ASIA China (Security threat level – 3): On 23 November...
Canada (Security threat level – 2): On 6 August 2021, Canada Border Service Agency employees launched an indefinite labor action at airports, land border crossings and shipping ports across the country. Two major unions — the Public Service Alliance of Canada (PSAC) and Customs and Immigration Union (CIU) — representing approximately 8,500 workers started the work-to-rule action after negotiations with the government failed to reach an agreement. The unions are demanding a collectively bargained contract and better protections for their members against harassment and discrimination. During the work-to-rule strike, workers are refusing to work overtime or during their breaks and are asking every question listed in their manual at points of entry, purposefully slowing the process. The labor action, which could significantly delay processing times at the ports of entry, started three days before the Canadian government is set to allow entry to fully vaccinated U.S. citizens and permanent residents.
United States (Security threat level – 2): On 5 August 2021, the judge for Harris County, Texas — which encompasses the city of Houston — raised the county’s COVID-19 threat level to “Level 1 (severe) red alert, ” the highest possible level on a four-tier color-coded scale, citing a severe and uncontrolled rate of community transmission. The Level 1 alert urges unvaccinated people to stay at home, to minimize contact with others as much as possible, and to avoid leaving their places of residence except to procure essential goods or services. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention currently categorizes Harris County as experiencing the uppermost “high” rate of COVID-19 transmission, which is largely attributed to rapid spread of the delta variant of the coronavirus and a low vaccination rate. The judge had lowered the county’s threat level to “Level 2 (significant) orange alert” on 18 May amid a decline in new cases and an increase in the number of fully vaccinated residents. However, the latest official statistics indicate that just over 55% of eligible residents (those 12 years of age or older) are fully vaccinated and that the seven-day average of daily new cases has increased to nearly 221 per 100,000 inhabitants.
Japan (Security threat level – 1): At approximately 2030 local time (1130 UTC) on 6 August 2021, an unknown assailant stabbed four commuters aboard an Odakyu Line train near Seijogakuen-mae Station in the Setagaya Ward of the capital Tokyo before fleeing the scene. At least one of the victims suffered serious injuries. As a precaution, services along the Odakyu Line were suspended between Shinjuku and Mukogaoka Yuen station. Authorities later captured the suspect in the city’s Suginami ward, but have not indicated a potential motive for the stabbings.
Singapore (Security threat level – 1): On 6 August 2021, the Ministry of Health announced that beginning on 21 August, travelers from Australia, Austria, Canada, Germany, Italy, Norway, South Korea and Switzerland who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 may request to serve their mandatory 14-day quarantine at home if they meet additional criteria. First, travelers must be inoculated with an approved vaccine. Additionally, they must have spent 21 consecutive days before traveling to Singapore in one of the aforementioned countries. Additional details are available here.
Taiwan (Security threat level – 1): As of 1700 local time (0900 UTC) on 6 August 2021, Tropical Storm Lupit was located approximately 270 km (165 mi) west of Taipei, Taiwan, and was moving east-northeast at 15 kph, according to the U.S. Joint Typhoon Warning Center. At that time, Lupit was generating maximum sustained winds of 65 kph, with gusts of up to 83 kph. On its current forecast path, the storm is expected to make landfall along the northwestern tip of Taiwan near the capital Taipei by 7 August. The Central Weather Bureau (CWB) warned of strong winds and rainfall throughout the island until at least 8 August. The CWB issues advisories regarding particularly strong winds and heavy rainfall for Changhua County, Chiayi County, Kaohsiung City, Pingtung County, Tainan City and Yunlin County.
Greece (Security threat level – 3): As of 6 August 2021, a number of major wildfires are burning across Greece amid a continuing severe heat wave. A massive blaze burning near the northern outskirts of the capital Athens restrengthened the previous day, forcing officials to issue evacuation orders for thousands of residents in the suburbs of Afidnes, Drosopigi, Ippokrateios Kokkinovrahos, Kryoneri and Politeia, as well as the migration reception center in Malakasa. The blaze has crossed both sides of the national highway, which connects Athens to the northern part of the country, and is endangering towns situated on the eastern foothills of Mount Parnitha. Local utility firms have announced rolling power outages in parts of the capital in order to avoid major outages, as the fires have damaged electricity transmission lines. Meanwhile, the Greek coast guard launched an operation to rescue residents and visitors from the island of Evia using patrol boats and private vessels. According to a spokesperson for the coast guard, 653 people have been evacuated from three beaches in the northeastern part of the island since the late night hours of 5 August. Additionally, dozens of towns have been evacuated in the southern Peloponnese region. Thus far, at least 20 people, including four firefighters, have suffered injuries related to the ongoing blazes. One firefighter was reportedly killed. More than 1,000 firefighters and 20 aircraft are currently battling major fires in 56 active fronts across Greece. The General Secretariat for Civil Protection warned of an “extreme” risk of wildfires on 6 August for approximately half of the country. The secretariat maintains a Daily Risk Fire Map, which can be viewed here.
Guatemala (Security threat level – 4): On the morning of 6 August 2021, the U.S. Embassy in Guatemala City issued a Security Alert, which reads in part as follows:
“Location: Throughout Guatemala
“Event: The Embassy has received information that demonstrations/roadblocks are underway at the following locations:
“U.S citizens should remain alert to the possibility of demonstrations or road closures occurring at unanticipated times and locations. Demonstrations can quickly grow in size and often move from one location to another, thus potentially disrupting movement.”
Haiti (Security threat level – 4): On 5 August 2021, the U.S. Embassy in Port-au-Prince issued a Security Alert, which reads in part as follows: “Political opposition groups intend to conduct a protest march through the neighborhoods of Champ de Mars, Lalue, Nazon, Rue de Delmas and Petionville in Port Au Prince on August, 6, 2021. Please remain vigilant as large gatherings of this sort, while largely peaceful, can become unpredictable. Please avoid unnecessary travel in these areas at this time. The US Embassy is restricting official and non official travel to Tabarre beginning the morning of August 6.”