AMERICAS Argentina / Jamaica / Panama (Security threat levels –...
Costa Rica (Security threat level – 3): On 23 March 2021, authorities announced that Costa Rica’s land borders with Nicaragua and Panama will reopen for tourism purposes beginning on 5 April. Travelers will be required to complete an online Health Pass form within 48 hours prior to arrival and possess proof of valid international health insurance with COVID-19 coverage for potential testing; insurance from a Costa Rican provider is also available for purchase. Costa Rica’s land borders have been closed for nonessential travel since March 2020.
Paraguay (Security threat level – 3): On 24 March 2021, authorities announced that additional coronavirus-related restrictions will be imposed during Holy Week, which runs from 27 March to 4 April. A countrywide nightly curfew will be in effect from 2000 to 0500 local time (2300 to 0800 UTC). Residents must also remain home during daytime hours except for visits to essential businesses such as pharmacies, supermarkets, health care centers and government buildings. Nonessential stores will be allowed to offer delivery services only, but may operate 24 hours a day. Schools and universities may only hold virtual classes. Police officers and soldiers will be deployed to enforce the new restrictions, which are meant to limit the spread of COVID-19 in light of Paraguay’s hospital system being on the verge of collapsing from high numbers of COVID-19 cases.
North Korea (Security threat level – 3): Shortly after 0700 local time on 25 March 2021 (2200 UTC on 24 March), the North Korean military test-fired two short-range ballistic missiles from the Hamju area of the northeastern South Hamgyong province. South Korea’s Joint Chiefs of Staff stated that the two projectiles, which were launched within an interval of approximately 20 minutes, traveled nearly 450 km (280 mi) and reached an altitude of up to 60 km before landing in the East Sea outside of the Japanese exclusive economic zone. The exact type of missiles that were fired is currently unknown. There were no reports of damage. This was the first such ballistic missile test since 28 March 2020, when the North Korean military fired two missiles from the port city of Wonsan, which flew about 225 km before landing in the East Sea.
Belgium (Security threat level – 3): On 24 March 2021, authorities announced that heightened coronavirus-related restrictions will be in effect from 27 March to 24 April. Schools and hair salons must close, with schools scheduled to reopen on 19 April. Residents may shop at nonessential stores by appointment only. The nightly curfew — which is in effect in the capital Brussels from 2200 to 0500 local time (2100 to 0400 UTC), and elsewhere from 0000 to 0500 local time — will remain in place. Gatherings may only have a maximum of four attendees.
Cyprus (Security threat level – 2): On 25 March 2021, authorities announced that travelers from Lebanon will be permitted to arrive at Cypriot airports beginning on 1 April. Individuals coming from Lebanon must follow the coronavirus-related entry requirements in place for high-risk countries, which include displaying proof of negative results from a PCR test taken within 72 hours prior to arrival. Travelers must also register online for a Cyprus Flight Pass within 24 hours before travel.
Egypt (Security threat level – 4): As of the afternoon hours of 25 March 2021, the Suez Canal remains blocked in both directions after a Panama-flagged cargo ship — operated by a major Taiwanese shipping firm — ran aground diagonally in the canal on 23 March. Officials from a Dutch salvage company announced that they are sending equipment and personnel to aid in the recovery effort. The salvage company’s chief executive officer stated that efforts to remove the vessel could take several days or possibly weeks. Reports indicate that dozens of cargo vessels and oil tankers are waiting on both sides of the canal to pass through the waterway. The Taiwanese firm stated that strong winds overwhelmed the vessel — which is nearly 400 m (1,312 ft) long and 59 meters wide — when it entered the canal; winds of up to 50 kph (30 mph) were recorded in the area at the time of the incident.
Mauritania (Security threat level – 4): On 25 March 2021, security forces arrested an individual at Nouakchott-Oumtounsy International Airport (GQNO/NKC) after he had hijacked an unoccupied Mauritania Airlines aircraft. During the standoff, the hijacker threatened to blow up the aircraft, but authorities have not reported finding any explosives. The hijacker’s motive remains unclear, but authorities claim that he had a grievance against Mauritania, and the incident does not appear to be connected to international terrorism. There were no reports of disruptions at the facility or damage to the aircraft.
Analyst Comment: The attempted hijacking at Nouakchott-Oumtounsy International Airport is the first major security incident at the facility since it opened in 2016, and it raises questions about the attentiveness of Mauritanian security forces. The effects of the event on the facility are still unclear, as commercial flights to and from Mauritania are already limited due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Mozambique (Security threat level – 4): On 24 March 2021, Islamist militants attacked Palma, a town located in the northern Cabo Delgado province. Local sources indicate that the militants attacked a hotel, banks, stores and barracks of the riot police in the town. Government soldiers engaged the assailants and reportedly retook control of the town in the early hours of 25 March. Reports of casualties or damage have yet to emerge. Militants affiliated with the Islamic State group have largely retained control of the nearby port town of Mocimboa da Praia since August 2020. The attack occurred shortly after the French oil company Total announced plans to resume operations at a key liquified natural gas (LNG) project, located on the Afungi Peninsula in the same province; operations at the project were suspended in January following several attacks near the facility.
Somalia (Security threat level – 5): At approximately 1030 local time (0730 UTC) on 25 March 2021, al-Shabab militants fired as many as eight mortar rounds toward Mogadishu’s Halane base camp — the headquarters of the U.N. and African Union peacekeeping forces — which houses several Western diplomatic missions. A local police official stated that several mortar rounds landed in a residential neighborhood near Aden Adde International Airport (HCMM/MGQ), located adjacent to the base. At least three people were killed and five others were wounded. Mortar shells also reportedly landed in and near the airport facility but there have been no reports of damage. The presidents of Jubaland and Puntland were holding a meeting at the base at the time of the attack.
Democratic Republic Of The Congo (Security threat level – 4): On 24 March 2021, the U.S. Embassy in Kinshasa issued a Security Alert regarding potential attacks and kidnappings, which reads in part as follows:
“Location: Garamba National Park, Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC)
“Event: Armed groups may attack or kidnap foreign nationals in Garamba National Park. We advise U.S. citizens to not travel to Haut-Uele Province in the Travel Advisory for the DRC.
“Actions to Take: