January 14, 2021
14-Jan-2021

AMERICAS

Colombia (Security threat level – 4): On 13 January 2021, President Ivan Duque extended the nationwide health state of emergency and selective quarantine period until at least 28 February. Both measures were set to expire on 16 January. The policies enable state governors and municipal authorities to introduce coronavirus-related restrictions on businesses, movement and social activities at their discretion.

United States (Security threat level – 2): According to a media report from 13 January 2021, the U.S. Secret Service issued a bulletin on 11 January warning of additional armed protests in the capital Washington, D.C., in the lead-up to and during the 59th Presidential Inauguration on 20 January. The Secret Service anticipates the protests — one of which is being organized by the “Boogaloo Bois,” an extremist group that seeks a second civil war in the U.S. — to become violent before the inaugural ceremony. An additional pre-inaugural demonstration being organized by the Tree of Liberty group, which is affiliated with the Boogaloo movement, calls for armed citizens to gather in Washington, D.C., and all 50 U.S. state capitals. Another Million Militia March is reportedly being organized by a group calling itself the “1st Regiment of the Restored American Republic.” Conversely, most other planned demonstrations and political gatherings, organized by both left-wing and right-wing groups, are expected to conclude peacefully. The latest report follows an internal FBI memo that warned of armed protests being planned in the U.S. Capitol and 50 state capitols in the lead-up to Inauguration Day. In the meantime, the U.S. Department of Defense authorized an additional 5,000 National Guard personnel to be deployed to Washington, D.C., bringing the total number to 20,000 troops. As many as 15,000 National Guard personnel are already being deployed in and around Capitol Hill. A federal state of emergency is in effect in the capital, where the Secret Service launched National Special Security Event operations for the inauguration on 13 January.

EUROPE

Belgium / Greece / Portugal / Russia / Switzerland (Security threat levels – 3 / 3 / 2 / 3 / 2): On 14 January 2021, governments across Europe adjusted coronavirus-related restrictions as many countries are experiencing record-breaking surges of local infections. Details are provided below for Belgium, Greece, Portugal, Russia and Switzerland.

Authorities in Belgium on 12 January extended existing coronavirus-related restrictions until 1 March. Restrictions already in place include a nationwide curfew from 0000 to 0500 local time (2300 to 0400 UTC), with a stricter curfew in place in the regions of Brussels and Wallonia from 2200 to 0600 local time. Face masks are required in areas where social distancing is not possible.

In Greece, a stricter lockdown went into effect on the island of Lesvos on 13 January. The new lockdown, which is currently scheduled to last until 0600 local time (0400 UTC) on 18 January, includes a longer island-wide nightly curfew from 1800 to 0500 local time. Additionally, travel outside of Lesvos is prohibited, except for essential health care purposes. Shops are closed, and public religious ceremonies are banned. Elsewhere in Greece, the ongoing nightly curfew begins three hours later at 2100 local time, in addition to a countrywide lockdown. All travelers arriving in Greece through 21 January are required to observe a mandatory seven-day quarantine.

In Portugal, the prime minister on 13 January announced additional coronavirus-related restrictions that are set to commence on 15 January and last for at least one month. The new restrictions urge individuals to remain at home as much as possible and allow officials to double the monetary fines levied for noncompliance with coronavirus-related regulations, such as not wearing a face mask in public. Additionally, authorities stated that “teleworking is obligatory wherever possible.” Businesses deemed nonessential are required to close, while schools are expected to remain open. The prime minister noted that the government will provide financial assistance to businesses required to close, including restaurants, cinemas and hair salons. Meanwhile, the presidential election scheduled for 24 January remains uninterrupted, as government officials announced that select coronavirus-related restrictions will be lifted on 17 January — when early voting will be permitted — and Election Day to allow individuals to vote. Incumbent candidate Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa is widely expected to win a second five-year term as Portugal’s head of state despite the pandemic’s disruption of campaign events and the likelihood of high abstention rates.

In Russia, Moscow Mayor Sergei Sobyanin on 14 January extended ongoing coronavirus-related restrictions in Moscow until at least 28 January. However, classes in all grade levels through high school are set to resume from 18 January, subject to continued compliance with health guidelines. Colleges and universities will continue operating remotely. In addition, businesses are required to restrict operating hours and comply with occupancy and staffing limits, while individuals are required to wear face masks in all indoor and outdoor public spaces, including aboard public transportation.

In Switzerland, authorities on 13 January announced new coronavirus-related restrictions that will remain in place from 18 January to 28 February. Under the new restrictions, all nonessential shops will be required to close, and all public and private gatherings are limited to a maximum of five people. Additionally, all workers who are able to perform their jobs from home will be required to do so.

MIDDLE EAST AND NORTH AFRICA

Iraq (Security threat level – 5): On 14 January 2021, the Iraqi government extended an existing entry ban for travelers from a number of countries until further notice. Foreign national travelers arriving to Iraq from 20 listed countries — including South Africa, the U.K. and the U.S. — will not be permitted to enter. Exemptions are in place for Iraqi citizens and permanent residents, diplomats, humanitarian personnel and other essential travelers. All travelers eligible to enter Iraq must demonstrate a negative result from a COVID-19 PCR test taken within 72 hours of arrival; Iraqi citizens and residents must also undergo a 14-day self-quarantine upon entry.

SUB-SAHARAN AFRICA

Lesotho / Mozambique / Seychelles (Security threat levels – 3 / 4 / 1): As of 14 January 2021, governments across Africa continue to implement and extend measures aimed at slowing the spread of COVID-19 as it resurges across the globe. Most recently, the governments of Lesotho, Mozambique and the Seychelles have enacted such measures, with more countries likely to follow.

In Lesotho, authorities announced on 12 January that the country would move into the highest-risk red stage from the second-highest orange stage effective 14-28 January. The country previously transitioned into the orange stage on 6 January. Under the red stage, a nationwide nightly curfew from 1900 to 0600 local time (1700-0400 UTC) is in place, barring residents from leaving their homes except in cases of emergency. Essential businesses, such as grocery stores and supermarkets, are required to restrict operating hours to 0800-1600 local time. Nonessential businesses are required to close, and all social activities are prohibited. Intercity public transportation is operational outside of curfew hours with restrictions on occupancy and adherence to additional health measures; however, intra-city travel is restricted. In addition, all international arrivals via air or land borders are suspended except for those deemed essential, such as commercial cargo shipments, individuals traveling for medical reasons or personnel considered essential. Outbound travel is permitted, although processing delays may occur due to the country’s border closure to inbound travelers.

In Mozambique, President Filipe Nyusi on 13 January announced a series of coronavirus-related restrictions on businesses and public gatherings, to be in effect from 15 January until further notice. Markets, restaurants and businesses selling food or essential goods are allowed to operate from 0600 to 2000 local time (0400-1800 UTC) Mondays to Fridays and from 0600 to 1500 local time on Saturdays and Sundays. All other commercial establishments are required to close daily at 1800 local time. Bars, casinos, discos, cultural centers, museums, theaters and other similar venues are required to close. Recreational facilities are likewise closed, including gyms, swimming pools and public beaches. Social activities are restricted to no more than 30 people indoors and 50 people outdoors and must conclude by 2000 local time. Local authorities will actively enforce compliance with the restrictions.

In the Seychelles, the government on 13 January extended ongoing coronavirus-related restrictions until at least 28 January. Nonessential businesses are closed, and essential businesses are operational with restrictions on hours and occupancy. Groups larger than four people are prohibited, and social activities are suspended. Arriving travelers eligible to enter the country are required to undergo a 10-day quarantine at a government-approved facility and may not transfer facilities until the quarantine period concludes. Additional information on domestic restrictions is available here and entry requirements are available here.

GOVERNMENT WARNINGS

Ecuador (Security threat level – 3): On 13 January 2021, the U.K. Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office issued updated travel advice for Ecuador, which reads in part as follows:

“Antigen tests (rapid test) will be randomly carried out, by the Ministry of Health (MSP), on passengers arriving in Ecuador by air, sea or land. This test will be provided by the MSP. As of 13 January 2021, the only passengers officially exempted from the random rapid tests are airline crew members and children under 14 years old.”

Guatemala (Security threat level – 4): On 13 January 2021, the U.S. Embassy in Guatemala City issued a Security Alert regarding planned demonstrations, which reads in part as follows: “According to media reports, various organizations have planned demonstrations across Guatemala between January 14 and January 20, 2021.

“Announced demonstrations are expected at the following locations in Guatemala City:

“January 14:

  • Who: Organizations Movimiento Arbencista and Plataforma Cívica GT.
  • What: An estimated 300 people will demand the resignation of Guatemalan President and members of congress.
  • Where: National Palace in Guatemala City. Possible roadblock locations are not known at this time.

“January 18th

  • Who: Private transportation Association.
  • What: An estimated 200 people will protest municipality traffic fines.
  • Where: 13 Street and Aguilar Batres Boulevard in Zone 11 then walking towards Guatemala City Municipality.

“January 20th

  • Who: Guatemala Army veterans.
  • What: An estimated 1,500 persons will protest for the approval of a veterans benefits bill.  Where: Presidential House and National Palace in Guatemala City and other locations in the country to be determined.”

The full text of the Security Alert can be read here.

Mali (Security threat level – 5): On 13 January 2021, the U.S. Embassy in Bamako issued a Demonstration Alert regarding a protest planned for 14 January, which reads in part as follows:

“Location: Multiple locations in Bamako

“Event: The Collective for the Defense of the Republic (CDR) is calling for three sit-ins on Thursday, January 14, at 2:00 PM. The purpose of these demonstrations is to demand the release of activist Mohamed Youssouf Bathily, also known as Ras Bath. The sit-ins will occur simultaneously at the following locations: The Directorate-General for External Security (DGSE), Camp 1, and the Commune 3 Tribunal.

“Demonstrations sometimes turn violent, resulting in the burning of tires, clashes with the police, blockage on the roads and bridges, throwing of rocks at vehicles, the deployment of tear gas, and small arms fire.”

The full text of the alert is available here.

Montenegro (Security threat level – 2): On 13 January 2021, the U.K. FCDO issued updated travel advice for Montenegro, which reads in part as follows:

“From 12 January all travellers, including UK citizens, can enter Montenegro without a coronavirus test through all border crossings. If you notice symptoms of a respiratory infection you must follow the guidelines of the Institute of Public Health, which include contacting a local epidemiological service. The guidance and contact details of epidemiological services are available in English from Institute of Public Health. ”