AMERICAS Argentina / Jamaica / Panama (Security threat levels –...
Haiti (Security threat level – 4): On 7 March 2021, police officers deployed tear gas to disperse anti-government protesters who had gathered in several areas of the capital Port-au-Prince, after the protesters attempted to breach security barricades erected to prevent the crowd from entering the upscale Pétion-Ville neighborhood. Police officers also deployed tear gas to disperse demonstrators in the Champs-de-Mars park, located in downtown Port-au-Prince, after the protesters began throwing stones at the officers. One demonstrator reportedly suffered gunshot wounds during the clashes. The demonstrators, mostly health care workers, had gathered to express concerns regarding the deteriorating security conditions in Haiti and to demand the resignation of President Jovenel Moïse.
Mexico (Security threat level – 4): On 8 March 2021, more than 100 demonstrations are expected to occur throughout Mexico to coincide with International Women’s Day. In the capital Mexico City, marches are scheduled to begin at 1330 local time (1930 UTC) and 1600 local time at Plaza de la República and in front of the mayor’s office — located adjacent to Zócalo square — respectively. The demonstrations are likely to cause disruptions in the city center area, including along the Paseo de la Reforma thoroughfare, Juarez Avenue and Avenida 5 de Mayo. Mexico City officials have installed steel barriers around the National Palace and closed access to the Zócalo square in anticipation of possible violence. In addition, approximately 2,100 female police officers will be stationed throughout the city.
Thailand / Japan (Security threat levels – 3 / 1): On 8 March 2021, Thai authorities announced that as of an undisclosed date in April, arriving international travelers who provide proof that they have received a COVID-19 vaccine between 14 days and three months prior to entry will be allowed to observe a seven-day quarantine; vaccinated travelers from South Africa will still be required to abide by the existing 14-day quarantine for all other arrivals. Inbound travelers will still be required to provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test taken within 72 hours prior to departure. Furthermore, anyone who receives a vaccine in Thailand as of 21 March may be issued a vaccine certificate for a 100 baht (about 3.26 U.S. dollars) fee to be used as proof of vaccination when traveling abroad. However, acceptance of the certificates may vary by country.
On 5 March the Japanese government extended an existing coronavirus-related state of emergency for Chiba, Kanagawa, Saitama and Tokyo prefectures through 21 March. Under the order, residents are advised to defer all nonessential travel, and bars and restaurants must close by 2000 local time (1100 UTC) daily. Authorities extended the state of emergency, citing concerns regarding a potential resurgence of COVID-19 cases — which are continuing to decrease — if the existing restrictions were lifted.
South Pacific Islands (Security threat level – 1): As of 0000 local time on 8 March 2021 (1300 UTC on 7 March), the French archipelago of New Caledonia is under a coronavirus-related lockdown following the confirmation of nine COVID-19 cases in Nouméa, the capital. During the lockdown, which is currently set to last until 22 March, all nonessential businesses and educational institutions are closed; however, essential businesses — such as gas stations, grocery stores and pharmacies — remain open. Anyone venturing out in public is required to carry an attestation providing justification for their movement. Domestic passenger flights within New Caledonia, as well as flights between the archipelago and Wallis and Futuna, have been suspended. All New Caledonia-bound international passenger flights will be suspended beginning on 12 March. Authorities in New Caledonia believe the community-based transmission in Nouméa is linked to the emergence of COVID-19 in Wallis and Futuna; individuals who have arrived in New Caledonia from Wallis and Futuna since 25 January have been asked to self-isolate and contact health officials. Further details regarding the coronavirus-related restrictions in New Caledonia can be viewed here.
Italy (Security threat level – 3): On 5 March 2021, authorities extended an ongoing entry ban on travelers who have visited or transited the U.K. within the previous 14 days until at least 6 April. Only nationals and residents of Italy are allowed entry after travel to the U.K. Travelers who are permitted to enter are required to present a negative COVID-19 PCR test taken within 48 hours of entry, take a second test upon arrival and self-isolate for 14 days.
Romania (Security threat level – 2): On 7 March 2021, approximately 3,000 demonstrators rallied outside the Palace of the Parliament in central Bucharest, the capital city, to protest COVID-19 vaccinations and tightened coronavirus-related restrictions. The protest occurred after authorities announced rigid restrictions in the cities of Bucharest and Timisoara for a period of 14 days during 8-22 March. Most indoor areas of nonessential businesses are closed, and residents must fill out an official form stating the reason for being outdoors. An existing nationwide nightly curfew remains in place from 2300-0600 local time (2100-0400 UTC). The new restrictions were instituted after infection rates in the two aforementioned cities rose above three cases per 1,000 persons over a 14-day period.
United Kingdom (Security threat level – 3): As of 8 March 2021, individuals traveling abroad from England are required to complete a declaration form prior to travel and carry on their person a printed copy or electronic version of the completed form as part of the government’s efforts to control the spread of COVID-19. Airlines, train operators and ferry service providers are required to check that the form has been completed before permitting passengers to proceed with their overseas trips. Individuals under 18 years of age are exempt from completing the declaration form. Police officials are stepping up random checks to ensure that the travel is being undertaken for legally valid reasons, such as for school, work, or other essential activities. Those without the completed form could face an initial fine of 200 British pounds (nearly 277 U.S. dollars), with a maximum fine of up to 6,400 pounds. Authorities initially enacted the requirement to declare a reason for overseas travel with the introduction of tougher border controls on 27 January; those found without a valid reason for travel have since been ordered to return home from ports or airports. Both international and domestic travel have remained banned, except for essential reasons, since the coronavirus-related nationwide lockdown was enacted in England on 5 January. Prime Minister Boris Johnson recently outlined a new four-step plan for gradually annulling all existing coronavirus-related restrictions in England by 21 June.
Kuwait / Tunisia / Saudi Arabia (Security threat levels – 2 / 3 / 3): On 8 March 2021, Tunisian authorities reduced coronavirus-related curfew hours and relaxed restrictions for travelers entering the country. The nightly curfew is now in effect from 2200-0500 local time (2100-0400 UTC). Additionally, inbound travelers are no longer required to complete a 14-day quarantine on arrival. Instead, they are required to self-isolate for 48 hours and take a PCR test at the end of the self-isolation period. Travelers will be responsible for scheduling and paying for their PCR test.
On 7 March Kuwaiti authorities imposed a nationwide nightly curfew in order to slow the spread of COVID-19 in the country. The curfew — in place from 1700-0500 local time (1400-0200 UTC) — will remain in effect until at least 8 April.
In Saudi Arabia, authorities lifted several coronavirus-related restrictions as of 7 March. Indoor dining in cafes and restaurants has resumed, and entertainment establishments — such as movie theaters, gaming venues and gyms — have reopened. However, large social gatherings, including weddings and banquets, remain banned until further notice, while all other gatherings are limited to a maximum of 20 people.
Lebanon (Security threat level – 4): On 8 March 2021, demonstrators in the capital Beirut temporarily blocked both tunnels on the airport road, disrupting access between the city and Beirut-Rafic Hariri International Airport (OLBA/BEY). Operations at the facility were not disrupted. In addition, protesters blocked roads across Beirut — as well as between the capital and the northern city of Tripoli — in response to worsening economic conditions in the country.
Saudi Arabia (Security threat level – 3): On the evening of 7 March 2021, armed drones and ballistic missiles were launched at oil infrastructure in Saudi Arabia’s Eastern province. According to the Energy Ministry, an explosives-laden drone struck an oil storage facility in the port city of Ras Tanura, and shrapnel from a missile fell near a residential area in the city of Dhahran. Additionally, a ballistic missile was fired toward Saudi Aramco facilities in al-Khobar. There were no reports of damage or casualties due to the attacks. Yemen-based Houthi rebels claimed responsibility for the attacks, but did not provide evidence to support their claim. Saudi authorities allege that the missile and drone attacks originated from the Persian Gulf, indicating possible Iranian involvement in the strikes.
Equatorial Guinea (Security threat level – 3): On the afternoon of 7 March 2021, a series of at least four powerful explosions occurred at a military barracks in the Nkoantoma area of Bata, the largest city in Equatorial Guinea. The blasts destroyed a number of residences in the area and caused damage to buildings across the city. Authorities set up a security cordon in the area, where rescue personnel continue to conduct search operations as of the afternoon hours of 8 March to locate people potentially trapped under the debris. The death toll from the blasts currently remains at 31, and approximately 420 people are hospitalized. The fatality count will likely rise. Authorities have attributed the cause of the blasts to carelessness in the handling and storage of explosive materials by military personnel at the barracks, which caught fire as farmers carried out stubble burning in the adjacent area.
Somalia (Security threat level – 5): On the evening of 5 March 2021, a vehicle-borne improvised explosive device (VBIED) detonated at a popular restaurant located in the Hamar Jajab district in the capital Mogadishu. The explosives-laden vehicle struck the restaurant, which is frequented by government and security officials, causing some nearby residences to collapse. The powerful blast also damaged several other buildings in the area. At least 20 people were killed in the attack and 30 others were wounded. The al-Shabab terrorist group claimed responsibility for the bombing.
Haiti (Security threat level – 4): On 6 March 2021, the U.S. Embassy in Port-au-Prince issued a Security Alert, which reads in part as follows: “U.S. citizens driving vehicles with tinted windows are advised to exercise extreme caution while they circulate throughout Haiti. Darkened windows are frequently associated with vehicles used by kidnappers and this issue may be at the root of a recent attack on a U.S. Embassy employee. Be aware of your surroundings at all times and avoid unnecessary travel.”
Senegal (Security threat level – 3): On 7 March 2021, the U.S. Embassy in Dakar Senegal issued a Demonstration Alert, which reads in part as follows: “Local political opposition leaders have called for large demonstrations throughout Senegal to begin Monday morning, March 8, and continue for several days.
“Recently, several of these protests have escalated into more violent clashes with law enforcement and resulted in the looting of businesses. As a result, some local businesses, including grocery stores and gas stations, may be closed for the next few days.
“U.S. government personnel are advised to stay at home from 6 p.m. today (Sunday) until 5 p.m. Monday, March 8 and to exercise caution and limit their movements at other times.”