AMERICAS Argentina / Jamaica / Panama (Security threat levels –...
Peru (Security threat level – 3): As of 4 December 2020, farmworkers continue to stage demonstrations for a fourth consecutive day in several areas of Peru to demand improved health benefits and higher wages. In Ica province’s Villacuri town, located approximately 280 km (170 mi) southeast of the capital Lima, demonstrators have maintained blockades on the Pan-American Highway since 30 November. The blockades have halted the transit of hundreds of long-distance truck drivers and commuters, backing up traffic nearly 15 km on the highway. Police officers have not yet intervened to clear the roadblocks. Travelers should expect significant delays near the blockades and should take alternate routes if possible. Elsewhere in Peru, protesting farmworkers also caused disruptions in the northern department of La Libertad and are expected to continue their demonstrations on 4 December.
Puerto Rico (Security threat level – 2): On 3 December 2020, authorities announced that tighter coronavirus-related restrictions will be in place from 7 December to 7 January due to a rising number of COVID-19 cases in Puerto Rico. During the time period, businesses must close by 2030 local time (0030 UTC), and a nightly curfew will be imposed from 2100 to 0500 local time. Exemptions are in place for those who work in essential services or food delivery. Beaches will be closed to everyone, with exceptions for individuals who are exercising.
United States (Security threat level – 2): On 3 December 2020, the governor of California announced that a new stay-at-home order will be implemented in regions where intensive care unit (ICU) capacity drops below 15% amid a notable surge in COVID-19 cases. The order divides the state into five regions: Northern California, Bay Area, Greater Sacramento, San Joaquin Valley and Southern California. While none of the regions currently meet the threshold, the governor stated that all regions, except the Bay Area, are anticipated to reach an ICU capacity below 15% in the next week; the Bay Area is expected to reach that point by mid-December. Once the regions meet the threshold, the stay-at-home order would go into effect for 21 days, requiring nonessential businesses to shut down and prohibiting all gatherings. Retail establishments, such as grocery stores and shopping centers, would be allowed to operate at 20% indoor occupancy and eateries may offer takeout and delivery services only. Further information regarding the regional stay-at-home order as outlined by the California state government is available here.
In Delaware, officials issued a stay-at-home advisory, urging residents to avoid gathering indoors with members of other households. The advisory, which goes into effect on 14 December and lasts through 14 January, provides exemptions for individuals in workplaces and those traveling to and from work. Additionally, officials issued a mask mandate, requiring residents to wear cloth face coverings in all indoor settings with people from outside their immediate household; a requirement to wear such coverings in public spaces — where physical distancing is not possible — has been in effect in Delaware since 28 April.
India (Security threat level – 3): As of 0900 UTC on 4 December 2020, Tropical Cyclone Burevi was located approximately 270 km (170 mi) east-southeast of the city of Cochin, India, and was moving west-northwest at 4 kph (2 mph), according to the U.S. Joint Typhoon Warning Center. At that time, Burevi had decelerated significantly and was generating maximum sustained winds of 65 kph, with gusts of up to 83 kph. On its current path, the cyclone is expected to remain at its current strength before making landfall near or over the city of Sayalgudi in Tamil Nadu state during the late afternoon or early evening hours of 4 December. Burevi is then expected to continue moving westward over Tamil Nadu and Kerala states — passing near the coastal city of Kollam — before entering the Laccadive Sea on the morning of 6 December, where it is forecast to affect portions of the Lakshadweep archipelago.
While the red alert remains in place in the state of Tamil Nadu, authorities in Kerala state annulled the red alert and issued a yellow alert for 10 districts, as the storm is forecast to weaken into a depression when it passes over Kerala. Additionally, Kerala’s Trivandrum International Airport (VOTV/TRV) resumed operations at 1600 local time (1030 UTC). Rainfall of between 90 and 200 mm (4-8 in) is in the forecast for portions of Andhra Pradesh, Kerala and Tamil Nadu states through 5 December, which will likely cause flooding and landslides in the region. Thus far, there have been at least three storm-related fatalities in Tamil Nadu’s Thanjavur district.
Indonesia (Security threat level – 4) : As of 4 December 2020, search and rescue efforts are ongoing in Medan, the provincial capital of North Sumatra, following significant flooding caused by heavy rainfall that started on the evening of 3 December. Emergency personnel evacuated at least 181 people and transported them to temporary shelters on 4 December after floodwaters reached up to 5 m (16 ft) high in several areas of the city. The heavy rainfall prompted four rivers to overflow, inundating a total of 2,773 homes and businesses in the city. According to a government official, five people were killed due to the flooding in a village in the Deliserdang district, located on the outskirts of Medan. The fatality toll could rise as emergency crews continue their search operations.
South Korea (Security threat level – 2): On 4 December 2020, officials in the capital Seoul announced a series of coronavirus-related restrictions on businesses and public transportation, effective 5 December. The restrictions, set to remain in effect at least through 19 December, require most nonessential businesses — including arcades, barber shops and salons, department and large grocery stores, internet cafes, private schools and theaters — to close from 2100-0500 local time (1200-2000 UTC) nightly. Small shops and grocery stores may remain open as may restaurants operating takeout and delivery services. In addition, public transportation operations will be reduced by 30% of current schedule after 2100 local time; buses will start operating according to the reduced schedule on 5 December followed by subways on 8 December. Additional restrictions remain in place in Seoul on indoor public venues, such as cafes and gyms, as well as Level 2 social distancing measures.
Israel / Azerbaijan / Georgia / Iran / Iraq / Bahrain / United Arab Emirates (Security threat levels – 3 / 4 / 3 / 3 / 5 / 3 / 2): On 3 December 2020, Israeli national security officials warned of potential terrorist attacks targeting Israeli nationals and interests abroad in retaliation for the assassination of an Iranian nuclear scientist, which Iranian officials attributed to Israel. In particular, Israeli officials warned that Israeli nationals and interests in Georgia, Azerbaijan, Turkey, the Kurdistan region of Iraq, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain are likely targets for an attack.
Lebanon / Palestinian Territories (Security threat levels – 4 / 4): On 3 December 2020, Lebanese authorities extended the coronavirus-related nationwide health state of emergency — known as the general mobilization — until at least 31 March 2021. A nationwide nightly curfew is in effect from 2300-0500 local time (2100-0300 UTC), and businesses must close by 2200 local time, including restaurants and recreational facilities — which may operate at 50% capacity or below. All social gatherings are prohibited, the wearing of a face mask is mandatory in all public spaces and social distancing regulations remain in force. Additional restrictions may be implemented with little advance notice.
In the Palestinian territories, President Mahmoud Abbas extended the state of emergency imposed to contain the spread of COVID-19 in the West Bank until at least 3 January 2021. The state of emergency has been in effect since 5 March and was set to expire on 3 December before being extended. A nightly curfew from 1900-0600 local time (1700-0400 UTC) remains in place in the West Bank until at least 11 December. Meanwhile, Hamas announced a series of restrictions in the Gaza Strip beginning on 5 December. From that date, the ongoing nightly curfew will be extended and run from 1800-0800 local time; it is currently in effect from 2000-0700 local time. All nonessential businesses must close by 1800 local time and residents must be indoors by 1830 local time. As of 11 December, a 24-hour curfew will be imposed in the Gaza Strip on Fridays and Saturdays through the end of the month.
South Africa (Security threat level – 4): On 3 December 2020, authorities increased coronavirus-related restrictions throughout the Eastern Cape province, citing high numbers of confirmed cases. Under the new measures, a nightly curfew within the eastern Nelson Mandela Bay area — the largest municipality in the province — will be in place from 2200 to 0400 local time (2000 to 0200 UTC). Additionally, indoor gatherings are limited to 100 people and alcohol consumption in public is prohibited. According to South Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa, the area has been declared a coronavirus hot spot and additional measures will be implemented as needed.
France (Security threat level – 3): On 4 December 2020, the U.S. Embassy in Paris issued a Demonstration Alert regarding protests planned for 5 December in major cities, which reads in part as follows:
“Event: Demonstrations expected to take place on Saturday, December 5 beginning at 11:00 (Rennes), 2:00 (Paris, Strasbourg), 2:30 (Marseille), and 3:00 (Lyon, Bordeaux). The groups intend to protest the new security law. Additional demonstrations in other cities in France may also be planned.
“Similar demonstrations in Paris turned violent last weekend. In case of violence or property damage, French authorities may use chemical agents and water cannons to disperse crowds.”
The full text of the alert is available here.
Nepal (Security threat level – 3): On 4 December 2020, the U.S. Embassy in Kathmandu issued a Demonstration Alert regarding a planned protest in the city, which reads in part as follows:
“Location: Maitighar Mandala Area, Kathmandu District, Nepal
“Event: The Regional Security Office of U.S. Embassy Kathmandu has been made aware of a large political protest of more than several thousand people planned in Maitighar Mandala in Kathmandu at 11:00 a.m. on Saturday, December 5. There is a significant potential for civil disorder and conflict between protestors and Government of Nepal security forces both within the immediate area of Maitighar Mandala and the rest of Kathmandu. There is also a significant potential for sudden road closures which could disrupt movements throughout the city.
“All individuals and organizations are strongly advised to avoid Maitighar Mandala in Kathmandu and surrounding areas this weekend. You should make every effort to remain in your residence this weekend. However, should you find yourself in a large crowd or unexpected protest, you should attempt to depart the area immediately. If you are unable to leave this area during the protest, please immediately find a safe place to shelter. Crowds such as this one can be highly dynamic and shift direction with little notice.
“You are encouraged to exercise caution when engaged in activities or operations in and around this area, the northern half of Kathmandu and Lalitpur. Individuals and organizations should be vigilant when securing property and equipment after hours. Should any individual or organization notice a suspicious item or indications of tampering, they are encouraged to notify their nearest Nepal Police office.”
Niger (Security threat level – 5): On 3 December 2020, the U.S. Embassy in Niamey issued a Security Alert regarding the threat of kidnapping, which reads in part as follows:
“Event: U.S. Embassy Niamey reminds U.S. citizens that the threat of kidnapping in Niger remains a significant concern. Recently, extremist groups have made threats to kidnap or attack members of the international community in Niamey, or its surrounding area, and to ambush convoys of Westerners outside of Niamey. In late October, apparent criminal elements with potential ties to extremist groups abducted a foreign national in Tahoua Region in southwestern Niger. There is no further information as to timing, targets, or methods, as of this time.
“The U.S. Embassy reminds U.S. citizens in Niger to review personal security plans, maintain awareness of one’s surroundings, and always have a form of communication on you, such as a radio and/or cell phone.”
The full text of the alert is available here.