AMERICAS Argentina / Jamaica / Panama (Security threat levels –...
Colombia (Security threat level – 4): On 23 March 2021, the governor of the department of Antioquia, which includes the city of Medellín, announced a coronavirus-related nightly curfew and ban on the sale of alcohol from 25 March to 5 April. The nightly curfew will be in effect from 0000 to 0500 local time (0500-1000 UTC). Authorities imposed the measures due to a recent spike in COVID-19 cases in the department.
Guatemala (Security threat level – 4): Flight operations at Guatemala City’s La Aurora International Airport (MGGT/GUA) have resumed as of 0700 local time (1300 UTC) on 24 March 2021, after being suspended for approximately 24 hours due to ashfall from the Pacaya volcano, located nearly 40 km (25 mi) southwest of the airport. The airport reopened after emergency crews and airport workers removed ash particles from the runway and other areas of the facility. At least nine international aircraft were grounded at the facility during the closure, and an inbound flight from the U.S. city of Los Angeles was diverted to El Salvador. The National Coordinator for Disaster Reduction stated that additional ashfall may affect Guatemala City in the coming hours or days if the wind shifts directions.
India (Security threat level – 3): On 23 March 2021, the Directorate General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) extended an existing coronavirus-related ban on all international commercial flights through 30 April. The ban does not apply to cargo aircraft or other international flights approved by the DGCA. Select international commercial flights may be approved by the DGCA on a case-by-case basis. Domestic flights within India are not affected by the DGCA restriction.
Meanwhile, on 24 March authorities in the capital New Delhi ordered randomized COVID-19 tests at all airports, bus stops and train stations in the city amid a notable surge in COVID-19 cases. Local officials are expected to increase surveillance of cinema halls, the metro rail and places of worship to enforce restrictions regarding face masks and maintaining social distancing measures in public spaces. Additionally, all public gatherings to celebrate the upcoming festivals of Holi, Chaitra Navratri and Shab-e-Barat have been banned.
Germany (Security threat level – 3): On 24 March 2021, during a meeting with state leaders, Chancellor Angela Merkel canceled a planned nationwide coronavirus-related lockdown during 1-5 April for the Easter holiday. Under the now-annulled order — which Merkel announced the previous day — most shops would have been required to close, while grocery stores could open only on 3 April. Additionally, all public gatherings would have been banned and no more than five adults from two households would have been permitted to gather at a time. Merkel cited challenges with implementing the plan as a reason for its cancellation. Plans to halt reopenings in locations with 100 new COVID-19 cases per 100,000 inhabitants over a seven-day period remain in effect, and other existing countrywide restrictions are currently scheduled to remain in place until 18 April.
Netherlands (Security threat level – 2): On 23 March 2021, Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte extended an ongoing countrywide lockdown until 20 April in an effort to control a rapid surge of new COVID-19 infections and subsequent hospitalizations. An existing 2100 to 0430 local time (2000-0330 UTC) nightly curfew — which has been in effect since 23 January — will begin an hour later at 2100 local time as of 31 March after daylight saving time goes into effect on 28 March. During the lockdown, essential businesses — such as grocery stores, pharmacies and banks — are allowed to remain open, whereas nonessential businesses — such as bars, cafes and restaurants — are restricted to providing takeout services only. Other nonessential establishments, including museums, theaters and fitness centers, will remain shut down. All businesses have been permitted to offer curbside pick-up services since 10 February. Gatherings of more than two people from separate households are prohibited, both indoors and out. Additionally, residents are now advised to avoid all nonessential foreign travel through 15 May and stay indoors as much as possible. Additional details as outlined by the Dutch government are available here.
Botswana (Security threat level – 2): On 23 March 2021, the government extended the existing nationwide coronavirus-related curfew, which is in effect nightly from 2000-0400 local time (1800-0200 UTC), until at least 31 March. Individuals are required to carry a movement permit during the curfew, proving that they have a valid reason to be outdoors. Large public gatherings in the country remain suspended, with exceptions for funerals, religious gatherings and cultural events, which are permitted with restrictions.
Belarus (Security threat level – 3): On 23 March 2021, the U.S. Embassy in Minsk issued a Security Alert regarding the upcoming Freedom Day holiday on 25 March, which reads in part as follows: “Location: Public areas throughout Minsk and the rest of Belarus.
“Event: The U.S. Embassy reminds U.S. citizens to exercise increased awareness and vigilance March 25-28 regarding potential rallies, assemblies, protests, and demonstrations within the Republic of Belarus in association with Freedom Day, March 25. U.S. citizens are therefore advised to be cautious when moving around the country, and should avoid public demonstrations, large gatherings of people, and other events associated with this unofficial holiday.
“Although the U.S. Embassy is not aware of legally authorized demonstrations or protests, such events may occur spontaneously or with little advanced notice. The Embassy reminds U.S. citizens that authorized or unauthorized gatherings could develop at various locations throughout Minsk or the country.
“The U.S. Embassy reminds U.S. citizens to avoid public demonstrations, to remain aware of their surroundings, and that gatherings intended to be peaceful can quickly become confrontational and escalate into violence. Furthermore, these activities may cause disruptions to public transportation services, traffic delays and/or street closures, and an increased police presence around rally sites.”
Ecuador (Security threat level – 3): On 23 March 2021, the U.K. Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) issued updated travel advice for Ecuador, which reads in part as follows: “Travellers who have had the complete COVID-19 vaccination dose can present their vaccination certificate instead of the negative RT-PCR or Antigen rapid test. Local residents and people qualified as ‘priority attention groups’ such as people over 65 years old, children and pregnant women, are allowed to self-isolate at their homes.”
Ethiopia (Security threat level – 4): On 24 March 2021, the U.S. Embassy in Addis Ababa issued a Health Alert regarding a rise in COVID-19 cases, which reads in part as follows:
“Event: COVID-19 Rates Spiking; Hospital Beds for COVID Patients Full
“Community transmission of the coronavirus in Ethiopia is widespread and accelerating rapidly. Public and private hospitals in Addis Ababa are reporting that their COVID bedspace is full. Life-saving oxygen and medical supplies are difficult to secure. Through March 20, 2021, there have been 185,641 reported cases and 2,647 deaths resulting from COVID-19 in Ethiopia. The 14-day trends of new cases and percent positivity are both increasing drastically. An increase in new cases of 66% percent and an increase in the percent positive by 43% percent were observed over this two-week period.
“The U.S. Embassy is unable to secure a bed or other medical care for American citizens at private or public hospitals, nor can it provide medical care for private citizens. If you must travel to Ethiopia at this time, you should have travel insurance that includes coverage for an air ambulance evacuation in the event you have symptomatic COVID-19. You cannot travel on a commercial airline out of Ethiopia if you are acutely ill with COVID-19. If you are already in Ethiopia, maintain strict COVID mitigation measures, such as frequent hand washing, social distancing in public, avoiding large crowds of any kind, and mask wearing in public places.”
The full text of the alert is available here.
Ukraine (Security threat level – 4): On 24 March 2021, the U.K. Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) issued updated travel advice for Ukraine regarding a new coronavirus-related entry requirement, which reads in part as follows: “From 24 March 2021, non-resident foreign nationals entering Ukraine must undergo a PCR test and receive a negative result no more than 72 hours in advance of their arrival in Ukraine.”