AMERICAS Ecuador (Security threat level – 3): On the evening...
Barbados (Security threat level – 1): On 18 February 2021, authorities imposed a weekend lockdown from 1900 local time (2300 UTC) on 19 February until 0600 local time on 22 February in an effort to curb the spread of COVID-19. During the lockdown, residents will be required to remain in their homes. Only essential workers, those with an official government-authorized pass and those seeking medical attention will be exempt from the order. Additionally, travelers departing the country on scheduled flights will be exempt from the order while traveling to Grantley Adams International Airport (TBPB/BGI).
United States (Security threat level – 2): On the morning of 19 February 2021, officials at Memphis International Airport (KMEM/MEM), located in the U.S. state of Tennessee, suspended all inbound and outbound commercial passenger flights for the day due to low water pressure. Cargo aircraft continue to operate normally. Airport officials have stated that passenger flights will resume operations when water pressure at the facility returns to an acceptable level. However, there is currently no estimated timeline for the restoration of water supply at the airport.
Myanmar (Security threat level – 4): On 19 February 2021, anti-coup demonstrations continued nationwide amid a significant security force presence. In Yangon, hundreds of protesters marched from Kyimyindaing township to areas in downtown Yangon, including the Hledan Junction Skyway and Myaynigone overpass. Dozens of protesters also gathered outside the embassies of Brunei, the U.K. and China. Meanwhile, thousands protested at the Sule Pagoda despite security forces erecting barricades throughout the area. In Myitkyina, the capital of Kachin state, security forces used baton charges to disperse demonstrators; reports indicate security forces also arrested at least 14 people. Furthermore, for a fifth consecutive night authorities restricted internet access during 0100-0900 local time (1830-0230 UTC). In related developments, a protester shot by police officers in the capital Naypyitaw on 9 February died from her wounds on 19 February. The woman is the first protest-related death since demonstrations began on 5 February.
Spain (Security threat level – 3): On 18 February 2021, demonstrators gathered in several cities for a third consecutive night to demand the release of an imprisoned rap artist. Authorities arrested the entertainer on 16 February for “insulting the monarchy and glorifying terrorism.” In the downtown area of Barcelona, the capital of the northeastern Catalonia region, demonstrators threw stones, bottles and fireworks at police officers near the intersections of Calle Mallorca and Bailèn, as well as Passeig de Sant Joan and Calle Diputacion. At least one police officer was injured after being hit by stones. Protesters erected burning barricades in at least five locations, including near the intersection of Aragon and Bailen streets, and also vandalized the offices of a local newspaper. In the city center of Valencia, police officers cordoned off an area and used batons on protesters who threw stones at the officers. At least one person was injured in the clashes. Security personnel arrested eight demonstrators. Additional protests occurred in the cities of Sabadell and Tarragona.
The Sindicat d’Estudiants dels Països Catalan, a student union, has called for a university strike and associated demonstrations on 19 February in the cities of Barcelona, Girona, Lleida and Tarragona to show support for the detained performer.
United Kingdom (Security threat level – 3): On 18 February 2021, officials in Northern Ireland extended the nationwide lockdown until 1 April in a sustained effort to curb the spread of COVID-19. During the lockdown, which was already set to be in effect until 5 March, residents are legally required to stay indoors except for essential reasons, such as procuring food and medicine, traveling to work and school, or seeking medical care. Indoor gatherings of persons from separate households are prohibited. While outdoor gatherings of up to six people from two households are currently allowed, this restriction will be relaxed as of 8 March, permitting up to 10 people from two households to gather in outdoor settings. Social events, such as weddings and funerals, will remain subject to a limit of up to 25 people. Nonessential businesses are required to shut down; however, select retail establishments, including clothing and electrical equipment shops, will be allowed to offer pick-up services beginning on 8 March. Hospitality businesses, including cafes and restaurants, may operate takeout and delivery services only. A periodic review of the measures, initially enacted on 26 December 2020, is scheduled to take place on 18 March. Health officials are concerned regarding a probable rise of COVID-19 infections during the upcoming Mother’s Day holiday on 14 March and St. Patrick’s Day on 17 March. Northern Ireland’s government maintains a database with detailed information regarding restrictions in the territory, which is available here.
Cabo Verde (Security threat level – 2): On 19 February 2021, the government extended the existing state of calamity on São Vicente island for an additional 30 days due to the rate of confirmed COVID-19 cases. Under the measure — which was initially imposed on 15 January — many nonessential establishments must close or operate on restricted hours, public transportation occupancy is restricted to 50% and residents are required to abide by social distancing measures in public and private locations. All other islands are currently under a state of contingency.
Democratic Republic Of The Congo (Security threat level – 4): On 19 February 2021, police officers fired tear gas to disperse dozens of protesters who had gathered near the Rwandan Embassy in Kinshasa, the capital. Police officers arrested several protesters, but there were no reports of significant injuries. Supporters of the Engagement for Citizenship and Development party organized the demonstration, demanding that the Rwandan ambassador to the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) leave the country. Protesters allege that the ambassador made derogatory comments about the leader of the party.
Gabon (Security threat level – 3): On 18 February 2021, protesters in the capital Libreville and in Port Gentil — the two largest cities in Gabon — gathered for a second consecutive night to protest current COVID-19 restrictions, despite a nationwide nightly curfew that is currently in place. Security forces fired tear gas and stun grenades in several neighborhoods to disperse demonstrators who had erected barricades of burning tires and other debris. Currently, travel in and out of Libreville is restricted and a nationwide nightly curfew is in effect during 1800-0600 local time (1700-0500 UTC). Opponents of the curfew claim that it is untenable for most individuals due to work and school hours along with traffic constraints.
Somalia (Security threat level – 5): Beginning in the early hours of 19 February 2021, significant clashes took place across the capital Mogadishu, prompting the cancellation of all flights at Aden Adde International Airport (HCMM/MGQ). At approximately 0115 local time on 19 February (2215 UTC on 18 February), government forces clashed with personal security guards of two former presidents at the Maida hotel near Daljirka Dahson Square in central Mogadishu. There were no initial reports of casualties following the incident. The clashes occurred ahead of a planned political rally despite a government ban on all public gatherings due to an increase in confirmed COVID-19 cases in the country.
In spite of this ban, opposition leaders held a planned political rally at Daljirka Dahson Square later in the day to call for President Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed to resign, as well as to protest the delay of national elections. Security forces fired live ammunition to disperse the demonstration, which was led by former Prime Minister Hassan Khaire and other major opposition figures. The protesters were marching along Airport Road to Daljirka Dahson Square when security forces opened fire. Unverified reports indicate that the gunfire lasted for approximately 30 minutes. Additionally, a rocket-propelled grenade reportedly detonated along a row of shops near the airport entrance. While potential casualty figures remain unknown, local sources indicate that multiple ambulances were seen entering the area. Unconfirmed reports also indicate that internet access is currently disrupted in Mogadishu and throughout southern Somalia for unknown reasons.
As clashes ensued, four mortar rounds struck a building at Aden Adde International Airport, causing significant damage to a building located near the entrance of the facility and injuring at least three people. The group responsible for the attack remains unknown, but former Prime Minister Khaire alleged that the shells were fired at protesters and landed inside the airport perimeter. Airport officials canceled all inbound and outbound flights at the airport due to the attack.
Cyprus (Security threat level – 2): On 19 February 2021, the U.S. Embassy in Nicosia issued a Demonstration Alert, which reads in part as follows: “A demonstration is expected on Saturday, February 20, at Kolokasi Park in Nicosia. Several organizations are coordinating and supporting the demonstration to protest government issued COVID-19 lockdown measures and police brutality. The demonstration is scheduled to start at 16:00 and is expected to draw between 1,000 and 3,000 demonstrators. Police will be present and monitoring the event.
“All U.S. citizens are advised to avoid areas located near Kolokasi Park on Saturday afternoon. U.S. citizens are also advised that, under current COVID-19 restrictions, demonstrations, and the participation in demonstrations, is prohibited.”
Iraq (Security threat level – 5): On 18 February 2021, the U.K. Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) issued an update to its travel advice for Iraq, which reads in part as follows: “The Government of Iraq announced a curfew in response to rising coronavirus cases from 18 February. There will be a total curfew on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays alongside a partial curfew from 2000hrs – 0500hrs Mondays to Thursdays. The curfew will be in place until 8 March. This curfew does not affect the Kurdistan Region of Iraq.”
Pakistan (Security threat level – 5): On 19 February 2021, the U.S. Consulate General in Karachi issued a Security Alert regarding an upcoming cricket match in Karachi, which reads in part as follows: “Location: Karachi, Sindh
“Event: The sixth edition of the Pakistan Super League (February 20 – March 7, 2021)
“The sixth edition of the Pakistan Super League (PSL 6) will be held from February 20 to March 7 in Karachi at National Stadium. There will be heightened security arrangements made by police involving large inner-city deployments and pop-up road closures. Routes surrounding National Stadium are expected to be completely cordoned off.
“Demonstrations, political rallies, sporting events, or large religious gatherings intended to be peaceful could possibly escalate into violence. U.S. citizens should avoid areas where large crowds of any kind gather. U.S. Embassy and Consulate personnel are routinely instructed to avoid areas of any demonstration. During demonstrations or periods of civil unrest, the Pakistani government has in the past disabled cellular telephone and internet services, making it difficult for individuals to contact each other or the U.S. Embassy or Consulates.
“The Department of State reminds all U.S. citizens to be aware of their surroundings, particularly around public markets, restaurants, government and military institutions, and other locations that attract large gatherings.
“Areas to avoid:
“Hassan Square Flyover/Expo Center Turning (Sir Shah Suleman Road)
“Millennium (Rashid Minhas Road)
“New Town Chowrangi (University Road)”