AMERICAS Ecuador (Security threat level – 3): On the evening...
Argentina (Security threat level – 3): On 12 December 2021, authorities in Argentina announced that a health pass will be required for entry into events countrywide starting on 1 January 2022. The health pass, which can be obtained by all residents over the age of 13 to verify proof of full vaccination against COVID-19, must be presented to enter indoor entertainment establishments, such as dance venues and party halls, and to participate in events with more than 1,000 people in attendance. The measure will take effect in the capital Buenos Aires as of 21 December.
Brazil (Security threat level – 3): On 10 December 2021, the minister of health publicly stated that the government will postpone the enforcement of new quarantine orders — applicable to unvaccinated foreign travelers seeking to enter Brazil — for at least seven days amid a data breach detected earlier on the same day against the Ministry of Health. A hacker group reportedly accessed the Health Ministry’s servers then demanded authorities pay ransom for the data they claim to have stolen and deleted. The minister noted that the ministry’s backup system is up to date and no data will be lost.
Analyst Comment: The minister of health on 7 December stated that unvaccinated foreign travelers seeking to enter Brazil will be required to observe a five-day quarantine period followed by a COVID-19 test as of 11 December.
United States (Security threat level – 2): As of 13 December 2021, rescue and recovery efforts are underway in the central and southern regions of the United States, following the passage of a severe weather system overnight on 10-11 December. More than 30 tornadoes were reported in Kentucky and five other states: Arkansas, Illinois, Mississippi, Missouri and Tennessee. In the worst-affected state of Kentucky, a tornado traveled for about 230 mi (370 km), causing significant destruction along its path. Another tornado struck an Amazon distribution center in the town of Edwardsville in Illinois, while a nursing home was struck in the city of Monette in northeastern Arkansas. The governor of Kentucky expects a death toll of between 50 and 100 people as a result of the tornadoes. Additionally, at least 14 fatalities have been confirmed in other states.
Austria (Security threat level – 2): On the afternoon of 11 December 2021, tens of thousands of people gathered in central Vienna to protest measures adopted to curb the spread of COVID-19, particularly the government’s decision to make COVID-19 vaccines mandatory in Austria as of February 2022. An estimated crowd of about 44,000 people marched along the city center’s historic Ringstrasse — a circular grand boulevard that encompasses the historic Inner Town district in Vienna — from Heldenplatz to Schwarzenbergplatz. Demonstrators obstructed throughway traffic and threw pyrotechnics toward police officers and media reporters at the scene. Security personnel reported severe traffic congestion near the city center during the demonstration and advised motorists to avoid the area. At least three people were arrested; however, the majority of demonstrators were peaceful.
Spain (Security threat level – 3): On 10 December 2021, the Spanish government extended existing travel restrictions on foreign travelers from several African countries through 26 December. The Official State Gazette published the order from the Ministry of Health, which affects flights arriving in Spain from any airport located in Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Zambia or Zimbabwe. Travelers from these countries will need to present a negative result from a COVID-19 test — such as a PCR test taken within 78 hours of arrival — regardless of vaccination status or recovery from the disease. In addition, travelers are required to observe a 14-day quarantine period upon arrival in Spain.
Morocco (Security threat level – 3): On 9 December 2021, the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) announced an extension to the ban on all incoming passenger flights until 31 December due to continued concerns regarding the omicron variant of COVID-19. Officials previously announced a two-week ban on incoming flights during 29 November-13 December. Additionally, on 6 December the Irish airline Ryanair announced the cancellation of its passenger flights to and from Morocco until 1 February 2022 due to a lack of clarity on when the travel ban would end.
Ghana (Security threat level – 3): As of 13 December 2021, all inbound travelers to Ghana are required to be fully vaccinated in order to be permitted entry into the country. Authorities do not offer an option to self-isolate after arrival in lieu of the vaccination requirement. Ghanaian citizens and residents living abroad will be exempt from the mandate for up to two weeks; however, those entering Ghana following the exemption period will be required to be vaccinated upon arrival at the airport. Fully vaccinated travelers will still be required to present a negative COVID-19 PCR test taken at least 72 hours prior to arrival. Additionally, proof of vaccination is required to enter entertainment venues in the country.
Sudan (Security threat level – 5): At approximately 1430 local time (1230 UTC) on 13 December 2021, police officers deployed tear gas to disperse several hundred demonstrators who had gathered near the presidential palace in the capital Khartoum. Police officers deployed the tear gas to prevent demonstrators who were approaching the palace from reaching the location. There were no immediate reports of arrests or injuries. An additional protest also occurred in the nearby city of Omdurman. Protesters are demanding that the military withdraw from politics and submit to civilian rule.
Analyst Comment: Protests demanding complete civilian rule have been frequent since General Abdel Fatah Al-Burhan removed Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok from power and dissolved the ruling sovereign council on 25 October. Such protests have continued despite a 21 November deal between the military and Prime Minister Hamdok, which restored Hamdok’s premiership. Protesters rejected the deal, as they believe the civilian government has been stripped of power and the country is still effectively under military rule.