AMERICAS Argentina / Jamaica / Panama (Security threat levels –...
Brazil / Lesser Antilles (Security threat levels – 3 / 1): As of 4 March 2021, local governments in Brazil are imposing new coronavirus-related restrictions amid a countrywide spike in new COVID-19 cases and record high hospitalization levels. In the city of Rio de Janeiro, authorities are set to impose new restrictions during 5-11 March. Nightclubs, street vendor operations, fairs and concert halls will all be required to close. Restaurants and bars will be allowed to operate from 0600 to 1700 local time (0900-2000 UTC) for delivery services only. In the state of São Paulo, the governor announced that the entire state will be downgraded to the most restrictive phase of the state’s quarantine measures during 6-19 March. The red phase only allows operations of essential businesses — which include entities in health, transport and media, as well as bakeries, markets and pharmacies. All other entertainment and hospitality venues, such as parks, gyms, bars, museums and cinemas, are to remain closed. The state recorded 468 new coronavirus-related deaths on 2 March, the highest death toll since the beginning of the pandemic. Additionally, the state is experiencing its highest COVID-19 hospitalization rate to date.
On 3 March authorities in the Turks and Caicos Islands extended restrictions imposed to curb the spread of COVID-19 until 17 March. A nightly curfew from 2300 to 0500 local time (0400-1600 UTC) is in effect across all islands. During the curfew period, individuals are required to remain at their place of residence, except for those engaged in essential travel to attain medical care, essential workers traveling to and from work, and individuals traveling to and from the airport for international flights. Additionally, all public and private gatherings are banned, while businesses are limited to 30% capacity.
Guatemala (Security threat level – 4): On 3 March 2021, an eruption of the Pacaya Volcano, located nearly 50 km (30 mi) south of the capital Guatemala City, emitted plumes of ash up to 3,700 m (12,000 ft) into the sky and prompted authorities to warn of potential incandescent volcanic blocks that may affect nearby areas. While government officials have not yet ordered evacuations, they project that the towns of Calderas, El Cedro, El Patrocinio, El Rodeo, and Los Jazmines San Francisco de Sales could be affected by pyroclastic materials flowing from the crater. Authorities have closed routes leading to the municipalities of San Vicente Pacaya and Villa Canales and are verifying the availability of potential shelters if evacuation becomes necessary. There have been no reports of disruptions at Guatemala City’s Aurora International Airport (MGGT/GUA) due to the volcanic eruption. The volcano has been experiencing increased activity since 5 February.
Myanmar (Security threat level – 4): On 4 March 2021, large-scale protests against the 1 February military takeover continued in Myanmar, despite a notable escalation in the use of lethal force on protesters the previous day. In the capital Naypyitaw, security personnel fired shots into the air and used rubber bullets on protesters in Pyinmana township, located approximately 15 km (9 mi) east of the capital. In Yangon, thousands of protesters gathered in multiple areas; security personnel used tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse protesters near Hledan Junction Skyway, as well as in Sanchaung and Ahlon townships. Additionally, thousands of people participated in a funeral procession for one of the protesters killed in Mandalay on 3 March. While there were no reports of significant injuries or deaths on 4 March, more than 50 people have been killed during protests following the coup, including 38 people who were reportedly killed the previous day.
New Zealand (Security threat level – 1): At 0227 local time on 5 March 2021 (1327 UTC on 4 March), a 6.9 magnitude earthquake struck 238 km (148 mi) east of Gisborne on North Island at a depth of 10 km, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. There were reports of shaking throughout North Island and the northern half of South Island, but there was no immediate information regarding possible casualties or damage. According to the U.S. Pacific Tsunami Warning Center, tsunami waves of between 0.3 and 1 meters (1 and 3.2 ft) are possible for some coastal areas of the country. Similarly, New Zealand’s National Emergency Management Agency advised that anyone residing along coastal areas who felt strong or long tremors should immediately move to higher ground as a precaution, and issued a Tsunami Warning for areas of North Island between Cape Runaway and Tolaga Bay. The agency also added that the tsunami threat will persist for several hours. The earthquake’s magnitude initially registered as 7.3, but was revised shortly afterward to a 6.9.
Analyst Comment: Authorities do not anticipate any significant damage or casualties from the earthquake. However, the potential for tsunami waves and/or unpredictable currents along coastal areas are expected to persist for at least several hours. Once authorities have determined that the threat has passed, the National Emergency Management Agency will rescind its warning.
Saudi Arabia (Security threat level – 3): On 4 March 2021, Yemen-based Houthi rebels claimed that they launched a ballistic missile targeting a Saudi Aramco oil refinery in the port city of Jeddah. Saudi officials have not commented on the strike, but officials had briefly diverted air traffic away from Jeddah’s King Abdulaziz International Airport (OEJN/JED). Separately, Saudi authorities claimed that their air defenses intercepted Houthi missiles in the cities of Jizan and Khamis Mushait. There were no reports of casualties or damage on the ground.
Nigeria (Security threat level – 5): On 4 March 2021, the Zamfara state government declared a dusk-to-dawn curfew in the town of Jangebe. The curfew order follows an outbreak of violence the previous day during the reunification of recently released students who were kidnapped from a school in the area. The violence began when the parents of the students attempted to breach a hall where their children were being held while government officials made speeches. Individuals also reportedly threw stones at government officials, while security forces responded with tear gas and live ammunition. At least one person was killed and several others were injured in the event.
Belize (Security threat level – 3): On 3 March 2021, the U.K. Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) issued updated travel advice for Belize, which reads in part as follows: “If you can provide proof of having received two full doses of COVID-19 vaccine on arrival at the airport, you will be exempt from any testing on arrival.”
Greece (Security threat level – 3): On 4 March 2021, the U.S. mission in Greece issued a Demonstration Alert, which reads in part as follows: “Activist groups have increased the frequency of protests in support of convicted murderer and 17th November (“N17”) terrorist, Dimitris Koufontinas. These protests are resulting in greater acts of violence against Hellenic National Police and Government of Greece facilities, and are likely to continue. In the past, some demonstrations have turned violent and led to the destruction of property. There is a potential for tear-gas and anti-riot engagement between police and demonstrators.
“U.S. government personnel and U.S. citizens are advised to avoid the areas of Athens and Thessaloniki where protests and violence have been occurring with greater frequency, as described below.
“ATHENS: Protests have been taking place in multiple areas of Athens, including Omonia, Exarchia, Monistaraki Square, Syntagma Square, and Propylaia. Exercise greater caution as well around Hellenic National Police buildings, courts, and universities.
“THESSALONIKI: Protests have been taking place in multiple areas of Thessaloniki, including Venizelos Statue, Aristotle University, and the White Tower. Exercise greater caution as well around the Arch of Galerius, the Ministry of Macedonia & Thrace, and Aristotelous Square.”
Malaysia (Security threat level – 3): On 4 March 2021, the U.K. Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) issued updated travel advice regarding coronavirus-related movement restrictions, which reads in part as follows: “A Recovery Movement Control Order is in place until 31 March 2021. Additional restrictions are in place across Malaysia, except in parts of Sarawak. You should observe social distancing (1 metre).
“You must wear a face mask in crowded public spaces, including on public transport, in shops, markets, tourist destinations, and cinemas.
“To enter many facilities, your temperature will be taken, and they will record your personal contact details.
“A curfew is in place for all businesses, including shops and food outlets.
“You must carry your passport at all times.
“You should follow local news for updates.
“If you are found to be in breach of any of the operating procedures in place you may be detained and fined.”
Somalia (Security threat level – 5): On 4 March 2021, the U.S. Embassy in Mogadishu issued a Demonstration Alert, which reads in part as follows: “Demonstrations are expected to take place on Saturday, March 6, 2021, at the Daljirka Dahsoon Monument in Mogadishu. Somalia’s opposition presidential candidates have called for protests against President of Somalia Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed “Farmaajo” and delays to the country’s electoral process. Given the risk of violent crime and civil unrest, U.S. citizens should avoid these demonstrations and any demonstration-related activities.”