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December 23, 2021


Mexico (Security threat level – 4): At approximately 1720 local time (2320 UTC) on 22 December 2021, a 6.0 magnitude earthquake struck off the coast of the state of Jalisco. According to the U.S. Geological Survey, the epicenter of the quake was located approximately 220 km (135 mi) southwest of the town of La Cruz de Loreto and nearly 287 km west of Puerto Vallarta. The quake had an estimated depth of 9 km; light shaking was felt in the cities of Puerto Vallarta and Cihuatlan. There were no reports of infrastructure damage or casualties as a result of the earthquake. No tsunami warning was issued.

United States (Security threat level – 2): At approximately 0100 local time (0700 UTC) on 23 December 2021, a large-scale blaze broke out at an ExxonMobil oil refinery in Baytown, Texas, which is located approximately 25 mi (40 km) east of the city of Houston. The blaze reportedly started in a hydrotreater unit at the refinery, which had suspended operations the previous day due to a leakage in a bypass line. As of last report, firefighters were working to extinguish the blaze. Four workers at the site were injured in the fire. No evacuation or shelter-in-place warnings were issued in response to the event. Preliminary reports suggest that an explosion started the blaze, although the cause of the fire has yet to be officially determined.


Spain (Security threat level – 3): On 23 December 2021, the high court of Spain’s northeastern Catalonia region ratified the regional government’s proposal to reinstate a nightly curfew in order to mitigate the rapid spread of COVID-19. Subsequently, a 0100-0600 local time (0000-0500 UTC) nightly curfew will be enforced as of 24 December in areas of Catalonia with more than 250 cases per 100,000 residents; nearly all of the region, including the regional capital Barcelona, will be subject to the curfew. Additional measures include the closure of nightclubs and similar venues as well as a prohibition on social gatherings of more than 10 people. These measures are currently slated to remain in effect for the next 15 days. Separately, Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez has announced plans to reinstate a countrywide requirement to wear face masks outdoors, which is also anticipated to be effective 24 December.


Mozambique (Security threat level – 4): On 22 December 2021, the U.S. Embassy in Maputo issued a Health Alert regarding an extension of the current coronavirus-related state of emergency, which reads in part as follows: “On December 20, 2021, President Filipe Jacinto Nyusi extended the current state of calamity restrictions to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 (Decree 94/2021), while announcing three changes to the restrictions. These restrictions apply to persons residing in Mozambique.

“The following are the three changes to the restrictions which began at midnight December 21, 2021, for a period of 30 days:

  1. The curfew in place is suspended from 12:00 am to 4:00 am on December 25th and January 1st.
  2. Visits to inmates in penitentiary facilities throughout Mozambique are prohibited.
  3. In hospitals, only one person per day is allowed to visit each hospitalized patient. It is still prohibited to visit patients with COVID-19.”

Additional information provided by the U.S. Embassy in Maputo is available here.