AMERICAS Ecuador (Security threat level – 3): On the evening...
Americas: As of 22 December 2020, governments in the Americas region have tightened entry restrictions in an effort to stop the spread of COVID-19 following the discovery of new strains of coronavirus in the U.K. and South Africa. The most notable developments in Ecuador, Panama, Paraguay and Peru are outlined below.
As of 22 December, all travelers arriving in Ecuador from Australia, EU member states, South Africa or the U.K. must take a rapid antigen test upon entry in addition to fulfilling the current requirement to show proof of a negative COVID-19 PCR test taken no more than 10 days before entering Ecuador. All travelers must self-isolate for five days if the antigen test is negative and 10 days if it is positive; foreign travelers are required to self-isolate at a government-approved hotel at their own expense. Additionally, on 21 December President Lenín Moreno signed a new state of emergency decree, which will remain in effect until 20 January 2021. Under the restrictions, the capacity of shopping centers is limited to 50%, while family gatherings are limited to a maximum of 10 people. A nationwide nightly curfew from 2200-0400 local time (0300-0800 UTC) will also remain in effect until 5 January 2021.
Panamanian authorities on 21 December announced temporary entry restrictions for travelers arriving from South Africa and the U.K. As of 2359 local time on 21 December (0459 UTC on 22 December) and until further notice, foreign travelers who have visited or transited either country within 20 days prior to arrival in Panama are prohibited from entering the country. Panamanian citizens and residents are permitted to return but will be subject to COVID-19 testing upon arrival and a period of mandatory quarantine in a government-approved facility until health officials confirm the traveler is not infected with COVID-19.
Paraguayan authorities on 21 December amended entry requirements for travelers arriving from the U.K., effective immediately until at least 4 January 2021. Foreigners who have visited or transited the U.K. since 7 December or within seven days prior to traveling to Paraguay are not permitted to enter. Visitors who entered Paraguay between 14 and 21 December are advised to self-isolate for seven days from their entry date. Paraguayan citizens and residents subject to the restrictions must obtain a special entry authorization, show proof of a negative COVID-19 PCR test taken within 72 hours prior to arrival and undergo a 10-day mandatory quarantine in a government-approved hotel or government facility.
Peruvian authorities imposed a temporary ban on inbound flights from Europe until at least 4 January 2021, as well as an indefinite suspension of flights to and from the U.K. Foreign nationals who have visited or transited the U.K. within 14 days prior to traveling to Peru are not permitted to enter. Meanwhile, officials amended hours of the nightly curfew for several regions of the country, which will be in effect from 22 December until at least 4 January 2021. During this time, the curfew will run from 2300-0400 local time (0400-0900 UTC) in the provinces of Callao and Lima — which include the Lima metropolitan area — and from 2200-0400 local time in the regions of La Libertad, Lambayeque, Piura and Tumbes, as well as in El Santa province in the Ancash region. The remainder of the country remains under a nightly curfew from 0000-0400 local time.
Canada (Security threat level – 2): On 21 December 2020, the premier of Ontario province announced new restrictions in an effort to stop the rapid spread of COVID-19 in the province. The “provincewide shutdown” will come into effect at 0001 local time (0501 UTC) on 26 December and last until at least 23 January 2021 in southern Ontario — which encompasses the cities of Toronto and Ottawa — whereas the restrictions will last until 9 January in the less-populated northern areas of the province. During these time periods, residents are urged to stay at home as much as possible and avoid traveling outdoors. Indoor public events and social gatherings — except with members of the same household — will be prohibited. Nonessential businesses will be required to suspend in-person services, while essential businesses — such as supermarkets, grocery stores and pharmacies — will remain open at 50% capacity. The measures also impose a 25% capacity for commercial retailers selling groceries. Bars, restaurants and other eateries will be limited to curbside pickup, takeout and delivery services. Detailed information regarding the upcoming restrictions as outlined by the Ontario government is available here.
South Korea (Security threat level – 2): On 22 December 2020, authorities announced that they will be imposing coronavirus-related restrictions on tourist destinations and social gatherings, effective from 23 December until at least 3 January 2021, in the capital Seoul and nearby areas, including the city of Incheon and Gyeonggi province. During this time, ski resorts and other tourist attractions will be closed, and social gatherings restricted to no more than four people. Hotels and resort facilities will be restricted to 50% of maximum occupancy. In addition, restaurants must comply with tighter social distancing rules and other health regulations.
Europe: On 22 December 2020, the European Commission adopted a recommendation, advising members of the EU to discourage all nonessential travel to the U.K. in response to a new strain of coronavirus discovered in the U.K. However, the council advised that EU member states should allow essential travel and transit through the U.K. and halt flight and train bans. The recommendation comes amid restrictions imposed by more than 50 countries, including nearly all EU members, prohibiting inbound flights and/or travelers from the U.K.
French authorities currently maintain a ban on all travel from the U.K. — except for unaccompanied freight shipments crossing the English Channel — which is due to expire at 0000 local time on 23 December (2300 UTC on 22 December), including cargo trucks. Due to the ban, more than 1,500 outbound cargo trucks remain stranded in southeastern English city of Kent as U.K. officials work with their French counterparts to resume cargo transport. Meanwhile, the German government has extended the ban on inbound travelers, except German citizens and residents, from the U.K. until at least 6 January 2021, which now includes all forms of passenger transportation. The U.K. Foreign Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) maintains travel advices for foreign countries and territories, including information regarding recently imposed entry restrictions, which can be viewed here.
Iraq / Kuwait / Oman (Security threat levels – 5 / 2 / 2): On 22 December 2020, authorities in Oman closed the country’s land, sea and air borders until at least 29 December in an effort to control the spread of COVID-19. All commercial flights into and out of Oman are also suspended until 29 December as part of the closure.
In Kuwait, on 21 December authorities closed the country’s land, sea and air borders until at least 1 January 2021, and all commercial flights are suspended for the same period. In addition, Kuwaiti authorities announced that all citizens and residents of Kuwait who entered the country between 11 December and 21 December must take COVID-19 PCR tests on the fifth and 10th days following their arrival.
Central African Republic (Security threat level – 5): On 21 December 2020, the U.S. Embassy in Bangui issued a Security Alert, which reads in part as follows: “Reports of Pre-Election Increased Violence, Criminality and Armed Group Activity
“U.S. Embassy Bangui has received reports of increased violence, criminality, and armed group activity in the regions of Ombella-Mpoko, Ouham, Ouham-Pende, Lobaye and Ouaka.
“Although there have been no specific incidents of violence or threats targeting U.S. citizens, civil unrest, demonstrations, and violence have already occurred, and may recur in the period leading up to, during, and following the December 27 elections. Armed groups may seek to move towards Bangui and/or cut off supply routes into the city.
“Commercial flight options are available and should be utilized if you are concerned for your security. Please check with airlines directly regarding their schedules, as flights may change at the last-minute.”
Guinea (Security threat level – 4): On 22 December 2020, the U.K. Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) issued updated travel advice for Guinea, which reads in part as follows: “The state of emergency was extended again on 16 December for a month. There is a curfew in Conakry, Coyah and Dubréka from midnight to 4am [local time/UTC]. Movement around the country is restricted and a negative COVID test certificate within 14 days of travel outside of Conakry is required. Conakry Airport is gradually opening to commercial flights. Guinea’s borders are currently closed.
“Everyone must wear a mask and those not wearing masks are subject to a fine of 30,000 GNF [approximately 3 U.S. dollars].”
Sudan (Security threat level – 5): On 22 December 2020, the U.K. Foreign, Commonwealth and Development office (FCDO) issued an update to its travel advice for Sudan, which reads in part as follows: “The Sudanese Civil Aviation Authority has announced they will be restricting air travel from the UK, Netherlands and South Africa from 23 December 2020 until 5 January 2021.”