December 30, 2020
30-Dec-2020

AMERICAS

Chile / Colombia (Security threat levels – 2 / 4): On 29 December 2020, Chile’s minister of health announced stricter entry requirements for inbound travelers after authorities recorded the country’s first case of the newly discovered COVID-19 variant that surfaced in the U.K. Beginning on 31 December, all arrivals to Chile must observe a 10-day quarantine after entry. Non-resident foreign nationals who have been in the U.K. within 14 days prior to arrival have been banned from entering Chile since 22 December. Direct flights between Chile and the U.K. remain suspended.

In Colombia, the mayor of Bogotá on 29 December announced new coronavirus-related restrictions in the city. The sale and consumption of alcohol in public spaces will be banned from 31 December to 2 January, including through delivery services. Additionally, festivities will be banned in public spaces, while gatherings of more than 10 people will also be prohibited.

United States (Security threat level – 2): On 29 December 2020, California state officials extended the state’s regional stay-at-home order for residents of Southern California and the San Joaquin Valley regions. The two regions have been under the stay-at-home order since 6 December, which requires closure of nonessential businesses and a ban on gatherings of people outside of their immediate households. Retail establishments, such as grocery stores and shopping centers, are allowed to operate at 20% indoor occupancy and eateries may offer takeout and delivery services only. Intensive care unit (ICU) capacity in the two regions are currently listed at zero percent, and the stay-at-home order will remain in effect until the ICU bed availability in those regions increases to at least 15%. Additional information regarding the regional stay-at-home order is available here.

ASIA

Philippines / India / Thailand (Security threat levels – 4 / 3 / 3): On 30 December 2020, Philippine authorities announced that a lockdown will go into effect in Sulu province from 4-17 January 2021, in an effort to stop the spread of COVID-19. Under the new measures, only members of the military, police and healthcare workers may enter the province after receiving authorization and must present a negative COVID-19 PCR test taken within five days before entry. Cargo transport will be exempt and crew of cargo ships arriving in Sulu will be subject to COVID-19 precautions as set by the Sulu Task Force on COVID-19. In India, on 30 December officials in Maharashtra state extended coronavirus-related restrictions through 31 January 2021. The restrictions include a ban on gatherings of more than five people from 2300-0600 local time (1730-0030 UTC) nightly until 5 January.

In Thailand, on 29 December authorities in Rayong province ordered nonessential businesses — such as entertainment venues, beauty salons, gyms and amusement parks — to close until further notice due to an outbreak of COVID-19. Only grocery stores, pharmacies, banks, convenience stores, restaurants and government offices may remain open. The Muang, Ban Chang, Nikhom Pattana, Ban Khai and Klaeng districts are also now classified as “maximum control zones,” while the province’s remaining districts are considered “maximum surveillance zones.”

EUROPE

Spain (Security threat level – 3): On 29 December 2020, police officers dismantled an international arms trafficking ring in the Costa del Sol region of Málaga province. Authorities raided three locations and seized 160 firearms, approximately 10,000 rounds of ammunition and 1.5 kg (3.3 lbs) of explosives. In addition to the weapons, authorities seized a warehouse filled with Nazi memorabilia. Authorities arrested two German nationals and one U.K. national in the operation and charged them with arms and drug trafficking, as well as falsifying official documents. According to police officials, the group acquired weapons from Eastern Europe and sold them to drug trafficking gangs in Costa del Sol and Campo de Gibraltar.

MIDDLE EAST AND NORTH AFRICA

Yemen (Security threat level – 5): On 30 December 2020, a large-scale blast occurred at Aden International Airport (OYAA/ADE) as ministers of the new government of Yemen were disembarking from an aircraft that had just arrived at the facility from Riyadh, Saudi Arabia’s capital. While the cause of the blast is unclear, reports indicate three projectiles landed on the arrival hall, causing significant damage. Yemen’s communication minister, who was on board the aircraft, suggested that explosives-laden drones were the source of the explosion; however, footage from the scene indicates ballistic missiles may have been used. At least 16 people were killed in the blast and 60 others were wounded; the death toll may rise. However, all Cabinet ministers escaped unharmed. The Yemeni government has blamed Houthi rebels for the attack, although there are reports that the militant group has denied its involvement. Following the attack, Yemen Airways announced that its flights were being diverted to Hadhramaut’s Seiyun Airport (OYSY/GXF).

Analyst Comment: Yemeni authorities formed a new unity government on 18 December, which brings together officials from the internationally recognized government and southern separatists in an effort to form a unified effort against Houthi militants based in northern Yemen. Considering the timing of the attack, it is highly likely that officials with Yemen’s newly formed government were the primary target of the attack. Aden International Airport is currently the only operational facility in Yemen and provides key access to foreign entities operating in the country. Attacks on the airport are not common due to heightened security measures at the facility.

GOVERNMENT WARNINGS

Bangladesh (Security threat level – 4): On 29 December 2020, the U.K. Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) issued updated travel advice regarding entry requirements, which reads in part as follows: “Following the identification of a new variant of COVID-19 in the UK, those arriving from the UK from 1 January to 15 January 2021 are required to complete 14 days of quarantine at a government facility. Passengers will also have the option of quarantining in designated hotels under government supervision. The costs of this option will need to be met by passengers.”

Lesser Antilles (Security threat level – 1): On 30 December 2020, the U.K. Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) issued updated travel advice for St. Vincent and the Grenadines, which reads in part as follows: “The SVG Prime Minister reported on 29 December 2020 that La Soufriere volcano on St Vincent was in an active state of effusive eruption. It is unknown when or whether there will be also an explosive eruption but the authorities and experts are monitoring closely. Residents in St Vincent from the town of Georgetown upwards have been placed on evacuation alert and public visits to the volcano are no longer allowed. Travelers should heed the advice of local authorities.”