ASIA China (Security threat level – 3): On 23 November...
Colombia (Security threat level – 4): On 28 June 2021, demonstrations occurred across Colombia to mark the two-month anniversary since anti-government demonstrations began on 28 April. The demonstrations initially broke out over a now-annulled tax proposal, but broadened to demand government action on income inequality, police brutality and youth unemployment. In the capital Bogotá, protesters clashed with police officers overnight in the Bosa, Engativá, Kennedy, Rafael Uribe Uribe, Suba and Usme districts. Most of the violence occurred in Usme’s Yomasa sector, where protesters temporarily hijacked five public passenger buses for approximately 40 minutes before police officers took control of the vehicles. In total, 22 buses were vandalized and 12 police officers were injured in clashes across the city. Meanwhile, in the city of Pasto, protesters vandalized and damaged at least 11 buses, in addition to several banks and commercial establishments. In the town of Madrid, located approximately 30 km (19 mi) west of Bogotá, a group of protesters set fire to a local police station and 10 motorcycles, injuring 12 people, including 10 officers.
Mexico (Security threat level – 4): In the early morning hours of 29 June 2021, Hurricane Enrique weakened into a tropical storm. As of 0600 local time (1200 UTC), Tropical Storm Enrique was located approximately 240 km (150 mi) east-southeast of Cabo San Lucas on the southern tip of the Baja California Peninsula, according to the U.S. National Hurricane Center. At that time, Enrique had maximum sustained winds of 85 kph (50 mph), with higher gusts, and was moving northwest at 9 kph. Enrique is forecast to continue on its current track and move near or over parts of southern Baja California Sur state during the evening of 29-30 June. The storm is expected to continue to gradually weaken over the next 48 hours. A Tropical Storm Watch is currently in effect for the area from Cabo San Lucas to the town of Los Barriles.
Enrique is forecast to produce additional rainfall of between 25-50 mm (1-2 in), with isolated maximums of up to 100 mm, over the state of Colima and coastal areas of Jalisco. Combined with the area’s recent rainfall, this may result in flash floods and mudslides. As the storm approaches the Baja California Peninsula, it is forecast to produce 50-100 mm of rain, with isolated maximums of up to 150 mm. Life-threatening surf and riptide conditions are expected to affect the southwestern coast of Mexico, parts of the Baja Peninsula coastline and the southern coastline of the Gulf of California during the next 48 hours.
On 28 June authorities reported that the storm destroyed more than 200 residences in the city of Acapulco in Guerrero state. There were at least two storm-related fatalities in the city. In Colima state, heavy rains caused the collapse of the “El Carrizo” bridge on the Manzanillo-Minatitlán highway. Flooding and infrastructure damage were also reported in the coastal areas of the states of Jalisco, Michoacán and Nayarit. Mexico’s Secretariat of National Defense has deployed approximately 13,400 security personnel to assist residents in the affected areas.
Philippines (Security threat level – 4): On 29 June 2021, authorities extended coronavirus-related restrictions in the capital Manila and the provinces of Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna and Riza, through 15 July. Under the order, amusement parks, movie theaters and sporting venues must remain closed, while gyms, restaurants and tourist attractions may operate at 40% capacity. Additionally, officials extended an entry ban on travelers from Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Oman, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and the UAE during the same period.
Australia (Security threat level – 2): On 29 June 2021, the premier of Queensland state instituted a stay-at-home order for southeastern Queensland for three days in response to a cluster of COVID-19 cases in the region. The stay-at-home order is in effect from 1800 local time (0800 UTC) on 29 June to 1800 local time on 2 July in the local government areas of Brisbane, Gold Coast, Ipswich, the Lockyer Valley, Logan, Magnetic Island, Morton, Noosa, Palm Island, Redlands, the Scenic Rim, Somerset, Sunshine Coast and Townsville city. During this period, residents may only leave their homes for essential reasons such as grocery shopping, work or study, exercise in the local area, to obtain health care or to provide necessary help or support to vulnerable residents. Nonessential businesses are closed. Restaurants and other eateries will be limited to delivery and takeaway services only. Only two visitors will be allowed in each home. Funerals are limited to a maximum of 20 people, while weddings are limited to a maximum of 10 people. Face masks are required when outdoors in these areas. Individuals who have visited the aforementioned areas in the last 14 days are also required to wear face masks in public. Additional information provided by the government of Queensland is available here.
In related developments, the Perth metropolitan area and the Peel region in the state of Western Australia are under a lockdown, effective 29 June through 2 July — under rules similar to those imposed in southeastern Queensland. Details regarding restrictions in the two locations in Western Australia as outlined by the state government are available here.
Russia (Security threat level – 3): On 28 June 2021, the Russian government lifted a ban on international flights to and from Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Jordan, Ireland, Italy, North Macedonia and the U.S. The government suspended international flights in March 2020 to curb the spread of COVID-19. Russian authorities have gradually resumed international travel with approximately 50 countries.
Sweden (Security threat level – 2): On 28 June 2021, the Swedish government announced that select restrictions imposed to curb the spread of COVID-19 will be eased as of 1 July. Under the new restrictions, limits on the operating hours of bars and restaurants and recommendations to wear face masks on public transportation during certain hours will be lifted. Additionally, larger crowds will be permitted at restaurants, sporting venues, shopping malls and retail establishments.
United Kingdom (Security threat level – 3): On the afternoon of 28 June 2021, a large-scale fire broke out near the Elephant and Castle train station in central London, sending huge plumes of smoke into the air. The blaze engulfed three commercial buildings situated under the railway arches, as well as six cars and a telephone booth, near the station. All train services scheduled to operate through the station were temporarily suspended. Authorities deployed 15 fire engines and 100 firefighters to battle the blaze, which was extinguished within about two hours. According to emergency officials, six people sought medical attention at the scene and another was transported to a hospital for treatment. The cause of the fire is unknown; officials do not believe the fire is related to terrorism.
United Arab Emirates (Security threat level – 2): On 28 June 2021, authorities in the capital city Abu Dhabi announced restrictions for unvaccinated individuals that will take effect on 20 August. Those not immunized for COVID-19 will not be permitted to enter business establishments, except pharmacies and supermarkets.
Ethiopia (Security threat level – 4): On 28 June 2021, the Ethiopian government declared a unilateral ceasefire in the northern Tigray region, following nearly eight months of sustained conflict with the former regional administration — the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF). The federal government stated that the interim regional administration — which it appointed after ousting the TPLF — requested the ceasefire, which is expected to be in place until the farming season ends in late September. The conflict has severely worsened an existing humanitarian and food crisis in the region; officials hope to counter the famine by halting fighting and planting crops instead. Following the ceasefire announcement, a spokesperson for the TPLF stated that its forces had regained control of the regional capital city Mekele, although there were no reports of hostilities. The U.S. Embassy in Addis Ababa issued an alert on 29 June, reminding U.S. citizens that the overall situation in the Tigray region remains unchanged. The alert is available in the Government Warnings section below.
Eswatini (Security threat level – 3): On 29 June 2021, the U.S. Embassy in Ezulwini issued an Alert regarding civil unrest, which reads in part as follows: “The U.S. Embassy is advising all U.S. citizens to be aware of civil unrest unfolding in Eswatini, including the burning and looting of stores, cars and businesses. Protests have been building in Mbabane throughout the morning and shops are closing. The U.S. Embassy is strongly urging all citizens, countrywide, to stock up on food and water and then stay home. Embassy staff have been directed to remain home. U.S. citizens are urged to avoid major roads as protestors are blocking avenues with burning material. The U.S. Embassy will remain closed through Wednesday, June 30. U.S. citizens needing emergency services should call the Consular Section.”
Analyst Comment: Tensions are currently high in Eswatini amid ongoing anti-monarchy protests in the country. Protests involving clashes between participants and police officers were ongoing in areas outside of the capital Mbabane in recent days and it appears that the protests escalated in the capital overnight on 28-29 June. There were reports of clashes between police officers and protesters in Mbabane, where vehicles and supermarkets were set ablaze. Video clips showed the deployment of army personnel in the city on 29 June. These events are occurring amid unverified claims that King Mswati III has fled to neighboring South Africa, although acting Prime Minister Themba Masuku refuted the claims. Masuku also imposed a nationwide nightly curfew from 1800-0500 local time (1600-0300 UTC), effective 29 June until further notice, purportedly due to concerns over the coronavirus. Individuals and entities with interests in Eswatini should closely monitor forthcoming associated developments.
Ethiopia (Security threat level – 4): On 29 June 2021, the U.S. Embassy in Addis Ababa issued an Alert regarding the situation in Mekele, which reads in part as follows: “The U.S. Embassy in Addis Ababa continues to closely follow the complex and evolving situation in the Tigray Region. Based on the current information available, flights to and from Mekele have been suspended temporarily, with no indication when they will resume. Roads to and from Mekele are blocked, public transportation is not operating from the city, and cell phone communication is unreliable.
“The safety of U.S. citizens in Ethiopia remains our top priority. U.S. citizens in Tigray should monitor local media, consular messages, and embassy social media platforms carefully and be prepared to shelter in place if their safety is threatened before flights to and from Mekele resume or ground transportation is permitted. U.S. citizens requesting specific assistance should contact [email protected] while understanding that logistical and other constraints may limit what support the U.S. government can provide.”