ASIA China (Security threat level – 3): On 23 November...
United States (Security threat level – 2): On the evening of 4 August 2021, a major wildfire in Northern California swept through the mountainous town of Greenville in Plumas County, forcing officials to issue mandatory evacuation orders for the town’s approximately 800 residents. The blaze destroyed most buildings in the downtown area, including a hotel and gas station. However, there were no reports of significant injuries or deaths. The fire, which has been burning for three weeks, had already consumed more than 435 sq. mi (1,125 sq. km) of land. Authorities issued evacuation orders for an additional 4,000 people on 4 August, bringing the total number of residents under evacuation orders in multiple counties in the region to nearly 26,500. Authorities are deploying additional firefighting equipment to support about 5,000 firefighters battling the blaze. A “red flag” warning is in place through the evening of 5 August, indicating hot, humid and windy weather conditions favorable for the blaze to grow. More than a dozen other wildfires are burning elsewhere in California. According to the U.S. National Interagency Fire Center, more than 21,000 firefighters and emergency crews are battling 96 large-scale wildfires that have consumed nearly 2,945 sq. mi of land in 14 states, mostly in the western part of the country.
United States (Security threat level – 2): As of 5 August 2021, hundreds of Spirit Airlines flights have been canceled for a fifth consecutive day, leaving passengers stranded across U.S. airports. According to the most recent reports, the airline canceled nearly 350 flights scheduled for 5 August. The airline reportedly canceled more than 60% of its flights per day during the past two consecutive days. The airline began experiencing significant cancellations and delays on 1 August and has attributed the disruptions to multiple operational challenges, specifically technological outages, weather-related issues and staffing shortages. Further cancellations and delays are highly likely, although the airline has pledged to gradually resume its flights in the coming days.
China (Security threat level – 3): As of 1700 local time (0900 UTC) on 5 August 2021, Tropical Storm Lupit was located approximately 300 km (185 mi) northeast of Hong Kong, and was moving north at 6 kph (3 mph), according to the U.S. Joint Typhoon Warning Center. At that time, Lupit was generating maximum sustained winds of 83 kph, with gusts of up to 102 kph. The storm is expected to continue along its current forecast path before shifting northeast and entering the East China Sea by 8 August. Areas throughout Fujian and southern Zhejiang are expected to receive heavy rainfall as the storm moves toward the East China Sea.
Lupit made its first landfall as a typhoon near Shantou City in Guangdong province at approximately 1120 local time. It then made a second landfall near Zhangzhou, Fujian province, around 1650 local time. Ahead of the storm, authorities evacuated approximately 33,000 people. However, there have been no reports of casualties or damage.
Vietnam (Security threat level – 3): On 4 August 2021, authorities announced that the quarantine period for inbound travelers who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 will be reduced to seven days from 14 days. Upon completion of the seven-day quarantine, vaccinated travelers will be subject to an additional seven days of medical observation. Officials did not indicate when the measure would go into effect.
Greece (Security threat level – 3): On 4 August 2021, a wildfire on the Greek island of Evia — located just north of the capital Athens — endangered about a dozen villages, prompting authorities to evacuate the island. The Greek coast guard deployed five boats to evacuate nearly 90 residents and tourists who had gathered on a beach near the northern village of Rovies. The blaze destroyed at least 150 homes in the village of Matoundi. Authorities have deployed seven helicopters and water-dropping aircraft to support about 100 firefighters balling the blaze. At least three firefighters suffered minor burns. According to the deputy minister for civil protection, a total of 118 fires broke out across Greece over the previous 24 hours, as temperatures reached 45 degrees Celsius (113 degrees Fahrenheit). The General Secretariat for Civil Protection has warned of a “very high” risk of fires on 5 August in multiple regions across the country; the secretariat’s Daily Fire Risk Map can be accessed here.
Lebanon (Security threat level – 4): On 4 August 2021, demonstrators rallying to mark the first anniversary of an explosion at the Port of Beirut threw stones and fireworks, and attempted to storm the parliament building in the capital Beirut. Police officers responded by deploying tear gas and water cannons and beating demonstrators with batons. At least 84 people were injured. Meanwhile in the nearby port area, several thousand demonstrators rallied peacefully.
Analyst Comment: Since the explosion, investigations still have not discovered who ordered the chemicals that caused the explosion or why they were left in place despite repeated warnings about the risks they posed. Protesters are also demanding more accountability for government leaders who were in office at the time of the explosion.
Slovakia (Security threat level – 2): On 4 August 2021, the U.S. Embassy in Bratislava issued a Security Alert regarding scheduled protests, which reads in part as follows:
“Location: Presidential Palace, Hodzovo Namestie, and surrounding area, Bratislava, Slovakia
“Event: Demonstrations to protest the Slovak government’s Covid-19 restrictions are scheduled in Bratislava this coming Thursday, August 5th and Friday August 6th, from 8:00 am to 10:00 pm. Police estimate 1,000 to 3,000 participants. Other organizations could participate to promote their own agendas. Any peaceful demonstration could become violent. Clashes with police, road blockages, and other interruptions may occur.”
Ukraine (Security threat level – 4): On 4 August 2021, the U.K. Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) issued updated travel advice for Ukraine to include the following coronavirus-related entry requirements: “From 5 August 2021, new rules are in place. All non-exempt foreign nationals, in addition to their health insurance policy, must have: a document confirming receipt of a full course of Covid-19 vaccination with WHO-approved vaccines – which Ukraine lists as Pfizer, AstraZeneca (Vaxzevria, Covishield and SKBio), Janssen, Moderna, Sinopharm and CoronaVac, or one of: a negative Rapid Antigen Test taken no more than 72 hours before entry; or a negative PCR test taken no more than 72 hours before entry. The requirement for proof of vaccination or a negative test does not apply to children under 12.”
Zambia (Security threat level – 3): On 5 August 2021, the U.K. Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) issued updated travel advice regarding upcoming elections, which reads in part as follows: “Zambia will hold a general election on Thursday 12 August and the result may not be known for 3 to 5 days. There will be political rallies in the days before the election and until the result is announced. You should respect local sensitivities and avoid large crowds.”