Chile (Security threat level – 2): On 23 August 2021, officials with the Ministry of Health announced an upcoming modification to Chile’s coronavirus-related entry restrictions for travelers. As of 1 September, travelers entering Chile will be subject to a seven-day quarantine, instead of the existing 10-day quarantine period. Other requirements for travelers remain unchanged, including the need to present a negative result from a PCR test taken within 72 hours before departure to Chile.
United States (Security threat level – 2): At approximately 2040 local time on 23 August 2021 (0340 UTC on 24 August), an Alaska Airlines commercial aircraft with 128 passengers and six crew members onboard was evacuated upon landing at Washington’s Seattle Tacoma International Airport (KSEA/SEA) after a passenger’s cell phone caught fire. Crew members deployed evacuation slides for individuals aboard to disembark the aircraft and employed a battery containment bag to extinguish the blaze. A bus transported the evacuees, some of whom suffered minor injuries, to the airport terminal. Flight operations at the facility remained unaffected. The aircraft was performing Alaska Airlines Flight 751 from New Orleans, Louisiana, to Seattle at the time of the accident.
Afghanistan (Security threat level – 5): As of 24 August 2021, evacuations out of Hamid Karzai International Airport (OAKB/KBL) in the capital Kabul remain underway. The Taliban have stated that all U.S. forces must leave the country by 31 August; however, Taliban patrols continue to impede access to the airport. Meanwhile, thousands of people remain at the airport, and many do not have documentation such as passports. Officials with the U.S. Department of State claimed that their commitment to the safe passage of potential evacuees will not end on 31 August, as they need more time to continue evacuations. It remains unknown if U.S. President Joe Biden will attempt to negotiate an extension with the militant group.
Limited but consistent reports indicate that the Taliban are searching for former government workers and civil society activists, who are reportedly in hiding – along with large numbers of women — in Kabul and across the country due to fears of Taliban retaliation. Despite Taliban encouragement, government workers have not returned to work.
The Taliban have erected checkpoints across Kabul and are questioning drivers about their destinations and checking their documentation. Taliban fighters have also stopped lone women on the streets to inquire as to the whereabouts of their now-required male escort. In other areas of the country, the Taliban have begun enforcing new rules. For example, in Sar-e-Pol province, the Taliban have issued a number of directives, including banning music and Western-style dress, as well as jobs that require women to appear in public. Violators are subject to beatings. In the city of Herat, women may return to school if their teachers are women or elderly men.
On 23 August, U.S. officials told Afghan special immigrant visa applicants to avoid the airport, as officials there are currently prioritizing U.S. citizens and legal residents of the United States for evacuation. The officials added that special applicants will not be permitted to enter the airport, with extremely limited exceptions. According to U.S. military officials, since 31 July the U.S. has evacuated 42,000 people from Afghanistan, with 37,000 people being evacuated since 14 August.
South Korea (Security threat level – 2): During the evening of 23 August 2021, Tropical Storm Omais made landfall along the border of Jeonnam and Gyongnam provinces. Omais generated strong winds and rainfall of up to 200 mm (8 in) in areas along its path. Areas of Jeju Island received up to 220 mm of rainfall. There were no reports of significant injuries, although emergency personnel rescued at least 18 people due to flash flooding. The storm prompted authorities to cancel 86 flights and rail services in the southern areas of the country. Although the storm exited into the Sea of Japan by 24 August, officials have warned that continued heavy rainfall is likely.
El Salvador (Security threat level – 4): On 24 August 2021, the U.S. Embassy in San Salvador issued a Travel Alert regarding dangerous beach conditions, which reads in part as follows:
“In 2021, an elevated number of U.S. citizens (and persons of other nationalities) have lost their lives due to rip currents and other dangerous conditions at El Salvador’s tourist beaches.
“Strong undertows and currents make swimming at El Salvador’s Pacific Coast beaches extremely dangerous even for experienced swimmers. Lifeguards are not always present at beaches. In addition, El Salvador’s search and rescue capabilities are limited, and access to medical resources in these areas is inadequate. Carefully assess the potential risks of recreational water activities and consider your physical capabilities and skills. Be aware that drinking alcohol and swimming can be a deadly combination.”
Laos (Security threat level – 3): On 23 August 2021, the U.K. Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) issued updated travel advice regarding coronavirus-related restrictions, which reads in part as follows: “Some restrictions on travel within Laos have been extended until 2 September 2021. According to the Lao authorities, public transport by land and air is permitted between provinces where community transmission has not been identified. The government has announced that travel from Vientiane Capital is permitted for people who can show they have been fully vaccinated before travel. However given the low number of people who currently meet this requirement there are few public transport options available in practice. Some limited domestic flight services have resumed for eligible travellers who are fully vaccinated and have permission to travel from the Lao authorities (permission is also required for anyone if travelling with unvaccinated children).”