February 15, 2021
15-Feb-2021

AMERICAS

Haiti (Security threat level – 4): On 14 February 2021, security forces deployed tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse thousands of protesters outside the offices of the U.N. and the Organization of American States (OAS), located in the southern Pétion-Ville neighborhood of the capital Port-au-Prince. The demonstrators, who gathered to protest international support for incumbent President Jovenel Moise, threw rocks at security personnel, set fire to a gas station and a private vehicle in the area and erected blockades in nearby districts. At least one protester was killed and several others suffered injuries during the altercation, including journalists and police officers.

Mexico (Security threat level – 4): As of the late morning hours of 15 February 2021, a power outage is currently affecting at least 400,000 residents in the states of Chihuahua, Coahuila, Nuevo León and Tamaulipas, including areas in the Monterrey metropolitan area. Residents of Nuevo León reported outages beginning at 0800 local time (1400 UTC) in several municipalities, including Apodaca, Escobedo and San Nicolás. Heavy snowfall has been reported in the northern half of Chihuahua state, with damage reported in Camargo, Chihuahua, Ciudad Juárez, Cuauhtémoc, and Delicias. The National Energy Control Center (Cenace) has stated that the blackouts are due to the cold front affecting northern Mexico, as well as a lack of natural gas supply, and have asked residents not currently affected by the outages to limit electricity use.

United States (Security threat level – 2): On 15 February 2021, a major winter storm is affecting a large portion of the southern United States, causing significant travel disruptions and power outages. Nearly 3,000 flights have been canceled countrywide; most of those cancellations were at airports in the state of Texas, particularly at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport (KDFW/DFW) and Houston’s George Bush Intercontinental Airport (KIAH/IAH). Additionally, more than 2.6 million homes and businesses in the state are currently without electricity due to rotating power outages. Local officials have urged residents to stay indoors and avoid ground travel during the freezing weather, which is forecast to continue through 16 February.

ASIA

Japan (Security threat level – 1): At 2307 local time (1407 UTC) on 13 February 2021, a 7.0 magnitude earthquake struck off the coast of Fukushima prefecture, approximately 90 km (55 mi) east-northeast of Namie, at a depth of 54 km, according to the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS). Moderate shaking was felt in several regions, including in the Tokyo metropolitan area located more than 300 km from the epicenter. While the USGS rated the earthquake as a 7.0 magnitude event, the Japanese meteorological agency stated that it was a 7.3 magnitude earthquake. At least 12 aftershocks occurred after the initial quake and meteorological agencies warned that additional aftershocks may continue throughout the coming week. Following the quake, a landslide occurred on the Joban Expressway in Soma, prompting authorities to halt traffic along several major highways and to suspend several public transportation networks in the vicinity of Tokyo and throughout the Fukushima prefecture to check for damage.

As of the latest reports, all airports in the affected areas remain open and are operating normally. The quake caused minor damage across the Fukushima prefecture and resulted in power outages for at least 1 million residents in the Tokyo metropolitan area and surrounding prefectures. According to electricity provider TEPCO, power across affected prefectures was mostly restored within several hours. Water outages occurred on a smaller scale, but those utilities were also restored within several hours. At least 74 people were injured — mostly in Fukushima, Ibaraki and Miyagi prefectures — but there have thus far been no confirmed fatalities. The Nuclear Regulation Authority reported that it detected no abnormalities at its facilities, but a senior Cabinet official reported that the government shut down several offshore thermal power plants. Officials opened at least 86 evacuation centers in the Miyagi prefecture. Authorities did not issue a tsunami warning.

Myanmar (Security threat level – 4): During 13-15 February 2021, large-scale protests continued nationwide amid an increased presence of military and security forces. On 15 February, in the capital Naypyitaw, hundreds of civil servants participated in a “Civil Disobedience Movement” (CDM) protest. Security forces arrested approximately 20 student demonstrators near the Thapyegone roundabout. In Yangon, hundreds of protesters rallied outside the Yangon branch of the Central Bank of Myanmar in an effort to persuade bank employees to join the CDM. In response, military personnel deployed at least 12 vehicles to the front of the bank. Additionally, security forces reportedly attempted to enter the National League for Democracy (NLD) headquarters in Yangon to arrest senior NLD leaders and blocked a large group of protesters from entering the immediate area surrounding the building. As more demonstrators arrived, security personnel left without entering the building. In Mandalay, security forces fired rubber bullets and used slingshots to disperse approximately 1,000 protesters who were gathered outside the Myanmar Economic Bank. Reports indicate that several protesters suffered injuries. In related developments, authorities blocked internet access nationwide during 0100-0900 local time (1830-0230 UTC).

On 14 February multiple demonstrations occurred in Yangon, including outside the U.S. Embassy and in the Bahan district. Additionally, the military junta suspended several laws until further notice that limit the ability of security forces to search homes and arrest individuals without warrants. During the previous day, in Yangon, several hundred youth protesters demonstrated in the area of Hledan Junction Skyway and approximately 200 nurses participated in a CDM protest outside the Yangon Public Hospital. Additional protests occurred in the Myay Ni Gone area and Sule Pagoda in downtown Yangon.

AUSTRALASIA

New Zealand (Security threat level – 1): As of 15 February 2021, the city of Auckland is under COVID-19 Alert Level 3 – the third highest on a four-tier scale – until 17 February, while the rest of country is under Alert Level 2 for the same period. Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced the measures on 14 February in response to new locally transmitted COVID-19 cases. Additional details regarding requirements for each level are available here.

MIDDLE EAST AND NORTH AFRICA

Iraq (Security threat level – 5): On 13 February 2021, the government announced plans to impose a partial nightly curfew during 2000-0500 local time (1700-0200 UTC) beginning on 18 February. The curfew — which was prompted by a spike in confirmed COVID-19 cases — is expected to remain in place for two weeks. In addition to the curfew, the government also announced that it will close all mosques and ban all private parties.

SUB-SAHARAN AFRICA

Somalia (Security threat level – 5): On 13 February 2021, a vehicle-borne improvised explosive device (VBIED) detonated near the Green Zone in central Mogadishu, the capital. The explosion occurred in the vicinity of Sayidka junction after security forces opened fire on the vehicle as it attempted to breach a security checkpoint. At least three people were killed in the explosion and eight others suffered injuries Surrounding buildings sustained significant damage. While no group has claimed responsibility for the attack, it is consistent with similar attacks by the militant group al-Shabab.

GOVERNMENT WARNINGS

Canada (Security threat level – 2): On 12 February 2021, the U.S. mission in Canada issued a message regarding new COVID-19 testing and quarantine requirements to enter Canada, which reads in part as follows: “The Government of Canada announced new COVID-19 testing and quarantine requirements affecting land and air travel to Canada. These changes are summarized as follows:

Land Border:

  • Effective February 15, 2021, travelers arriving to Canada by land will be required to provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test result taken in the United States within 72 hours of arrival. This requirement extends to Canadian right of entry populations.
  • Essential travelers (truckers, nurses, power crews, members of cross-border communities) will not be required to provide a negative test.
  • Effective February 22, 2021, travelers entering Canada by land will also be required to take a COVID-19 test on arrival and at the end of their 14-day quarantine period.
  • View additional information on these requirements at this website.

Air Travel:

  • In addition to providing a negative COVID-19 test within 72 hours of arrival, as of February 22, 2021, air travelers will be required to take a COVID-19 molecular test when they arrive in Canada before exiting the airport, and another toward the end of their 14-day quarantine period.
  • As part of this new policy, travelers will be required to reserve a 3-night stay in a government-authorized hotel prior to their departure to Canada. Travelers will be required to stay at their reserved hotel for up to 3 nights, at their own cost, while they await the results of their arrival test. Those who test positive must finish their 14-day quarantine in a Canadian government-designated facility.
  • View additional information on these requirements at this website.

Mandatory Use of ArriveCAN App:

  • Effective February 22, 2021, all travelers arriving by land will be required to submit their travel and contact information, including a quarantine plan, electronically via ArriveCAN before crossing the border. All travelers arriving to Canada must also continue to electronically submit daily COVID-related information throughout their quarantine period. Use of ArriveCan by air travelers remains mandatory.

“Rules and procedures can change quickly. Please review the official Canadian Government website for current guidance when considering travel to, from, or within Canada: COVID-19 Travel, quarantine, and borders. ”

Myanmar (Security threat level – 4): On 15 February 2021, the U.S. Embassy in Yangon issued an Alert regarding the authorized departure of non-emergency staff, which reads in part as follows: “Event: Authorized Voluntary Departure of Non-Emergency U.S. Government Employees and Their Family Members from U.S. Embassy Rangoon

“On February 14, the U.S. Department of State authorized the voluntary departure of non-emergency U.S. government employees and their family members from Burma. The U.S. Embassy in Burma reminds all U.S. citizens of the heightened potential for violence, continued telecommunications restrictions, and limited flights out of Burma. The U.S. Embassy in Rangoon remains open.

“On February 12, the U.S. Department of State updated its Travel Advisory to Level 4 (Do Not Travel) due to COVID-19 and areas of civil unrest and armed conflict. The Burmese military has detained and deposed elected government officials. Nation-wide protests and demonstrations against military rule have occurred and may continue.”

The full text of the alert is available here.

Portugal (Security threat level – 2): On 12 February 2021, the U.K. Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) issued updated travel advice for Portugal regarding restrictions over the Carnival period in Madeira and Porto Santo, which reads in part as follows: “From 15 to 19 February, you are required to stay at home from 6pm to 5am the following morning, unless you need emergency medical treatment or are an essential worker.

“Shops and other commercial premises, except for pharmacies, health centres and petrol stations, will close at 5pm. Restaurants can remain open until 10pm for food delivery services only.”