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December 24, 2020
24-Dec-2020

AMERICAS

Bolivia (Security threat level – 3) : As of 25 December 2020, the Bolivian government plans to ban entry to all inbound travelers from European countries until at least 8 January 2021. The move follows the recent discovery of a new strain of coronavirus in the U.K. Those arriving in Bolivia from Europe before 25 December will be subjected to COVID-19 tests upon entry, and must also adhere to a current requirement to complete a health form and present negative results of a COVID-19 test administered prior to entry.

United States (Security threat level – 2): Overnight on 23-24 December 2020, a wildfire broke out near Camp Pendleton Marine Corps base in the northern part of San Diego County, California, prompting officials to issue mandatory evacuation orders for approximately 7,000 residents in the area. As of the latest reports, firefighters continue to battle the blaze, which has scorched approximately 750 acres (300 hectares) of land and was only 35% contained. There have been no reports of significant damage or casualties so far.

ASIA

China / Singapore / South Korea (Security threat levels – 3 / 1 / 2): On 24 December 2020, Chinese authorities suspended direct flights to and from the U.K. indefinitely in an attempt to stop the spread of COVID-19. Furthermore, as of 24 December individuals attempting to travel to Hong Kong who have been to the U.K. within the past 21 days will be banned from entering the city.

On 23 December Singapore authorities instituted a requirement for inbound travelers who have visited South Korea in the last 14 days to undergo a 14-day mandatory quarantine at designated facilities. The requirement comes into effect as of 2359 local time (1559 UTC) on 26 December. Travelers arriving in Singapore from South Korea before then are allowed to self-quarantine at a place of residence. Authorities noted that the decision is in response to a sustained surge in confirmed cases of COVID-19 in South Korea.

EUROPE

United Kingdom (Security threat level – 3): As of 26 December 2020, officials are working to implement Tier 4: Stay at Home restrictions — the highest degree of regulation on a four-level scale — to stop the rapid spread of COVID-19 in the following areas of eastern and southeastern England: Sussex, Oxfordshire, Suffolk, Norfolk, Cambridgeshire, Hampshire (except New Forest) and portions of Essex and Surrey that are not subject to the most rigid restrictions as yet. Residents in those areas must stay at home except for work, education, or other essential purposes, and gatherings of people from separate households in private homes will be banned. Individuals are strongly encouraged not to travel into or out of areas under Tier 4 restrictions. Additionally, nonessential businesses, including gyms, hair salons and entertainment venues, will be required to close. Further information provided by the U.K. government, which spells out other areas in England where restrictions will be tightened, is available here.

United Kingdom / South Africa (Security threat levels – 3 / 4): On 23 December 2020, U.K. officials announced an entry ban on travelers arriving in England from South Africa as of 0900 local time/UTC on 24 December. Those who have visited South Africa or transited through the country within the past 10 days are prohibited from entering England and inbound flights from South Africa are banned except freight aircraft. U.K. and Irish nationals, permanent residents and visa holders of the U.K. are exempt, although those allowed entry and members of their households are required to self-quarantine for 10 days. Additionally, officials ordered all travelers who have visited South Africa during the 14 days prior to 23 December, and individuals who have been in close contact with those travelers, along with members of their households, to self-quarantine. These restrictions were enacted after another new mutated variant of coronavirus was discovered in two COVID-19 patients in the U.K. Both patients had contacts with people who recently returned from South Africa, where the new strain has caused a significant rise in COVID-19 infections. The U.K. health secretary has stated that the newly detected strain is more transmissible than previous strains and appears to have mutated more than the strain that was discovered in the U.K.

GOVERNMENT WARNINGS

Central African Republic (Security threat level – 5): On 23 December 2020, the U.S. Embassy in Bangui issued a Security Alert that reads in part as follows: “U.S. Embassy Bangui has received reports of pre-electoral violence nationwide. Out of an abundance of caution, the U.S. Embassy in Bangui decided to limit staff to mission-critical movements starting on December 24 for an indefinite period of time.”

The full text of the alert is available here.

Analyst Comment: The security environment in the Central African Republic remains very tense ahead of the general elections scheduled to occur on 27 December. U.N. peacekeepers and government soldiers recaptured the town of Bambari, located nearly 380 km (235 mi) northeast of Bangui, on 23 December, a day after rebel groups seized control of the town. There is a high likelihood of additional violence in the country, including in Bangui, in the lead-up to, during and after the elections.

Dominican Republic (Security threat level – 3): On 23 December 2020, the U.S. Embassy in Santo Domingo issued a Health Alert, which reads in part as follows: “On December 23, the Dominican government instituted restrictions on airports in Punta Cana, Santiago, and Santo Domingo permitting only ONE person to accompany travelers inside the airport for arrivals or departures. One additional person can accompany travelers by vehicle but will not be allowed access inside the terminals. Cell phone use is not permitted inside the airports. Airports remain fully operational, however flights to and from the United Kingdom have been suspended. Starting January 1, all passengers are required to fill out an E-Ticket when entering or exiting the Dominican Republic. For each entry and exit a new E Ticket is required and the code generated upon form completion can be presented at the airport on a digital device.”

Peru (Security threat level – 3): On 23 December 2020, the U.S. Embassy in Lima issued a Security Alert, which reads in part as follows: “Location: Ica and Trujillo on Panamericana Sur and Panamericana Norte Highways

“Event: There are ongoing widespread protests of agricultural workers in multiple regions of Peru affecting travel along the PanAmericana Sur and PanAmericana Norte highways in the Ica and Trujillo regions. The Peruvian National Police deployed a large force of police officers in response. Avoid travel in the affected areas if possible, as the situation is ongoing and evolving. The protests may continue for several days until the situation is resolved.”

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