ASIA China (Security threat level – 3): On 23 November...
Canada / Mexico / United States (Security threat levels – 2 / 4 / 2): On 20 June 2021, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) announced that U.S. land borders with Canada and Mexico will remain closed to nonessential travel through at least 21 July in continuation of a longstanding effort to stem the spread of COVID-19. Individuals involved in cross-border trade and transport are exempt, as are other “essential” personnel — including health care staff and emergency officials — and anyone who transits the border daily for work or to obtain basic necessities, such as food or medicine. The border restrictions, which do not apply to air travel, were initially enacted on 21 March 2020, and have since been renewed monthly. The DHS noted that it is engaged with other U.S. government agencies working with the Canadian and Mexican governments to determine favorable conditions in order to ease the border restrictions.
Canada’s public safety minister had announced the extension of the Canada-U.S. border closure on 18 June 2021. The Canadian government maintains an entry ban on foreigners traveling for nonessential reasons, including those traveling from the U.S. or Mexico, and stringent testing and quarantine requirements for all travelers arriving in Canada. The government is expected to release details regarding relaxation of border restrictions for fully vaccinated Canadian citizens and permanent residents later on 21 June. The public safety minister has suggested that the current requirements for air travelers to quarantine at government-approved hotels for up to three days while awaiting results of COVID-19 tests administered upon arrival may be annulled for fully inoculated individuals.
Mexico (Security threat level – 4): As of the morning of 21 June 2021, efforts to recover from the effects of Tropical Storm Dolores are underway in states along the western coastal areas of Mexico. There have been no reports of disruptions at airports in the affected areas. The remnants of Dolores dissipated approximately 275 km (170 mi) east of the resort town of Mazatlán in Zacatecas state on the morning of 20 June, according to the U.S. National Hurricane Center. In Michoacán state, rivers overflowed in 20 municipalities, causing flooding that stranded vehicles and damaged homes. In Guerrero state, at least 35 houses were damaged in 11 different areas, including in the coastal town of Acapulco, where the storm felled trees, blocked roads, flooded homes and caused several landslides. In Sinaloa state, heavy rains in Mazatlán caused blackouts and also flooded homes and streets — in some places floodwaters reached more than 1 m (3 ft). At least three people were killed due to the storm. Authorities dispatched more than 2,000 security personnel from the Secretariat of National Defense to the states of Colima, Guerrero and Michoacán to assist with relief efforts for communities affected by Dolores. Authorities have established eight community kitchens, 190 shelters and 10 storage centers. On the evening of 20 June, the Federal Electricity Commission (CFE) stated that emergency crews had restored electricity to 80.5% of the 52,420 customers who experienced blackouts during the storm and 10,201 customers remained without power.
Peru (Security threat level – 3): On 19 June 2021, authorities announced a lockdown in the southern department of Arequipa due to a surge in cases of COVID-19. The lockdown, which began on 21 June, will remain in place until 11 July. Under the measures, all air and land transportation services into and out of Arequipa will be suspended, while travel within the department will be banned, as will the use of private vehicles.
United States (Security threat level – 2): Over the weekend of 19-20 June 2021, Tropical Storm Claudette swept through the Gulf Coast region after making landfall in southeastern Louisiana on the morning of 19 June. Claudette produced heavy rains with subsequent flash floods in parts of Alabama, Louisiana, Mississippi and the Florida Panhandle. In Florida, the storm caused temporary flight delays and cancellations at Pensacola International Airport (KPNS/PNS). In Alabama, a tornado damaged or demolished at least 50 homes in or near the neighboring towns of Brewton and East Brewton, which are located approximately 105 mi (170 km) south of the state capital Montgomery. Authorities believe the inclement weather caused a multi-vehicle crash on a stretch of Interstate 65 in Alabama’s Butler County, located approximately 35 miles south of Montgomery, which left 12 people dead and several others injured. The Butler County coroner stated that the heavy rainfall caused a vehicle to hydroplane, which resulted in the crash. Additionally, two people were killed when a tree fell on a home just outside the city of Tuscaloosa.
Claudette strengthened into a tropical storm shortly after coming ashore and temporarily weakened into a tropical depression on 20 June. As of 0800 local time (1200 UTC) on 21 June 2021, Claudette had regained its strength and was located approximately 15 miles west of Duck, North Carolina, and about 30 miles south of Norfolk, Virginia, according to the U.S. National Hurricane Center. At that point, the tropical storm had maximum sustained winds of 40 mph (65 kph), with higher gusts, and was tracking in an east-northeasterly direction at a speed of 28 mph. The storm is expected to produce additional rainfall of between 1-2 in (25-50 mm) in far-eastern areas of North Carolina during the morning hours. On its current path, the storm is forecast to move into the western Atlantic Ocean later on the morning of 21 June and pass just south of the Canadian province of Nova Scotia on 22 June. Claudette is expected to weaken into a post-tropical cyclone and dissipate in the late hours of 22 June.
United States (Security threat level – 2): In the late hours of 20 June 2021, a tornado swept through the outskirts of Chicago, Illinois, amid severe thunderstorms in the area. The twister struck the western suburb of Naperville — located about 25 mi (40 km) from downtown Chicago — where it downed numerous trees and destroyed at least 16 residences. An additional 125 properties in the suburb sustained damage. At least five people were injured and transported to hospitals; one of the victims remains in critical condition. In addition, the tornado downed trees and utility poles in nearby Woodridge village, although no injuries were reported in that location.
South Korea (Security threat level – 2): On 20 June 2021, the South Korean government announced that restrictions imposed to curb the spread of COVID-19 in the greater Seoul area will be relaxed on 1 July. Under the new restrictions, private gatherings of up to six people will be permitted, and the limit may be raised to eight people as of 15 July. Additionally, cafes, restaurants and nightlife venues will be permitted to operate nightly until 0000 local time (1500 UTC). Elsewhere in South Korea, restrictions on the number of attendees in private gatherings will be annulled. According to the health minister, about 30% of residents in the country have received at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine. Health officials recorded a daily average of 444 new COVID-19 cases during the last week, which is a 15% decrease compared to the preceding week.
France (Security threat level – 3): Overnight on 18-19 June 2021, police officers deployed tear gas as they forcibly dispersed a crowd of approximately 1,500-2,000 individuals attending a “rave” party at a horse racing track in the commune of Redon, located in the Brittany region approximately 70 km (45 mi) northwest of the city of Nantes. Police officers deployed tear gas as the partiers threw metal balls, Molotov cocktails and concrete blocks at the officers. The prefect of the department of Ille-et-Vilaine — where Redon is located — stated that the clashes between police officers and rioters lasted more than seven hours. Authorities had deployed at least 400 police officers to the area, along with 40 firefighters and 18 rescue workers, where they remained until the morning hours of 19 June. At least five police officers and one partygoer were injured in the violence. Authorities arrested five people. The party violated a coronavirus-related ban on large gatherings, as well as the countrywide nightly curfew.
Sweden (Security threat level – 2): On 21 June 2021, Prime Minister Stefan Löfven lost a vote of confidence in Sweden’s parliament, making him the first prime minister to lose such a vote in Swedish history. The no-confidence motion was called due to opposition against a plan to ease rent controls for newly constructed apartment buildings. Löfven now has until 28 June to decide whether he will resign and allow the speaker of parliament to start a round of cross-party negotiations to form a new government, or call a snap election, which must take place no later than three months following the announcement.
Iran (Security threat level – 3): On 20 June 2021, the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran announced that the Bushehr Nuclear Power Plant, located in the southern coastal city of Bushehr, shut down the previous day due to an unspecified technical fault and had been disconnected from the national power grid. The plant’s shutdown is expected to cause blackouts across the country and a power shortage of between 5,000-9,000 megawatts. The state electric company Tavanir had stated that the nuclear plant was undergoing repairs, which are expected to last until 25 June. Additional details regarding the plant shutdown are unavailable.
Oman (Security threat level – 2): On 20 June 2021, the government of Oman imposed new nationwide movement restrictions to curb the spread of COVID-19. Until further notice, there is a ban on the movement of people and vehicles nightly from 2000 to 0400 local time (1600-0000 UTC). Meanwhile, all public places and most commercial venues are required to close from 2000-0400 local time.
Guatemala (Security threat level – 4): On 20 June 2021, the U.S. Embassy in Guatemala City issued a Security Alert regarding upcoming demonstrations, which reads in part as follows: “Several planned demonstrations will take place across Guatemala between Monday, June 21 and Wednesday, June 23. These demonstrations may include roadblocks. The known participants are veterans of Guatemala’s armed forces. The participants have announced their intention to protest and/or block multiple roads, but specific locations have yet to be confirmed. Given all currently available information, the most likely locations where roadblocks may occur include but are not limited to the following:
“U.S citizens should also remain alert to the possibility of demonstrations occurring at unanticipated times and locations. Demonstrations can quickly grow in size and often move from one location to another, thus potentially disrupting movement.
“The Embassy will continue to review the security situation and will provide additional information as needed. Future travel by U.S. government personnel outside the capital is being reviewed and travelers should plan to avoid the areas listed above.”
Nepal (Security threat level – 3): On 21 June 2021, the U.S. Embassy in Kathmandu issued updated information regarding coronavirus-related restrictions in Nepal, which reads in part as follows: “Nepal Country-Specific Information:
“On April 26, the Government of Nepal announced a lockdown of Kathmandu as a public health measure to help slow the spread of COVID-19. All lock down restrictions went into effect at 0600 hours on April 29 and have been extended until June 28, 2021.
The full text of the alert is available here.