AMERICAS Argentina / Jamaica / Panama (Security threat levels –...
Costa Rica (Security threat level – 3): On 8 February 2021, the opposition National Rescue Movement (NRM) group announced that it plans to stage protest actions, including demonstrations and roadblocks, on 15 February to denounce the government’s recent financial agreement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF). Further details regarding the anticipated protest actions have yet to emerge. Protests led by the NRM disrupted transit on major highways throughout Costa Rica for several weeks in October 2020 before the government fulfilled the demands of various regional protest groups.
Jamaica (Security threat level – 3): As of 10 February 2021, an ongoing nationwide coronavirus-related nightly curfew will begin two hours earlier at 2000 local time (0100 UTC) and last until 0500 local time. The new hours of curfew are set to be in effect until at least 24 February. The nightly curfew was previously in effect from 2200 to 0500 local time. Additionally, public gatherings are now restricted to 10 attendees from the previous allowance of up to 15 attendees. Prime Minister Andrew Holness enhanced the existing measures after authorities recorded approximately 2,000 new COVID-19 cases over the previous seven days.
United States (Security threat level – 2): Shortly before 1100 local time (1600 UTC) on 9 February 2021, a 67-year-old local man opened fire at the Allina health clinic in the town of Buffalo, Minnesota, located approximately 40 mi (65 km) northwest of the city of Minneapolis. Approximately 30 minutes after the shooting, at least one explosive device reportedly detonated inside the facility as officials were searching for additional victims. Five people were shot and wounded; one of the victims later succumbed to their wounds. Three others remain in critical but stable condition at a hospital. Police officers detained the gunman at the scene. The detainee had been angry about health care services that he received and might have been treated at the facility in the past. The man has a criminal history, most of which was due to driving while intoxicated. Law enforcement officials are currently conducting an investigation to establish a definitive motive for the attack.
Indonesia (Security threat level – 4): On 8 February 2021, authorities extended an existing entry ban for all foreign travelers until 22 February in an effort to slow the spread of COVID-19. Exemptions to the ban exist for travelers who are legal permanent residents, those from countries with reciprocal entry agreements, and anyone who receives permission from the government. Travelers must still fulfill all coronavirus-related entry requirements, such as displaying proof of results from a negative COVID-19 test taken within 72 hours prior to departure and undergo a mandatory quarantine at government-designated hotels for five days after entry.
Myanmar (Security threat level – 4): On 10 February 2021, large-scale protests against the 1 February military coup occurred in cities across Myanmar for a fifth consecutive day. Protests occurred in a number of locations in Yangon, the country’s largest city, including in front of the Chinese and Japanese embassies and a U.N. office. Several hundred protesters also marched in the vicinity of Hledan Junction Skyway, and workers of the Ministry of Electric Power took part in a countrywide civil disobedience movement against the junta regime. In Mandalay, security personnel placed roadblocks in an unsuccessful attempt to prevent protesters from gathering in the city, although multiple large-scale protests occurred. In the capital Naypyitaw, several hundred workers from multiple ministries and other state entities joined the civil disobedience movement. Military personnel raided a medical clinic located in the Thabyay Kone area, where staff members had joined the civil disobedience. Meanwhile, in the eastern Kayah state, located approximately 285 km (180 mi) northeast of Yangon, a group of uniformed police officers reportedly joined a protest march in Laikaw, the state capital. The gatherings were relatively peaceful compared to those from the previous day.
In a related development, aviation officials issued a Notice to Airmen (NOTAM) for Yangon International Airport (VYYY/RGN) due to Air Traffic Control (ATC) staff members participating in the civil disobedience, causing disruptions at the airport.
Thailand (Security threat level – 3): On 10 February 2021, police officers deployed tear gas to disperse protesters who had gathered near Pathumwan police station in the capital Bangkok. Authorities also reportedly arrested at least 10 people, although an undisclosed number were released later. Protesters gathered after four protest leaders were denied bail after previously being charged with violating the country’s strict lèse-majesté laws, which prohibit the defaming or threatening of members of the royal family.
New Zealand / Fiji / South Pacific Islands (Security threat levels – 1 / 2 / 1): At 1319 UTC on 10 February 2021, a 7.7 magnitude earthquake struck at a depth of 33 km (20 mi) southeast of New Caledonia’s Loyalty Islands province, according to the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS). There were no reports of damage or casualties in New Caledonia or elsewhere. However, the U.S. Tsunami Warning Center issued guidance indicating that tsunami waves of between 0.3 and 1 meter (1-3 ft) above tide levels are possible within three hours along coastal areas of Fiji, New Zealand and Vanuatu. Waves of less than 0.3 meters above tide levels are also possible for parts of American Samoa, Australia, French Polynesia, the Marshall Islands, Nauru, New Caledonia, Niue, Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu and Wallis and Futuna.
United Kingdom (Security threat level – 3): On 9 February 2021, the U.K. health secretary declared that all travelers arriving in England as of 15 February will be required to take two additional COVID-19 tests — on day 2 and day 8 — during their mandatory 10-day self-quarantine. A requirement to provide proof of negative results from a COVID-19 PCR test taken within 72 hours before their departure is already in place. All travelers are also required to complete and submit a Passenger Locator Form. In addition, beginning on 15 February, U.K. nationals, foreigners with residency rights in the U.K. and Irish nationals arriving from 33 countries deemed high-risk for COVID-19 — including Panama and Portugal, along with countries in South America and southern Africa — will be required to self-isolate in government-designated hotels for 10 days. Those travelers will need to purchase a quarantine package, the anticipated cost of which is less than 1,750 British pounds (nearly 2,420 U.S. dollars). Violators of the quarantine requirement could face a fine of up to 10,000 pounds or up to 10 years imprisonment. Foreign nationals who have visited or transited through the high-risk countries within the past 10 days are already prohibited from entry. Additional details regarding measures that are set to be effective as of 15 February are available here.
Meanwhile, the Scottish government will require all passengers arriving at Scottish airports from outside the Common Travel Area (U.K., Ireland, the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man) as of 15 February to self-quarantine at government-designated hotels for 10 days. Passengers will also be required to take two additional COVID-19 tests — one on day 2 and another on day 8. The cost of the quarantine is the same as in England and includes the cost of COVID-19 tests. Further information as outlined by the Scottish government is available here.
Saudi Arabia (Security threat level – 3): On 10 February 2021, authorities in Saudi Arabia announced that the Houthi rebel group in neighboring Yemen launched an attack against Abha International Airport (OEAB/AHB), which is located approximately 100 km (65 mi) northwest of the country’s border with Yemen. Reports indicate that an Airbus A-320 operated by the budget airline flyadeal caught fire during the attack, but emergency personnel extinguished the blaze. There were no reports of casualties and airport operations were not disrupted. Houthi rebels claimed responsibility for the attack, claiming that they used armed drones. Houthi officials allege that the Saudi air force is using the facility to launch airstrikes into Yemen.
Analyst Comment: Houthi rebels routinely launch armed drone and missile attacks into Saudi Arabia, including Abha International Airport. For example, in June 2019, a Houthi cruise missile attack on the arrivals hall at Abha International Airport injured 47 people. The airport facility remains vulnerable to future attacks.
Mali (Security threat level – 5) : On 10 February 2021, suspected Islamist militants launched an attack against a military base housing U.N. Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) personnel near the town of Kéréna, located in the central Mopti region. Peacekeeping soldiers at the base responded and repelled the attack, during which at least 20 peacekeepers were injured. While Islamist militant groups linked to al-Qaeda and the Islamic State frequently perpetrate such attacks, no group has thus far claimed responsibility.
Chad (Security threat level – 5): On 10 February 2021, the U.K. Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) issued updated travel advice regarding adjusted curfew hours, which reads in part as follows: “There are quarantine measures in the capital N’Djamena and provincial capitals, restricting entry and exit.
“The Government has changed the curfew hours. The curfew hours in N’Djamena and 9 provinces (Guera, Kanem, Logone Occidental, Logone Oriental, Mayo-Kebbi Ouest, Mayo-Kebbi Est, Moyen Chari, Batha and Ennedi Est) and in the districts of Mandelia, Logone-Gana and N’Djamena Farah are from 9pm to 5am. The Government has extended the health emergency, restricting movement and public gatherings throughout the country until 10 March 2021.”
Lesser Antilles (Security threat level – 1): On 9 February 2021, the U.K. Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) issued updated travel advice for St. Kitts and Nevis, which reads in part as follows: “For a period of 30 days from 7 February, travellers from the UK will not be allowed to enter St Kitts and Nevis. After the thirty-day Travel Advisory period, travellers from the UK will be required to quarantine inside their hotel room for the duration of their stay or mandatory 14-day quarantine. Whilst in quarantine, visitors will not be allowed to move freely around their hotel.”
Tanzania (Security threat level – 3): On 10 February 2021, the U.S. Embassy in Dar es Salaam issued a Health Alert regarding the country’s rising number of COVID-19 cases, which reads in part as follows: “The U.S. Embassy is aware of a significant increase in the number of COVID-19 cases since January 2021. The practice of COVID-19 mitigation and prevention measures remains limited. The Tanzanian government has not released aggregate numbers on COVID-19 cases or deaths since April 2020. Healthcare facilities in Tanzania can become quickly overwhelmed in a healthcare crisis. Limited hospital capacity throughout Tanzania could result in life-threatening delays for emergency medical care.”
The full text of the alert is available here.