NORTH AMERICA Cuba / United States (Security threat levels –...
Brazil (Security threat level – 3): As of 27 December 2021, widespread flooding is affecting the northeastern state of Bahia after floodwaters breached two dams over the weekend, following several weeks of heavy rainfall. The Igua dam on the Verruga River, located in the southern part of the state, overflowed on the night of 25 December, forcing residents in the town of Itambe to evacuate their homes. Additionally, another dam near the Jussiape municipality — located approximately 100 km (60 mi) to the north, overflowed on the morning of 26 December. The extensive flooding has affected nearly 40 cities across the state, prompting more than 35,000 residents to flee their homes, including those residing in the southern municipalities of Coaraci, Guaratinga and Itororo. In Salvador — the state capital — emergency officials recorded 31 landslides and 22 flooded neighborhoods throughout the city and nearby rural areas. Brazilian officials have warned of additional threats of flooding and landslides in the state, as heavy rainfall is possible until at least 28 December. At least 18 people have died and more than 280 others have been injured in the region since heavy rainfall began in November.
United States (Security threat level – 2): On 24 December 2021, a spokesperson for the White House announced that the U.S. government will annul the current entry ban on most foreigners who have visited any of the following eight southern African countries within the previous 14 days: Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa and Zimbabwe. The entry ban — expected to be annulled on 31 December — was imposed on 29 November in response to the emergence of the omicron variant of COVID-19. Foreigners coming to the U.S. are required to be fully vaccinated, show proof of a COVID-19 PCR test taken at least one day prior to departure for the U.S. or proof of recent recovery from COVID-19. Further information regarding current entry requirements for inbound air travelers as outlined by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is available here.
Bangladesh (Security threat level – 4): At approximately 0300 local time on 24 December 2021 (2100 UTC on 23 December), a large-scale fire broke out on a passenger ferry that was transporting more than 800 people on the southern Sugandha River near the sub-district of Jhalokati Sadar in the Barisal division. The Abhijan-10 vessel departed from the capital Dhaka and was en route to the town of Barguna when the blaze started in its engine compartment. Firefighters contained the blaze after approximately three hours. At least 40 people were killed and 72 more were injured due to the fire. Authorities have arrested the owner of the ferry on homicide charges and are continuing their investigation into the event.
India (Security threat level – 3): On 27 December 2021, police officers deployed tear gas and water cannons to disperse local government employees who had gathered outside the state headquarters of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in Patna — the capital of the northern state of Bihar — to demand payment of salary arrears. According to local reports, police officers at the scene attempted to disperse the demonstrators, who threw stones at the officers. Police officers responded by firing water cannons and tear gas toward protesters. Authorities later stated that approximately 50 police officers suffered injuries in the unrest.
Saudi Arabia / Yemen (Security threat levels – 3 / 5): On 24 December 2021, Houthi rebels launched a projectile from the Yemeni city of Saada that landed on an industrial workshop in the Saudi town of Jizan, located in southwestern Jizan province along the border with Yemen. Two people were killed, and seven others were wounded in the blast. Two shops and 12 vehicles were also damaged in the attack.
Saudi coalition authorities responded to the missile attacks with large-scale airstrikes against Houthi positions in Yemen, including in the capital Sanaa — where the airstrikes destroyed alleged weapons depots. The coalition also carried out airstrikes against alleged Houthi targets in Saada and Al-Mahwit governorates.
Analyst Comment: Yemen-based Houthi rebels routinely launch projectiles into southern Saudi Arabia, but the vast majority are either intercepted by the Saudi military, land harmlessly or cause minimal damage.
Democratic Republic Of The Congo (Security threat level – 4): At approximately 1900 local time (1800 UTC) on 25 December 2021, a suicide bomber detonated an improvised explosive device (IED) at a restaurant in central Beni in the eastern North Kivu province, located near the Democratic Republic of the Congo’s border with Uganda. According to a local government official, the blast occurred at the entrance of the restaurant when security guards stopped the assailant from entering the crowded venue, which was hosting a Christmas celebration. At least six people were killed in the bombing and 20 others were wounded. Authorities blamed the attack on the Allied Democratic Forces (ADF), an insurgent group linked to the Islamic State militant group; however, ADF has not yet claimed responsibility for the attack. The government had declared a state of siege in North Kivu and nearby Ituri province in May 2021, citing an increase in the number of armed attacks and intercommunal violence in the region.
Sudan (Security threat level – 5): On 25 December 2021, thousands of anti-military protesters gathered to participate in weekly demonstrations in the streets of central Khartoum, the capital. A large number of military personnel in riot gear were deployed in the streets leading to the capital on 24 December, closing bridges and blocking roadways that led to Khartoum. At approximately 0600 local time (0400 UTC), authorities suspended internet and telecommunication services in Khartoum and the adjacent city of Omdurman. Later the same day, thousands of anti-military protesters marched toward the presidential palace. Security personnel deployed tear gas and stun grenades at the protesters. A spokesperson for the Sudan Doctors Committee stated that security forces attacked patients and staff members at the Khartoum Teaching Hospital located near Army avenue in the city center. Approximately 180 protesters were injured in clashes with police officers; eight of those injured suffered gunshot wounds.
Brazil (Security threat level – 3): On 25 December 2021, the U.K. Foreign, Commonwealth and Development office (FCDO) issued updated travel advice for Brazil to include the following information regarding updated entry requirements: “Anyone travelling to Brazil by air must present documentary evidence of a negative PCR test for COVID-19 taken within 72 hours of boarding or a negative antigen test taken within 24 hours of boarding in English, Spanish or Portuguese to their airline at check-in. From 18 December 2021, anyone travelling to Brazil by air or land will need to show proof of full vaccination with any COVID-19 vaccine approved by the World Health Organization’s Emergency Use Listing (WHO).
“Unvaccinated travellers, or travellers without proof of vaccination, will not be allowed access to Brazil unless they meet the criteria set out in the decree – in this case, they will also be required to undergo quarantine for up to 14 days.
Czech Republic (Security threat level – 2): On 24 December 2021, the U.S. Embassy in Prague issued a Health Alert, which reads in part as follows: “Effective December 27, 2021, foreign nationals traveling to the Czech Republic will be required to present a negative PCR test prior to travel. This requirement applies to vaccinated individuals and those who have recovered from COVID-19 within the last six months.
“The PCR test requirement does not apply to travelers who have received a COVID-19 booster dose, children under 12, those between 12 and 18 who are fully vaccinated (no booster required), or vaccinated travelers holding a long-term residency permit for the Czech Republic.
“Travelers who are not vaccinated or have not recovered from COVID-19 within the last six months, must also take a PCR test between the 5th and 7th day after arrival in the Czech Republic.
“Please see the Czech Ministry of Health website for more information on current COVID-19 protective measures. You may also find information on the U.S. Embassy Prague website and the Czech COVID-19 page for further guidance.”
Guatemala (Security threat level – 4): On 24 December 2021, the U.S. Embassy in Guatemala City issued a Health Alert, which reads in part as follows: “The Government of Guatemala has temporarily rescinded the changes to entry requirements that were publicized on December 23, 2021.
“The following protocols remain in effect:
“Per the public announcement from the Guatemalan Ministry of Health, we understand that new entry requirements are proposed to go into effect on January 3, 2022, to include both a complete two-dose vaccination course (or single dose for Johnson & Johnson) AND a negative COVID-19 PCR or antigen test.
“We will provide further guidance as soon as the details are released. We encourage all persons who intend to travel to Guatemala on or after January 3, 2022, and who are vaccine-eligible, to get vaccinated so that their travel plans are not impacted by any upcoming change to Guatemala’s entry policy.”