible population (those 12 years of age and older) is not fully vaccinated.


Afghanistan (Security threat level – 5): On 18 August 2021, Taliban militants used live fire to disperse protesters in Jalalabad, the capital of Nangarhar province. According to local reports, at least three people were killed and more than 12 others were wounded. The protest initially began after demonstrators removed the Taliban flag planted at a roundabout in the city’s Pashtunistan Square and replaced it with the national flag.

Japan (Security threat level – 1): On 17 August 2021, authorities extended the ongoing coronavirus-related state of emergency in the capital Tokyo and the prefectures of Chiba, Kanagawa, Okinawa, Osake and Saitama through 12 September. The order is also being expanded to include Fukuoka, Gunma, Ibaraki, Hyogo, Kyoto, Tochigi and Shizuoka prefectures as of 20 August. As part of the measure, karaoke parlors and businesses that serve alcohol are asked to close while all other nonessential businesses are advised to close by 2000 local time (1100 UTC) daily.


South Pacific Islands (Security threat level – 1): At approximately 2110 local time (1010 UTC) on 18 August 2021, a 6.8 magnitude earthquake struck approximately 20 km (12 mi) north of Port-Olry, Vanuatu – located approximately 400 km north of Vanuatu’s capital Port Vila – at a depth of 90 km, according to the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS). Moderate to light shaking was reported throughout the island of Espiritu Santo, where Port-Olry is located. However, there were no reports of casualties or significant damage following the tremor. The Pacific Tsunami Warning Center initially issued an advisory indicating that hazardous tsunami waves from the earthquake were possible within 300 km of its epicenter, but lifted the advisory after approximately one hour and indicated that the threat had since passed. The USGS initially reported the earthquake’s magnitude as 7.1 before revising it down to 6.8.


Denmark (Security threat level – 2): On 18 August 2021, the U.S. Embassy in Copenhagen issued a Demonstration Alert regarding upcoming protests, which reads in part as follows: “Location: Across the street from the U.S. Embassy, Dag Hammarskjölds Allé, Copenhagen

“Event: A demonstration is expected to take place on August 18 beginning at 5:00 p.m. The group intends to protest issues facing Kurds in northern Syria. Local police will be present.

“A demonstration is expected to take place on August 21 beginning at 12:00 p.m. The group intends to protest political events in Syria. Local police will be present.

“A demonstration is expected to take place on August 22 beginning at 4:00 p.m. The group intends to express support for the Afghan people. Local police will be present.”

Lebanon (Security threat level – 4): On 17 August 2021, the U.K. Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) issued updated travel advice for Lebanon, which reads in part as follows: “Basic commodities (fuel, medicines, food) have become increasingly scarce due to the economic crisis. You should therefore bring any medicines you need with you to Lebanon. The legal status and regulation of some medicines prescribed or purchased in the UK can be different in other countries. If you’re travelling with prescription medication you should carry a medical certificate confirming that the medication has been prescribed for a medical condition.

“Petrol is difficult to access, with restrictions of supply at short notice. There are frequent, prolonged closures of fuel stations. You should plan ahead and ensure you have sufficient fuel in your car before travelling. Arguments at fuel stations have sometimes become violent and involved the use of weapons. You should always ensure that your vehicle is positioned to be able to leave a fuel queue quickly if tensions rise. Diesel is increasingly difficult to access, leading to frequent unplanned closures of power generators. This has led to prolonged power cuts across the country, with a knock on impact on other services, such as transport, internet, water and waste collection, and shops, cafes and restaurants.”