AMERICAS Argentina / Jamaica / Panama (Security threat levels –...
Brazil (Security threat level – 3): On 30 March 2021, the commanders of the Brazilian army, navy and air force met with President Jair Bolsonaro and reportedly tendered their resignations amid continuing instability in Bolsonaro’s administration. Local media reported that never before in Brazilian history had the heads of all three branches of the military resigned out of disagreement with a president. On the previous day, Bolsonaro replaced six of his Cabinet ministers — including the ministers of defense and foreign affairs — in a reshuffle that appears designed to secure greater loyalty as the country struggles with a worsening COVID-19 crisis.
Analyst Comment: Brazil’s health care system is struggling to handle a COVID-19 resurgence, with the country’s death rate nearing 4,000 a day and reports of medicine shortages. Health authorities reported 3,650 deaths on 26 March and more than 100,000 new daily cases of the virus and warned that the country’s daily deaths will rise. Experts have expressed frustration with the slow rate of vaccination, with only 2.1% of citizens fully inoculated. Additionally, reports indicate that most states’ intensive care units are near or at capacity and the country’s supplies of oxygen and sedatives required for intubation in intensive care units are extremely limited.
Ecuador (Security threat level – 3): On 31 March 2021, authorities in the city of Guayaquil imposed new restrictions to curb the spread of COVID-19, which will remain in effect until 10 April. Vehicles will be banned from operating in the city nightly from 1900 to 0500 local time (0000-1000 UTC); emergency vehicles and others conducting essential services, such as public transportation, food delivery and transport to and from airports are exempt from the order. The sale of alcohol will also be banned, while social and corporate events will be limited to no more than 25 people.
United States (Security threat level – 2): On 30 March 2021, the governor of the midwestern U.S. state of South Dakota declared a state of emergency in response to severe drought conditions and ongoing wildfires in the state. Hundreds of firefighters are deployed near Rapid City, the second-largest city in the state, to battle three separate wildfires. The largest blaze near Schroeder Road in the Nemo area — located about 15 mi (25 km) northwest of Rapid City — has prompted evacuation of more than 400 residences since 29 March. As of last report, the blaze has consumed approximately 2,100 acres (850 hectares) of land and destroyed at least one home; the blaze remains 47% contained. An additional two small-scale wildfires are burning to the southwest of Rapid City, one of which has forced officials to shut down Mount Rushmore National Memorial and surrounding roads through 31 March. The fire inside the memorial has consumed 117 acres of land and was threatening 15 structures, including private homes in the area. The third blaze has consumed 15 acres of land. Thus far, there have been no reports of fire-related injuries or deaths.
Indonesia (Security threat level – 4): At approximately 1645 local time (0945 UTC) on 31 March 2021, police officers shot and killed a woman at the National Police headquarters in South Jakarta after she entered the facility and allegedly aimed a pistol at officers. The area around the building has been cordoned off while authorities investigate the event. Officials believe the suspect intended to carry out an act of terrorism. At least one other person who entered the police headquarters with the woman was reportedly arrested. There were no reports of additional casualties.
Niger (Security threat level – 5): At approximately 0300 local time (0200 UTC) on 31 March 2021, heavy gunfire broke out near the presidential palace in central Niamey, the capital, and lasted between 15 and 30 minutes. Media reports, citing anonymous security sources, stated that members of the presidential guard foiled a coup attempt perpetrated by a group of military personnel from a nearby airbase and arrested the group. There were no immediate reports of casualties. A significant number of police officers were deployed to the city center area following the alleged military mutiny, although local reports indicate that routine activities in the area largely resumed by the late morning hours. Government officials have yet to comment on the event, which occurred two days before the scheduled inauguration of President-elect Mohamed Bazoum, a close ally of outgoing President Mahamadou Issoufou.
Honduras (Security threat level – 4): On 30 March 2021, the U.S. Embassy in Tegucigalpa issued a Security Alert, which reads in part as follows: “Event: Demonstrations/strikes regarding the sentencing of Tony Hernandez [a former congressman and brother of President Juan Orlando Hernández] are expected to take place on March 30, 2021 beginning at 4:00 pm by the Diunsa and Banco Atlantida roundabout located on Blvd Centroamerica.
“U.S. citizens are advised to avoid the area. While similar events have remained peaceful in the past, U.S. citizens are reminded to maintain awareness of their surroundings as even peaceful demonstrations may turn violent with little or no notice.”
Myanmar (Security threat level – 4): On 30 March 2021, the U.S. Department of State issued an updated Travel Advisory for Myanmar, which reads in part as follows: “Do not travel to Burma due to COVID-19 as well as areas of civil unrest and armed violence.
“On February 14, the Department authorized the voluntary departure of non-emergency U.S. government employees and their family members. On March 30, the Department updated that status to ordered departure.”
The full text of the Travel Advisory is available here.
Panama (Security threat level – 3): On 30 March 2021, the U.S. Embassy in Panama City issued a Health Alert, which reads in part as follows: “On March 29, the President of Panama issued a decree clarifying the regional COVID-19 restrictions previously announced on March 27.
“Effective March 31, travelers arriving in Panama who have been in or who transited through any country in South America must have a negative COVID test within the last 48 hours. Such travelers will also be tested upon arrival at the expense of the passenger. If the person tests positive, he or she will be transferred directly to a hotel-hospital. If the person tests negative, he or she will follow a 5-days at home-quarantine and will be tested again by MINSA at the end of quarantine.
“The Ministry of Health’s decision to implement the new travel restriction occurred after a resident of Panama, who had recently traveled to South America, tested positive for the new P1 SARS-CoV-2 variant hours after presenting a negative COVID test at the airport.”