ASIA China (Security threat level – 3): On 23 November...
Colombia (Security threat level – 4): On 10 May 2021, the mayor of Bogotá revised the city’s coronavirus-related curfew. Under the revised measure, which is effective as of 11 May, all businesses must close at 2200 local time (0300 UTC) and there will be a general curfew from 2300-0400 local time. Colleges, universities and other educational institutions may gradually resume operations. Additionally, weekend quarantines and “pico and cédula” movement restrictions no longer apply in Bogotá. The mayor did not state why the curfew was loosened, as the occupancy of Intensive Care Unit (ICU) beds in the country has risen to 95%.
Colombia (Security threat level – 4): Nationwide demonstrations over a now-annulled tax proposal are expected to continue for a 14th consecutive day on 11 May 2021. The National Strike Committee called for nationwide protest marches on 12 May after negotiations between President Ivan Duque and representatives of the U.N. and the Catholic Church concluded on 10 May with no resolution. According to Colombia’s high commissioner for peace, the government and representatives of the National Strike Committee are in contact to establish a new round of negotiations. Although the government’s now-annulled tax proposal spurred the demonstrations, organizers are now demanding government action on poverty, unemployment and police brutality. According to the Ombudsman’s Office of Colombia, at least 27 people have been killed since demonstrations began on 28 April; however, nine of the fatalities were unrelated to demonstrations.
On 10 May 2021, demonstrations and clashes occurred in the cities of Bogotá and Cali. In the capital Bogotá, police officers deployed tear gas to disperse protesters who had gathered at the Portal de Las Américas metro station, injuring several demonstrators. In Cali, a clash between police officers and demonstrators in the Siloe suburb resulted in injury to 22 people. According to police officials, approximately 13,000 people participated in demonstrations across Colombia on 10 May.
Costa Rica (Security threat level – 3): On 10 May 2021, authorities imposed additional coronavirus-related measures in response to the saturation of health care facilities by COVID-19 patients. While businesses can still operate from 0500 to 2100 local time (1100 to 0300 UTC), stricter limits on attendees have been announced for social, religious and work events. Social gatherings are limited to a maximum of 30 people, while religious and work events can have up to 200 and 150 attendees, respectively. National parks may operate at 50% capacity, hotels with accommodations for over 100 people must operate at 75% capacity, and public transport cannot accept passengers for standing room only. Nationwide vehicle restrictions remain in place.
Peru (Security threat level – 3): On 10 May 2021, the Peruvian government extended the nationwide state of emergency imposed to curb the spread of COVID-19 until 31 May. Under Peru’s tier-based restrictions, the country is divided into extreme, very high and high tiers. Under the extreme tier, which includes the capital Lima, a nightly curfew is in effect from 2100 to 0400 local time (0200-0900 UTC) Monday through Saturday and all day on Sundays. Only essential workers are permitted to leave their residences during curfew hours. In the very high tier, a nightly curfew is in effect from 2100 to 0400 local time and the circulation of private vehicles is banned on Sundays. Meanwhile, under the high tier, a nightly curfew is in effect from 2200-0400 local time and the circulation of private vehicles is banned on Sundays.
Taiwan (Security threat level – 1): On 11 May 2021, authorities imposed more stringent restrictions in response to increasing numbers of local COVID-19 cases with unknown origins. Under the order, outdoor gatherings are limited to 500 attendees while indoor gatherings are restricted to a maximum of 100 people until at least 8 June. Eating and drinking aboard trains is also banned during the same period, and rail services will no longer sell non-reserved tickets. The new measures follow a government announcement the previous day ordering all pilots of state-owned national air carrier China Airlines to quarantine for 14 days after a recent cluster of COVID-19 cases was linked to China Airlines pilots. However, pilots will reportedly be separated into two groups for isolation in order for the airline to maintain some services.
United Kingdom (Security threat level – 3): Authorities in England are set to introduce a traffic-light system for foreign travel beginning on 17 May 2021. The upcoming traffic-light system will replace the current coronavirus-related ban on nonessential overseas travel from England and categorize countries into one of three groupings — green, amber or red — depending on the severity of the COVID-19 outbreak in each country, while also taking into account the vaccination rate of the location. Residents of England can visit locations on the green list without needing to quarantine upon return, although travelers will be required to display proof of negative results from a COVID-19 PCR test taken no more than 72 hours prior to arrival in England. Officials maintain that residents should avoid traveling as tourists to countries in the amber and red groupings. A full list of the countries and their groupings within the three categories and corresponding restrictions for returning to England can be viewed here.
Israel (Security threat level – 3): As of 1500 local time (1200 UTC) on 11 May 2021, Hamas and Islamic Jihad militants have fired over 300 rockets from Gaza into Israel since 1800 local time on 10 May and the barrage is ongoing. Rockets have landed in Ashkelon and Ashdod, causing varying degrees of damage. Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) officials have instructed residents in the city of Ashkelon to remain in public bomb shelters until further notice, after rockets hit two residential buildings and a school in the city. Members of the IDF have responded with at least 140 airstrikes against locations believed to be sites for manufacturing and storing rockets, along with training and military complexes and the home of a battalion commander in the Gaza strip. At least 26 Palestinians have been killed in the airstrikes, while at least two Israeli civilians have been killed and 31 others injured by rockets fired from the Gaza strip into Israel. The Israeli minister of defense authorized the IDF to call up 5,000 reserve soldiers to assist in quelling the unrest, which is likely to continue, as both Hamas and the IDF have promised further retaliation.
In related news, at least 700 Palestinians were hurt during clashes with Israeli security personnel at the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound in Jerusalem and across the West Bank, and Arab communities across Israel held demonstrations in opposition to recent Israeli actions against Palestinians.
Saudi Arabia (Security threat level – 3): On 10 May 2021, Saudi authorities announced that they will impose an institutional quarantine requirement for unvaccinated travelers in an effort to slow the spread of COVID-19. The measure will go into effect on 20 May and will require unvaccinated travelers to quarantine in a government-run facility for seven days upon arrival in the country. Once in quarantine, travelers will be required to take a PCR test on the first and seventh days. Vaccinated travelers, Saudi citizens, domestic workers, flight crews and diplomatic officials are exempt from the quarantine requirement.
Kenya / Somalia (Security threat levels – 4 / 5): On 10 May 2021, the Kenyan government suspended international flights with Somalia, for three months effective 11 May to 9 August, via a Notice to Airmen (NOTAM) issued by the Kenya Civil Aviation Authority (KCAA). Exemptions are in place for humanitarian aid, medical evacuation, and military flights, which are not under the jurisdiction of the KCAA. The move came one week after the governments reopened diplomatic channels — which had been closed in December 2020 due to Kenya’s perceived interference in internal Somali affairs — and signals continued poor relations between the two nations despite the recent reopening of diplomatic channels.
France (Security threat level – 3): On 11 May 2021, the U.S. Embassy in Paris issued a Demonstration Alert, which reads in part as follows:
“Location: Strasbourg, Council of Europe to the U.S. Consulate General.
“Event: Demonstration expected to take place on May 12, 2021 beginning at 1:00 p.m. The group intends to protest U.S. policy related to Kurdish issues.”