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May 14, 2021


Brazil (Security threat level – 3): Overnight on 13-14 May 2021, thousands of people gathered in Brazilian cities to protest racism and police violence, a week after an anti-narcotrafficking police operation left 28 people dead in a favela in Rio de Janeiro. Protesters marched along avenida Rio Branco, near Cinelândia, a major public square in central Rio de Janeiro, holding candles as well as signs decrying racism and the high-profile police operation in Jacarezinho favela on 6 May. In São Paulo, approximately 7,000 demonstrators gathered on Avenida Paulista, where they protested racism and police violence. In the capital Brasilia, protesters gathered near the presidential palace; activists note that President Jair Bolsonaro’s tweet congratulating Rio’s police force for the Jacarezinho operation has angered residents. Traffic was disrupted near the protest locations in the city centers. There were isolated clashes between protesters and police officers, although there were no reports of injuries or arrests.

Analyst Comment: The U.N. has called for an investigation into the 6 May military police operation. Residents have accused security personnel of abuses during the raid, including the deployment of helicopters and a contingent of about 200 heavily armed police officers who descended on Jacarezinho favela — one of the city’s largest slums — which is largely controlled by one of the country’s leading criminal gangs, Comando Vermelho, or Red Command. Human rights experts claim that in 2019, a reported total of 6,357 people were killed at the hands of police nationwide.

Colombia (Security threat level – 4): On 13 May 2021, protests in relation to a now-annulled tax proposal continued in Barranquilla, Cali and other cities. In Barranquilla, police officers used tear gas and stun grenades to disperse protesters near Romelio Martinez stadium and the surrounding area. In the city of Buga, police officers forcibly dispersed demonstrators near the Civil Defense headquarters. Protests occurred in areas throughout the city of Cali. Blockades constructed by protesters also caused significant traffic disruptions throughout the city. Media reports indicate gasoline and food shortages are ongoing in the city of Cali due to ongoing unrest.


Japan (Security threat level – 1): On 14 May 2021, government officials announced that they will expand existing states of emergency to include Hokkaido, Hiroshima and Okayama prefectures from 16 May until 31 May due to rising COVID-19 infection rates. The government will also place Gunma, Ishikawa and Kumamoto prefectures under quasi-emergency measures from 16 May until 13 June. Under the state of emergency, restaurants, bars and other locations that serve alcohol will be asked to cease operations. Meanwhile, large department stores and shopping malls will be asked to reduce operating hours. Prefectural governors are authorized to implement tighter restrictions if required. Under the quasi-emergency, governors may designate individual municipalities to impose restrictions.


Portugal / United Kingdom (Security threat levels – 2 / 3): On 14 May 2021, the Portuguese minister of foreign affairs announced that U.K. tourists will be allowed to enter Portugal as of 17 May. This measure follows a decision in April to allow individuals to enter Portugal from the U.K. for work and education purposes. Previously, Portugal suspended all but humanitarian and repatriation flights to and from the U.K. on 28 January to prevent the spread of an identified COVID-19 variant. All individuals seeking to enter Portugal are required to obtain a negative result from a COVID-19 PCR test taken within 72 hours before departure.


Israel / Palestinian Territories (Security threat levels – 4 / 4): On 14 May 2021, Hamas and other militant groups continued to launch rockets and drones at towns in central Israel and along the Gaza-Israel border, while the Israeli Defense Force (IDF) continued to target locations in the Gaza Strip such as high-rise towers, houses and government buildings with airstrikes and ground fire. Most of the rockets were intercepted by Israeli missile defenses but some struck houses and other structures in Ashkelon, located approximately 10 km (6 mi) north of the border with Gaza. One impact resulted in localized power outages. According to the Palestinian Ministry of Health, at least 119 people have been killed and 830 injured. At least eight people have been killed in Israel.

Multiple media reports indicate that sporadic clashes between Jewish and Arab civilians continue in cities throughout Israel and the West Bank. Clashes continued in cities such as Haifa and Lod with multiple people injured as a result of the clashes. In Lod, a curfew is in effect during 2000-0400 local time (1700-0100 UTC). In the West Bank, unrest occurred at the Jalameh checkpoint located roughly 6 km (4 mi) northeast of the city of Jenin. Israeli police used tear gas and stun grenades to disperse protesters in towns throughout Israel and the West Bank overnight.

In related developments, at approximately 2130 local time (1830 UTC) 13 May 2021, unidentified militants based in Lebanon fired three rockets from southern Lebanon into northern Israel. Reports indicate the rockets landed in an unpopulated area of Upper Galilee, there were no reports of damage or casualties on the ground. No group has claimed responsibility for the attack.


Israel / Palestinian Territories (Security threat levels – 4 / 4): On 13 May 2021, the U.S. Department of State issued an updated Travel Advisory for Israel and the Palestinian territories, increasing the level of advice for Israel to “Level 3 (Reconsider Travel)” from “Level 2 (Exercise increased caution),” citing the threat of armed conflict and civil unrest. The advisory reads in part as follows: “Reconsider travel to Israel due to armed conflict and civil unrest. Exercise increased caution in Israel due to COVID-19, travel restrictions, and quarantine procedures instituted by the Government of Israel.

“Do not travel to the West Bank due to COVID-19, travel restrictions and quarantine procedures instituted by the Palestinian Authority. Do not travel to Gaza due to COVID-19, terrorism, civil unrest, and armed conflict.

“Rockets continue to impact the Gaza periphery and areas across Southern and Central Israel, including Jerusalem.

“There has been a marked increase in protests and violence throughout Israel. Recent incidents of violence include vandalism, rock throwing, burning of vehicles, and attacks on passersby. Protests and violence may continue to occur, some with little or no warning.

“The security environment within Gaza and on its borders is dangerous and volatile. Sporadic mortar and rocket fire and corresponding Israeli military responses continue to occur.”

The full text of the advisory is available here.

Philippines (Security threat level – 4): On 14 May 2021, the U.K. Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) issued updated travel advice regarding movement restrictions, which reads in part as follows: “Measures have been introduced by the Philippine government to prevent the spread of coronavirus; these differ across the country.

“The Community Quarantine level in the National Capital Region (Metro Manila), Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna and Rizal is General Community Quarantine (GCQ) and is in effect until 31 May.

“In these areas, the following ‘heightened’ GCQ restrictions shall be strictly observed and implemented until 31 May:

  1. Only essential travel into and out of the NCR Plus, as provided for under the IATF Omnibus Guidelines on the Implementation of Community Quarantine in the Philippines, as amended, shall be allowed. Public transportation shall remain to be operational at such capacities and protocols in accordance with the guidelines issued by the Department of Transportation. The use of active transportation shall likewise be promoted;
  2. Food preparation establishments such as commissaries, restaurants, and eateries may operate with their indoor dine-in services at the venue or seating capacity of twenty percent (20%), and fifty percent (50%) for al fresco or outdoor dining;
  3. Outdoor tourist attractions may be opened at thirty percent (30%) with strict adherence to minimum public health standards;
  4. Specialized markets of the Department of Tourism (DOT) shall be allowed following minimum public health standards, and implementation of such protocols and restrictions as may be imposed by the DOT;
  5. Religious gatherings and gatherings for necrological services, wakes, inurnment, and funerals for those who died of causes other than COVID-19 shall be allowed up to ten percent (10%) of the venue capacity

“The following areas have also been placed under General Community Quarantine until 31 May:

  • Abra

“The following areas have been placed under Modified Enhanced Community Quarantine until 31 May:

  • The city of Santiago, and Quirino;
  • Ifugao
  • Zamboanga City

“The wearing of face shields while on public and private transport is now mandatory. This includes but is not limited to trains, buses, jeepneys, taxis, boats and ships. The order also includes aeroplanes. You should check with your airline in advance whether they will provide a shield or whether you need to bring your own.”

United States (Security threat level – 2): On 13 May 2021, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued new recommendations for individuals fully inoculated against COVID-19, which reads in part as follows: “If you’ve been fully vaccinated:

  • You can resume activities that you did prior to the pandemic.
  • You can resume activities without wearing a mask or staying 6 feet apart, except where required by federal, state, local, tribal, or territorial laws, rules, and regulations, including local business and workplace guidance.
  • If you travel in the United States, you do not need to get tested before or after travel or self-quarantine after travel.”

The full text of the updated recommendations is available here.