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March 19, 2021


Canada / Mexico / United States (Security threat levels – 2 / 4 / 2): On 18 March 2021, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security declared that U.S. land borders with Canada and Mexico will remain closed to nonessential travel through 21 April in a sustained 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 Canadian government continues to maintain an entry ban on foreigners traveling for nonessential reasons, including those traveling aboard aircraft from the U.S. or Mexico.

Ecuador (Security threat level – 3): On 18 March 2021, the Ecuadorian government announced that travelers who have been vaccinated against COVID-19 will be permitted to enter the country as of 22 March and will no longer need to display proof of negative results from a COVID-19 PCR test taken before arrival. Travelers will, however, be required to present their completed vaccination document to authorities. Unimmunized travelers must continue to submit a negative PCR test taken no more than 72 hours prior to arrival.

Haiti (Security threat level – 4): On 17 March 2021, members of the Fantom 509 group — composed of both active and former police officers — engaged in violent protests in the capital Port-au-Prince. The police officers, some wearing their uniforms and masks to conceal their identities, set fire to a foreign car dealership and demanded that the government retrieve the bodies of five police officers currently held by gang members in the Village of God informal settlement. The officers then stormed a police station and freed four of their colleagues held on charges of supporting an attempted coup in February. Following the event, authorities declared a month-long state of emergency in four gang-controlled areas in Port-au-Prince, including the Village of God, but will expand the order to cover any area as deemed necessary by security forces.

Mexico (Security threat level – 4): At approximately 1340 local time (1940 UTC) on 18 March 2021, an Airbus A320 aircraft — operating VivaAerobús flight VB4343 — aborted a scheduled departure from Licenciado Gustavo Díaz Ordaz International Airport (MMPR/PVR), located in Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco, after its front landing gear collapsed. The incident occurred as the Monterrey-bound aircraft, with 127 passengers and crew members on board, was preparing to take off. All 127 occupants safely evacuated the aircraft via emergency slides without any injuries. The incident forced officials to halt flights to and from the facility; outbound flights resumed in the evening hours and inbound flights are resuming on the morning of 19 March. An investigation is currently underway to determine the cause of the accident.


Philippines (Security threat level – 4): On 19 March 2021, the Philippine National Task Force against COVID-19 revised the entry ban for foreign travelers that officials instituted to slow the spread of COVID-19 in the country. Under the revised measure, the entry ban will begin on 22 March, two days later than initially scheduled, and last until 21 April. Additionally, all Filipino citizens, including overseas Filipino workers, will be allowed entry into the country. Workers returning from overseas must take a COVID-19 PCR test six days after their arrival. International arrivals will be limited to a maximum of 1,500 people per day, with exceptions for those arriving for medical and emergency reasons.


France (Security threat level – 3): On 18 March 2021, Prime Minister Jean Castex announced that a four-week-long coronavirus-related lockdown will be imposed in the Île-de-France region — which includes the capital Paris — and the Hauts-de-France region, as well as the departments of Alpes-Maritimes, Seine-Maritime and Eure, beginning on 19 March. Under the order, nonessential businesses must close, and nonessential inter-regional travel is banned for anyone living in an area under lockdown. Additionally, the existing nationwide nightly curfew from 1800-0600 local time (1700-0500 UTC) will start one hour later at 1900 local time.


Saudi Arabia (Security threat level – 3): On 19 March 2021, Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Energy confirmed that a cross-border drone attack against an oil refinery in the city of Riyadh had occurred earlier in the day. According to the ministry, explosives-laden drones targeted the refinery, causing a fire at the installation. There were no reports of injuries. It was not immediately clear if the facility sustained significant damage. A spokesperson for the Yemen-based Houthi militant group claimed that it attacked oil refineries owned by the Saudi Aramco company in Riyadh with at least six armed drones.


Mali (Security threat level – 5): On 18 March 2021, the U.S. Embassy in Bamako issued a Security Alert, which reads in part as follows: “The U.S. Embassy in Mali has received information indicating that a terrorist attack in Bamako may be imminent, possibly targeting diplomatic facilities or relatively vulnerable targets, such as hotels.

“The Department of State’s travel advisory for Mali recommends that U.S. citizens do not travel to Mali due to COVID-19, crime, terrorism, and kidnapping.”

Pakistan (Security threat level – 5): On 19 March 2021, the U.S. Embassy in Islamabad issued a Security Alert, which reads in part as follows: “Pakistan Day is a national public holiday celebrated on March 23. Events such as large military parades and rehearsals prior to March 23 may significantly affect traffic and cell phone coverage in Islamabad. The Pakistan Day Parade is scheduled for 10:00 AM on March 23 – preparations may begin as early as 5:00 AM. Several dress rehearsals will be held throughout the weekend. The U.S. Embassy reminds U.S. citizens that large gatherings and rallies can result in increased police and military presence, traffic delays, street closures, and cell phone disruptions.”

Slovakia (Security threat level – 2): On 18 March 2021, the U.S. Embassy in Bratislava issued a Security Alert, which reads in part as follows: “The U.S. Embassy is tracking the potential for demonstrations from March 19-21. While the demonstrations are expected to be directed at the Slovak government and are not anti-U.S. in nature, given the current government crisis and past protests, there is potential for impact on the Embassy community. The protests are in violation of the Slovak Government’s COVID-19 restrictions and do not have government approval. Recent similar unauthorized protests involved several thousand demonstrators, including members of the SNS and LSNS political parties and hooligan groups, and have led to violent clashes with police.

“The U.S. Embassy does not yet have an estimate on the number of demonstrators or the potential for violence, but clashes with police are possible. It is working with Slovak law enforcement and security partners to gather additional information.

“Announced primary gathering points:

  • Namestie Slobody: Friday, March 19, starting at 14:00
  • National Council: Saturday, March 20, starting at 14:00
  • Namestie Slobody: Sunday, March 21, starting at 14:00

“Demonstrators will likely be present in and around other areas of Bratislava, including, but not limited to, the neighborhoods near:

  • Old Town
  • Presidential Palace/Hodzovo Square
  • Parliament/Alexandra Dubceka Square
  • Namestie Slobody
  • Prime Minister’s Office
  • All Slovak government office buildings
  • U.S. Embassy
  • Bratislava Castle.”