AMERICAS Chile (Security threat level – 2): On 14 January...
Bermuda / Colombia / Costa Rica / Guatemala / Puerto Rico (Security threat levels – 1 / 4 / 3 / 4 / 2): As of 6 January 2021, governments across the Americas continue to implement and reimpose measures aimed at slowing the spread of COVID-19, while other governments have loosened coronavirus-related measures. Additional details are provided below on Bermuda, Colombia, Guatemala and Puerto Rico:
Bermudian authorities are set to loosen select coronavirus-related restrictions as of 7 January. An existing nightly curfew from 2300 to 0500 local time (0300 to 0900 UTC) will be adjusted to 0000 to 0500 local time. Businesses currently required to close at 2200 local time will be allowed to stay open until 2300 local time. The number of people allowed at an outdoor funeral has been increased from 10 to 20.
In Colombia, authorities on 5 January imposed a nightly 2200-0500 local time (0300-1000 UTC) curfew in the city of Medellín. The measure will remain in effect from 6 to 11 January. Additionally, the sale of alcohol is prohibited from 2200 local time on 8 January to 2359 local time on 11 January.
In Costa Rica, officials put previously repealed coronavirus-related vehicle restrictions back into effect until at least 31 January due to a recent rise in the number of COVID-19 cases. The restrictions, based on the last digit of a vehicle’s license plate number, will be in effect Monday-Friday from 0500 to 2200 local time (1100 to 0400 UTC) and on Saturday and Sunday from 2100 to 0500 local time. Several exemptions are in place, including for individuals with rental cars, as well as for those driving to or from a hotel reservation, work or the airport. Costa Rica’s land borders remain closed until at least 1 February.
In Guatemala, changes to entry requirements went into effect as of 6 January. All passengers arriving to Guatemala from any airport in the U.K. or South Africa will be denied entry to the country due to the new coronavirus variants discovered in those locations. Any individual 10 years of age or older must present a negative result from a PCR test taken within 96 hours of their flight departure. Those who arrive without a test result to La Aurora International Airport (MGGT/GUA) can receive a test upon arrival that costs 200 Guatemalan quetzals (25 U.S. dollars).
Newly sworn-in Puerto Rican Governor Pedro Pierluisi announced on 5 January a loosening of coronavirus-related restrictions, effective 8 January. The Sunday lockdown has been repealed, and the nightly 2100 to 0500 local time (0100 to 0900 UTC) curfew will transition to the hours of 2300 to 0500 local time. All beaches, pools and marinas will be allowed to reopen, although a ban on alcohol consumption in these locations remains in effect; social distancing guidelines remain in place between individuals not in the same household. Face masks remain mandatory in public areas.
Mexico (Security threat level – 4): On 5 January 2021, Interjet Airlines, the third largest carrier in Mexico, canceled all scheduled flights until 31 January. The company previously halted flights from 18 to 31 December 2020, reportedly due to a lack of capital to purchase jet fuel, as well as from 1 to 2 November and from 28 November to 2 December after it suspended all international routes indefinitely in March. The Customer Protection Agency in Mexico has advised travelers to reconsider purchasing tickets for Interjet flights.
China (Security threat level – 3): On the morning of 6 January 2021, Hong Kong police conducted a mass arrest of pro-democracy activists and former pan-democrat legislators for alleged subversion under the National Security Law. At least 53 people were arrested for their involvement in organizing the unauthorized “35+ Democrat Primary Election” held on 12 July 2020, to elect candidates for the now-suspended 2020 Legislative Council elections. The arrestees include a U.S. national who was allegedly involved in organizing the vote, which marks the first time a foreign national has been arrested under the law. If convicted under the National Security Law, the activists could face up to life imprisonment.
Germany / Italy / Spain (Security threat levels – 3 / 3 / 3): On 6 January 2021, European governments continue to implement and reimpose measures aimed at slowing the spread of COVID-19 as it resurges across the region. Additional details are provided below on Germany, Italy and Spain:
In Germany, authorities on 5 January extended an existing nationwide lockdown and its associated restrictions through 31 January, while also imposing additional rules. The lockdown was originally scheduled to end on 10 January. Under the new restrictions, residents of areas classified as COVID-19 hot spots — defined as having 200 or more cases of COVID-19 per 100,000 residents over a one-week period — are not allowed to travel more than 15 km (10 mi) from their homes, except for essential purposes; travelers arriving from high-risk locations abroad must provide results of two negative COVID-19 tests; and private gatherings are limited to members of the same household and one person from outside the home.
In Italy, beginning on 7 January only residents or individuals seeking to enter the country for purposes of work or study will be allowed entry. Individuals traveling to Italy will be required to present a negative result from a COVID-19 test taken within 48 hours of travel and to self-isolate for 14 days upon arrival. Additionally, travelers may be required to take a COVID-19 rapid antigenic or molecular swab test upon arrival at the airport. Travelers must also inform local health authorities of their visit by calling the regional COVID-19 helpline.
In Spain, multiple regional authorities have announced new quarantine measures, as Spain’s Ministry of Health released data on 5 January that highlighted a 25% rise in reported cases of COVID-19 across the country during the last seven days. Authorities in the Valencia region, located on the southeastern coast, extended a regional nightly curfew — which will now commence at 2200 local time (2100 UTC) — and bars and restaurants are required to close at 1700 local time. The regional borders remain closed to all but essential travel until 31 January, in a two-week extension of the previous deadline. In the western region of Extremadura — which has the highest incidence rate in Spain (604 cases per 100,000 inhabitants in the last 14 days) — the regional government will require bars and restaurants, nonessential businesses and entertainment venues to close in municipalities with populations of more than 5,000 and a 14-day incidence rate of over 500 cases per 100,000. This affects the provincial capitals of Badajoz and Cáceres as well as 14 other locations until the end of January. In the northern region of La Rioja, social gatherings will be limited to four people, and the regional nightly curfew will begin at 2200 local time as of 7 January. The regional health chief advised individuals to remain at home as much as possible and to wear a face mask inside the home. Other regions — including Aragón, Castilla y León, and Catalonia — have also closed their regional borders until mid-to-late January.
Ecuador (Security threat level – 3): On 5 January 2021, the U.K. Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) issued updated travel advice for Ecuador, which reads in part as follows: “Following the announcement of the end of the national state of emergency, as of 4 January 2021, curfew restrictions are no longer in place. Power to impose controls and tailor regulations is now devolved to local municipalities and to other competent authorities.”
Iran / United Arab Emirates / Saudi Arabia (Security threat levels – 3 / 2 / 3): On 5 January 2021, the U.S. Maritime Administration (MARAD) issued a Maritime Alert regarding threats to commercial vessels in the Persian Gulf, which reads in part as follows: “Two recent maritime incidents have been reported in the geographic area described above. The first incident was the discovery of a mine placed on the hull of a Liberian-flagged tanker in the Persian Gulf off Iraq on December 31st, 2020 in the vicinity of position 29-34N 48-47E. The second incident was the Iranian seizure of a South Korean-flagged tanker in the Strait of Hormuz on January 4th, 2021. These incidents have been confirmed. Exercise caution when transiting this area. U.S. commercial vessels operating in this area should review U.S. Maritime Advisory 2020-011 (Persian Gulf, Strait of Hormuz, Gulf of Oman, Arabian Sea, Red Sea, Gulf of Aden, and Indian Ocean-Threats to Commercial Vessels by Iran and its Proxies) for amplifying information and points of contact and report small boat activity in the vicinity of their vessel to the U.S. Fifth Fleet Battle Watch. This Alert will automatically expire on January 12, 2021. Any maritime industry questions regarding this alert should be directed to GMCC@uscg.mil.”
Lebanon (Security threat level – 4): On 6 January 2021, the U.K. Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) issued an update to its travel advice for Lebanon, which reads in part as follows: “From Thursday 7 January 2021, all travellers to Lebanon will be required to take a PCR test at Beirut International Airport upon arrival (which is provided at the airline’s expense) and then to quarantine for one week. The first 72 hours of quarantine must be spent at a Government of Lebanon approved hotel. Check with the Lebanese embassy in London or your airline for further details. When you receive your airport test result, if it is negative, you may move to your accommodation. You must continue to quarantine at your accommodation before taking another PCR test (that you must arrange yourself) a week after your arrival. If both tests are negative, you may leave quarantine.”
Senegal (Security threat level – 3): On 6 January 2021, the U.S. Embassy in Dakar issued a Health Alert regarding a new curfew in Dakar and Thies, which reads in part as follows:
“Event: Institution of daily curfew in Dakar and Thies beginning January 6
“On January 5, the Government of Senegal announced the institution of a mandatory daily curfew from 9:00 pm to 6:00 am in the regions of Dakar and Thies in response to increasing COVID-19 infection.
“Other current restrictions and regulations include: mandatory wearing of masks in public places and in private places receiving the public, as well as a ban on gathering in theaters, bars, public beaches and sports fields.
“Due to the evolving situation, U.S. citizens are encouraged to continue to monitor the official Senegalese Ministry of Health website, World Health Organization site and the U.S. embassy COVID-19 information page for updates.”