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January 8, 2021


Colombia (Security threat level – 4): On 8 January 2021, authorities imposed a lockdown on the capital Bogotá until 12 January due to a surge in COVID-19 cases. A nightly curfew is in effect from 2000 to 0400 local time (0100-0900 UTC), and nonessential businesses are required to remain closed. Meanwhile, only one person per household will be allowed to leave their residence to acquire essential goods, such as groceries and medicine. Following the end of the lockdown on 12 January, the nightly curfew will continue until 17 January.


Australia (Security threat level – 2): On 8 January 2021, Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced new entry requirements for international travelers arriving into Australia. A negative result from a COVID-19 test will be required for all travelers before boarding domestic and international flights. If a traveler’s COVID-19 test returns a positive result, they and any household contacts will be prohibited from traveling to Australia. Travelers are required to wear face masks on international and domestic flights. Authorities have reduced the weekly quota of international travelers allowed into the states of New South Wales (1,505 travelers), Western Australia (512 travelers) and Queensland (500 travelers) until 15 February. All states and territories will quarantine international flight crews and require proof of a negative result on a COVID-19 test.


Albania / France / Portugal / United Kingdom (Security threat levels – 3 / 3 / 2 / 3): As of 8 January 2021, European governments are imposing additional restrictive measures in an effort to slow the spread of COVID-19. Additional details are provided below on restrictions in Albania, France, Portugal and the U.K.

In Albania, authorities on 6 January extended an existing ban on commercial flights between Albania and the U.K. The restriction was scheduled to expire on 7 January. All travelers arriving in Albania from the U.K. are required to self-isolate for 14 days after arriving, while all travelers arriving in Albania from other locations are subject to health screenings and a possible quarantine period at a government-approved facility at the discretion of local health officials.

French authorities on 7 January announced that existing coronavirus-related restrictions will be extended, and that the border will remain closed to travelers from the U.K. until further notice; only cargo truck drivers and French nationals are exempt from the order. Under the restrictions, the existing nationwide nightly curfew from 2000 to 0600 local time (1900-0500 UTC) will remain in effect until at least 20 January. Additionally, restaurants, movie theaters, museums and gyms will remain closed through at least mid-February; authorities are expected to provide an additional update on 20 January.

Portuguese authorities on 7 January announced new restrictions for the weekend of 9-10 January, including a ban on intercity travel throughout continental Portugal. Any municipality with 250 or more cases per 100,000 inhabitants will face additional quarantine measures this weekend, including a daily 1300 to 0500 local time/UTC curfew on municipalities that fall under the government-designated categories of “extremely high risk,” “very high risk” and “high risk.” Officials noted that the country remains under a state of emergency and warned of upcoming additional nationwide restrictions.

In the U.K., authorities on 8 January announced new entry requirements for travelers. All travelers, including U.K. nationals, arriving by boat, aircraft or train must present proof of a negative result from a COVID-19 test taken no more than 72 hours before departing their countries of origin. The new requirement is expected to take effect early next week for England and as soon as possible for Scotland. Government officials stated that they are working with administrations in both Wales and Northern Ireland to enact similar requirements. Travelers violating the new requirement will receive an immediate fine of 500 pounds (680 U.S. dollars). Travelers arriving from countries not on the U.K.’s travel corridor list remain subject to a mandatory 10-day self-quarantine requirement. Exceptions to the new requirement include crews, children under 11 years of age and travelers arriving from countries without infrastructure to conduct the tests. Separately, the U.K. government announced an entry ban on foreigners traveling to England who have visited the following countries in the past 10 days: Angola, Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Seychelles, Zambia and Zimbabwe. The ban — which exempts Irish nationals, U.K. permanent residents and long-term visa holders — will go into effect at 0400 local time/UTC on 9 January and remain in place for at least two weeks.


Israel (Security threat level – 3): On 8 January 2021, the Israeli government announced that new restrictive measures will be in effect until 21 January in order to control the spread of COVID-19. Travel from Israel will be prohibited, with exceptions for individuals who purchased tickets before the lockdown or with approval by the director general of the Ministry of Transportation. Public transportation is reduced to 50% capacity nationwide. Essential businesses, such as grocery stores and pharmacies, will remain open, and nonessential businesses are required to remain closed. Individuals are not allowed to travel beyond 1,000 m (3,281 ft) of their residences, with the exception of travel for essential services, such as medical care or legal proceedings.

Qatar / United Arab Emirates (Security threat levels – 2 / 2): On 8 January 2021, Emirati authorities announced that as of 9 January the country’s air and land borders will reopen to trade and travel with Qatar, following an agreement between Qatar and the other member states of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC). Air and land travel between the countries have been suspended since 2017, when Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Bahrain and Egypt suspended travel and economic relations with Qatar due to the latter’s foreign policy.


Mauritius (Security threat level – 1): As of 1500 UTC on 8 January 2021, Tropical Cyclone Danilo was located approximately 1,000 km (620 mi) east-northeast of Port Louis, Mauritius, and was moving west-southwest at 15 kph (9 mph), according to the U.S. Joint Typhoon Warning Center. At that time, Danilo was generating maximum sustained winds of 55 kph, with gusts of up to 74 kph. On its current forecast path, the storm is expected to make landfall over Mauritius during the early hours of 11 January before moving over Réunion island later in the day. Authorities have warned that heavy rainfall, strong winds and rough sea conditions are likely as Danilo approaches.


Colombia (Security threat level – 4): On 5 January 2021, the U.S. Embassy in Bogotá issued a Health Alert, which reads in part as follows:

“The Colombian Ministry of Health has announced that it will require a negative COVID-19 test result for all inbound international travelers. Beginning Tuesday, January 12, travelers arriving to Colombia must present negative results from a COVID-19 PCR test administered no more than 96 hours prior to departure. This rule applies to international arrivals regardless of age (including infants) or nationality, although authorities may make exceptions in rare cases for travelers to be tested and quarantined upon arrival.

“This test requirement is in addition to – and does not replace – the existing “Check-Mig” requirement for both inbound and outbound travelers. All travelers must complete the online Check-Mig form at https://apps.migracioncolombia.gov.co/pre-registro/public/preregistro.jsf between 24 hours and 1 hour prior to arrival in, or departure from, Colombia. Carry a print-out of the form, and be ready to show the electronic version on your mobile device at Colombian immigration.”

The full text of the alert can be read here.

Kazakhstan (Security threat level – 3): On 8 January 2021, the U.S. Embassy in Nur-Sulta issued a Demonstration Alert regarding upcoming elections, which reads in part as follows:

“Kazakhstan will hold parliamentary elections on Sunday, January 10, 2021. While civil unrest and/or protests are rare, there were protests associated with the country’s last national vote, including some of the largest demonstrations Kazakhstan has seen in 20 years. U.S. citizens should anticipate an increased presence of security forces around the country and may experience road closures and alternate traffic patterns throughout the weekend. Police have the authority to stop individuals without reasonable suspicion or probable cause.

“U.S. citizens should prepare for the possibility of spotty internet coverage or the absence of service altogether. On Election Day in 2019, as well as during the lead-up to the vote on days with demonstration activity, some internet users reported that access was intermittently, and at times completely, blocked, including access to VPN services. These outages coincided with protests, eliminating the potential to livestream and share live updates on social media and internet news platforms.

“Non-sanctioned demonstrations usually end with mass arrests. Embassy personnel have been instructed to avoid observing elections-related events (including protests) in person.

“Even demonstrations intended to be peaceful can turn confrontational and escalate into violence. You should avoid demonstrations and exercise caution if in the vicinity of any large gatherings or protests.”

The full text of the alert is available here.

Lebanon (Security threat level – 4): On 8 January 2021, the U.K. Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) updated its travel advice for Lebanon to read in part as follows:

“…From Monday 11 January 2021, the number of incoming passengers allowed into the airport will be reduced by 20% compared to December 2020.

“The average number of passengers permitted to arrive through the Masna’a land border crossing will be 150 and through the Abboudieh border crossing 100, both twice per week. All passengers travelling to Lebanon must download the Government of Lebanon application ‘MOPH Ma3an’ on their mobile phone and fill in the electronic form before departure. Passengers travelling to Lebanon, except military personnel, diplomats, members of international organizations, UNIFIL and members of the Lebanese National Social Security Fund or staff cooperative, need to possess an insurance policy that is valid for the duration of their stay in Lebanon, covering all costs of treatment for Coronavirus on Lebanese territory. Alternatively, the policy can be obtained at the insurance counters upon arrival at Rafik Hariri International Airport-Beirut

“…From Monday 11 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. You must quarantine at a Government of Lebanon approved hotel until you receive the results of your airport test. 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.

“Diplomats and their families, official delegations and UNFIL officers are exempt from the quarantine measures, as well as those who have received the COVID-19 vaccination, on the condition that they have proof of vaccination and take a PCR test on arrival as a precautionary measure. “The Lebanese government is keeping these measures under review and they may change at short notice. You must comply with any amended regulations for testing and self-isolation. You should check with your airline and the Embassy of Lebanon in the country you are travelling from before travel.”

Switzerland (Security threat level – 2): On 8 January 2021, the U.S. Embassy in Bern issued a Demonstration Alert regarding planned protests outside the embassy, which reads in part as follows:

“Planned demonstrations, regarding support of Wikileaks founder Julian Assange are scheduled for Friday, January 8, 2021 from 4:00 to 5:00 PM and Saturday, January 9, 2021, from 2:00 to 3:00 PM outside the U.S. Embassy, Bern.

“As with all such gatherings, even demonstrations intended to be peaceful can turn confrontational and escalate into violence. There will be an increased police presence however, you should avoid the area mentioned above and check local media for updates and traffic advisories.”

The full text of the alert is available here.

Uganda (Security threat level – 4): On 8 January 2021, the U.S. Embassy in Kampala issued a Security Alert regarding the upcoming election scheduled for 14 January, which reads in part as follows:

“U.S. citizens in Uganda should heighten awareness and caution during the election season. Ugandan presidential campaigning and election activity continue to bring large gatherings. These types of gatherings may increase the risk of violence, civil crime, significant traffic disruptions and COVID-19 transmission. Clashes at these gatherings and outbreaks of violence have occurred before, during, and after past general elections in Uganda. Police routinely use force, including tear gas, rubber bullets, and live ammunition, to disperse protests. Demonstrations throughout Uganda are likely to remain common and may escalate to violence. U.S. citizens should avoid demonstrations and crowds and take proper precautions against the spread of COVID-19.”

The full text of the alert is available here.

United Arab Emirates / Iran / Saudi Arabia (Security threat levels – 2 / 3 / 3): On 8 January 2021, the U.S. Maritime Administration (MARAD) issued a Maritime Advisory for the Arabian Sea, the Indian Ocean, the Red Sea, the Persian Gulf, the Strait of Hormuz, the Gulf of Aden and the Gulf of Oman, which reads in part as follows: “Multiple maritime threats have been reported in the geographic areas described above, including a mine placed on the hull of a Liberian-flagged tanker in the Persian Gulf off Iraq on December 31st, 2020 and the Iranian seizure of a South Korean-flagged tanker in the Strait of Hormuz on January 4th, 2021. Heightened military activity and increased political tensions in this region continue to pose serious threats to commercial vessels. Associated with these threats is a potential for miscalculation or misidentification that could lead to aggressive actions. Vessels operating in the Persian Gulf, Strait of Hormuz, and Gulf of Oman may also encounter GPS interference, bridge-to-bridge communications spoofing, and/or other communications jamming with little to no warning. Vessels have also reported bridge-to-bridge communications from unknown entities falsely claiming to be U.S. or coalition warships.”