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December 2, 2021


United States (Security threat level – 2): On 2 December 2021, the White House announced that President Joe Biden will tighten entry requirements for all inbound international travelers to the United States. The announcement comes one day after the first case of the omicron variant of COVID-19 was confirmed in the country. The new requirement — slated to go into effect early next week — mandates that travelers must possess proof of a negative result from a COVID-19 test taken within 24 hours before departure for the U.S., regardless of nationality or vaccination status. Currently, negative results from pre-departure tests taken within 72 hours before departure are accepted for fully vaccinated travelers entering the U.S. As of 8 November, unvaccinated U.S. citizens and lawful permanent residents have been required to show a negative result from a COVID-19 test taken 24 hours before departure, whereas unvaccinated foreign nationals have been subject to an entry ban with very limited exemptions. Additionally, the president is set to extend the requirement to wear face masks aboard aircraft, on public transport and in public transportation nodes — such as airports and indoor bus stations — through 18 March 2022. Detailed information regarding the government’s new plan to combat the spread of COVID-19 as outlined by the White House is available here.


Afghanistan (Security threat level – 5): On 1 December 2021, Taliban and Iranian officials confirmed that skirmishes occurred between Taliban and Iranian security personnel along the Afghanistan-Iran border near the Afghan province of Nimroz. Iranian officials stated that the conflict occurred due to confusion about the location of the official border line after Iranian border guards constructed a wall on the Iranian side several hundred meters from the official line with the purpose of stopping smugglers. The Taliban referred to the incident as a “local misunderstanding” and stated that they have given instructions to border guards to prevent further such occurrences. Iranian officials are engaged in discussions with the Taliban regarding the incident. There were no reports of casualties due to the clashes.


Germany (Security threat level – 3): Federal and state governments in Germany approved new coronavirus-related regulations on 2 December 2021, following the emergence of the omicron variant of COVID-19 in the country. Access to shops, restaurants and entertainment establishments will be permitted only to fully vaccinated people or those who have recovered from COVID-19. Additionally, officials will impose contact restrictions for unvaccinated individuals and enhance COVID-19 testing for vaccinated individuals.


Ethiopia (Security threat level – 4): On 2 December 2021, the European Union (EU) ordered its nonessential personnel to leave Ethiopia and increased security measures for staff remaining in the country. The EU maintains diplomatic missions to Ethiopia and the African Union regional bloc in the capital Addis Ababa. The decision comes amid the ongoing conflict between the Ethiopian government and a rebel alliance headed by the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF), which has raised concerns regarding the rebel forces’ potential advance toward the capital. Most recently, the Ethiopian government claimed to have retaken the town of Chifra in the Afar region, located near the strategic A2 highway approximately 330 km (205 mi) north of Addis Ababa.


Finland (Security threat level – 2): On 2 December 2021, the U.S. Embassy in Helsinki issued an alert regarding upcoming demonstrations on Finnish Independence Day, which reads in part as follows: “On Monday December 6th Finns will be celebrating their Independence Day. Along with the revelry of gaining independence from Russia in 1917, many Finnish groups use the day as a platform to conduct demonstrations in support of their various causes. While some, such as the Student Candlelight Procession will be without conflict, others such as the Right-Wing 612 procession will attract counter-protests from Left-Wing groups and in a very small number of cases in the past, these demonstrations have devolved into clashes. It is also important to note that there have been several emotional demonstrations recently where organizers are protesting Finland’s current COVID restrictions.”

The full text of the alert is available here.