ASIA China (Security threat level – 3): On 23 November...
United States (Security threat level – 2): On 4 February 2022, a severe winter storm is affecting a number of midwestern and southern states in the U.S. for a second consecutive day. The storm is forecast to produce heavy snow and freezing rain in the northeastern states as it pushes through the region during the evening hours of 4 February. Approximately 350,000 homes and businesses have experienced power outages, including in the states of Arkansas, Kentucky, Mississippi, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee and Texas. Ground travel disruptions and flight cancellations have continued since the previous day; reports suggest that more than 9,000 flights scheduled to operate at U.S. airports from 3-4 February were canceled. Texas’ Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport (KDFW/DFW), where about 700 passengers were stranded overnight on 3-4 February, continues to experience severe flight disruptions. In other weather-related developments, on 3 February a tornado struck the town of Sawyerville, located in Alabama’s Hale County, damaging several homes and businesses. At least one person was killed and three more were injured due to the tornado.
Philippines (Security threat level – 4): Government officials have announced that tourists will be permitted to enter the Philippines as of 10 February 2022. Travelers are no longer required to quarantine after arrival if they provide proof of full vaccination against COVID-19 and a negative PCR test taken at a maximum of 48 hours prior to departure. However, partially vaccinated and unvaccinated tourists will be required to quarantine for a 14-day period, the first five days of which will be observed at a government-approved health care facility followed by self-isolation at a residence or hotel if travelers receive negative results on a PCR test taken on the fifth day. Additionally, on 1 February authorities annulled color-coded lists for countries based on risk of COVID-19 transmission, which determined entry requirements for inbound travelers.
New Zealand (Security threat level – 1): On 3 February 2022, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced a multi-phase plan to reopen borders and end the 10-day coronavirus-related quarantine requirement for inbound travelers. As of 27 February, vaccinated New Zealand nationals traveling from Australia will be permitted to enter New Zealand and may self-isolate for 10 days at a residence, instead of the currently required government-supervised quarantine for the same period. Secondly, as of 12 March, some foreign nationals, such as skilled workers, will be permitted to enter New Zealand if they provide proof of vaccination and self-isolate for a 10-day period after arrival. In the third phase, up to 5,000 international students will be allowed to enter New Zealand beginning on 12 April. The prime minister stated that the border reopening will be implemented in stages to slow the transmission of COVID-19 and that New Zealand’s borders may fully reopen for tourism in October.
Madagascar / South Africa (Security threat levels – 3 / 4): As of 0300 UTC on 4 February 2022, Tropical Cyclone Batsirai was located approximately 190 km (120 mi) northwest of Saint-Denis, the capital of the French overseas department of Reunion. According to the U.S. Joint Typhoon Warning Center, the cyclone was traveling west at 11 kph (7 mph), with maximum sustained winds of 194 kph and gusts of up to 240 kph. Batsirai is expected to make landfall near the eastern coast of Madagascar on 5 February, with wind gusts as high as 62 kph. It is forecast to produce approximately 200-400 mm (8-16 in) of rain in the coastal areas of the country, including in Antsirabe city.
In Madagascar, anticipated effects of the cyclone prompted authorities to close all schools on 5 February. Authorities also advised residents in eastern Madagascar to evacuate to higher ground. Additionally, South African authorities closed several beaches in the municipalities of eThekwini and KwaDukuza, including in Durban and nearby Umhlanga Rocks, in anticipation of strong winds and rainfall.
In related developments, the storm passed through the island of Reunion on 3 February. Authorities lifted the “red alert,” the second highest alert level for cyclones on a four-tier scale, permitting residents to leave their homes. Additionally, an oil tanker ran aground with 11 crew members on board; emergency services rescued the stranded crew members. Many residents also experienced widespread power and water outages, but there have been no reports of significant casualties or damage. Many transportation routes remain closed until further notice; however, Roland Garros Airport (FMEE/RUN) has resumed operations.
Burkina Faso (Security threat level – 4): On 3 February 2022, the U.S. Embassy in Ouagadougou issued a Demonstration Alert, which reads in part as follows: “Demonstrations are expected to take place in Ouagadougou, on February 5, 2022 in support of the new Government of Burkina Faso. The demonstrations, hailed as “The Grand March,” are expected to begin at 8:00 am with no planned end time, and may occur throughout Ouagadougou. Counter-protests may also spontaneously develop at other locations in Ouagadougou throughout the weekend.
“Counter-new Government of Burkina Faso protests in Bobo-Dioulasso are also expected to occur on February 4 and February 5.”
The full text of the alert is available here.
Kazakhstan (Security threat level – 4): On 4 February 2022, the U.S. Consulate General in Almaty issued a Demonstration Alert, which reads in part as follows: “Location: Monument to Shokan Valikhanov, Medeu District, Almaty, Kazakhstan
“Event: Demonstrations/strikes are expected to take place on Saturday, February 5, 2022 beginning at 12:00pm at the intersections of Valikhanov and Shevchenko streets. The Almaty Mayor’s office has authorized the request to hold this protest.
“A heightened security presence and localized transport and disruptions, as well as internet network outages are likely in the vicinity of the protests, should they materialize.
“Non-sanctioned demonstrations may end with mass arrests. Even sanctioned demonstrations can turn confrontational and escalate into violence. You should avoid demonstrations and exercise caution if in the vicinity of any large gatherings or protests.”