AMERICAS United States (Security threat level – 2): At approximately...
Lesser Antilles (Security threat level – 1): On 8 March 2021, the government of Curaçao extended a nationwide state of emergency imposed due to the COVID-19 pandemic until 6 June. Additionally, the hours of the ongoing nightly curfew have been adjusted to 2200 to 0430 local time (0200-0830 UTC), while face masks remain mandatory in public spaces. Prime Minister Eugene Rhuggenaath stated that the U.K. variant of COVID-19 has been quickly spreading throughout the country, necessitating stricter measures.
Mexico (Security threat level – 4): On 8 March 2021, police officers clashed with demonstrators in several areas of Mexico City, including in the main Zócalo Plaza, as more than 20,000 people gathered to commemorate International Women’s Day. Police officers used tear gas to disperse protesters after they breached the metal barricades surrounding the National Palace. Demonstrators reportedly attacked police officers with Molotov cocktails and hammers, and vandalized buildings — including the National Museum of Art — in the Historic Center district. In addition, demonstrators erected blockades, disrupting vehicular traffic at major intersections. A government official stated that 62 police officers and 19 civilians were injured in the clashes; there were no reports of arrests. Demonstrations also occurred in the states of Oaxaca, Queretaro and Veracruz.
Paraguay (Security threat level – 3): On the evening of 8 March 2021, protests calling for the resignation of President Mario Abdo Benítez occurred in central Asunción, the capital, for a fourth consecutive day. Hundreds of protesters gathered in the vicinity of the National Congress building and the ruling National Republican Association (ANR) headquarters, during which protesters set fires and damaged multiple buildings and vehicles along 25 de Mayo Street. Police officers used tear gas and water cannons to disperse the gathering outside the ANR headquarters after a group of participants threw firecrackers and stones at the officers. Authorities arrested at least 16 people. There were no reports of significant injuries or deaths due to the violence. Protesters are demanding the president’s resignation over allegations of corruption and the government’s perceived mishandling of the COVID-19 pandemic. The main opposition Authentic Radical Liberal Party plans to introduce an impeachment motion against the president in the legislature.
United States (Security threat level – 2): On 8 March 2021, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released interim guidance for individuals fully vaccinated against COVID-19, advising that they can safely gather in small groups with other vaccinated people in indoor settings without maintaining physical distance or wearing face coverings. The CDC also noted that individuals fully inoculated against COVID-19 — 14 days after receiving the second dose of a two-dose vaccine, or the only dose of a single-dose vaccine — may visit unvaccinated individuals from a single household who are at a low risk for COVID-19. The full text of the interim guidance is available here.
China (Security threat level – 3): On 8 March 2021, the Chinese government launched a digital travel health certificate through the social media platform WeChat. The certificate, which is currently only available to Chinese nationals who wish to travel internationally, contains information regarding an individual’s COVID-19 vaccination status as well as results for COVID-19 nucleic acid and antibody tests. The information is accessible via QR code as well as a printable copy. However, it is unknown whether any countries have agreed to accept the health certificate.
Netherlands (Security threat level – 2): On 8 March 2021, Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte extended an ongoing countrywide lockdown through 30 March in a sustained effort to control the spread of COVID-19. The lockdown, initially imposed on 15 December 2020, was further tightened with the implementation of a 2100 to 0430 local time (2000-0330 UTC) nightly curfew as of 23 January 2021; the curfew is now set to remain in effect until the morning of 31 March. During the lockdown, nonessential businesses, as well as educational institutions, museums, theaters and fitness centers, are required to shut down; however, essential businesses — such as grocery stores, pharmacies and banks — are open. All businesses have been permitted to offer curbside pick-up services since 10 February. Outdoor as well as indoor gatherings of more than two people from separate households are prohibited. Additionally, residents are urged to stay indoors as much as possible and avoid all nonessential foreign travel through 15 April. Further details provided by the Dutch government are available here.
Iraq (Security threat level – 5): On the night of 8 March 2021, unidentified militants attacked Shiite pilgrims outside the Imam al-Kadhim Shrine in Baghdad’s Khadhimiyya neighborhood using a hand grenade. Iraqi authorities stated that the grenade was hidden in a trash can on al-Aimah Bridge, which connects the shrine to the rest of the neighborhood. The bombing killed one person and wounded 30 others. No group has claimed responsibility for the attack.
Analyst Comment: The attack occurred during the commemoration of the martyrdom of Imam al-Kadhim and was timed to inflict maximum casualties. Organizations with assets and personnel in Iraq should exercise caution during religious holidays in the country due to the heightened threat of sectarian-motivated attacks.
Senegal (Security threat level – 3): On 8 March 2021, Senegalese President Macky Sall revised the coronavirus-related nightly curfew for the cities of Dakar and Thies amid pressure from business owners to relax restrictions. The curfew in these two cities is now in effect from 0000-0500 local time/UTC. The rest of the country continues to remain under the curfew from 2100-0500 local time.
Senegal (Security threat level – 3): On 8 March 2021, the U.S. Embassy in Dakar issued a Demonstration Alert, which reads in part as follows: “Local political opposition leaders have called for continued large demonstrations throughout Senegal to from Monday, March 8 through Wednesday, March 10.
“U.S. government personnel are advised to stay at home from 5 p.m. today (Monday) until 1:00 p.m. Tuesday, March 9 and to exercise caution and limit their movements at other times.
“Recently, several of these protests have escalated into more violent clashes with law enforcement and resulted in the looting of local businesses. As a result, local businesses, including stores and gas stations, may remain closed for the next few days or only open for brief periods.”
The full text of the alert is available here.