ASIA Afghanistan (Security threat level – 5): At approximately 1400...
Brazil (Security threat level – 3): On 19 May 2021, subway workers in São Paulo commenced a partial work stoppage over a dispute regarding salary and benefits. As of 0700 local time (1000 UTC), multiple subway lines were experiencing disruptions, including Line 1-Blue that was only operating between Ana Rosa and Luz stations; Line 2-Green that was only operating between Alto do Ipiranga and Clinicas; Line 3-Red that was only operating between Bresser-Mooca and Santa Cecilia; and Line 15-Silver, which was completely closed. The 4-Yellow and 5-Lilac lines are expected to run without disruption. Union officials note that subway workers have not had a salary increase in two years and other benefits have been cut during the same period. No end date has been announced for the work stoppage.
Colombia (Security threat level – 4): Nationwide demonstrations over income inequality, police brutality and youth unemployment are expected to continue for a 22nd consecutive day on 19 May 2021. The National Strike Committee continues to call for protests ahead of another round of negotiations with the government on 20 May.
Organizers have scheduled demonstrations to occur at various times in major cities across the country. In the capital Bogotá, demonstrators are planning to gather during the morning at a number of locations, including the Parque Nacional at 0900 local time (1400 UTC), the Monumento de Los Héroes at 0900 local time, Plaza de Bolívar at 1500 local time, National Museum at 0900 local time, Parque El Virrey and La Colina Shopping Center at 1100 local time, the Americas Portal metro station at 0800 and 1200 local time, the North Portal metro station at 0800 local time, District University at 0800 local time and National University at 1000 local time. Demonstrations will also occur at the intersections of South Highway and Sevillana at 0800 local time, Calle 26 and Carrera 30 at 0900 local time and North Highway with Calle 100 at 1100 local time.
In Medellín, demonstrators are expected to gather at the San Javier station at 0700 local time and later march to Parque de Los Deseos. In Cali, protesters plan to gather at the Unidad Deportiva station at 1400 local time and march to the Loma de la Dignidad. In Barranquilla, demonstrations are scheduled to occur at the Rotonda de la bandera en la 17 at 0600 local time and the intersection of Calle Murillo and Carrera 21 at 1500 local time. In Cartagena, demonstrators plan to conduct a sit-in protest to block the Mamonal Industrial Zone for at least 14 hours.
On 18 May 2021, demonstrators clashed with police officers in Bogotá and Caldas. In Bogotá, police officers used water cannons and tear gas to disperse protesters in the vicinity of Portal de las Americas station. In the town of Caldas, police officers deployed stun grenades to disperse protesters as they threw various projectiles at police.
Costa Rica (Security threat level – 3): On 19 May 2021, new nationwide coronavirus-related driving restrictions went into effect until at least 30 May. Vehicles with license plate numbers ending with an even digit can circulate from 0500 to 2100 local time (1100 to 0300 UTC) on 20, 22, 24, 26, 28 and 30 May, while vehicles with license plate numbers ending with an odd digit can circulate from 0500 to 2100 local time on 19, 21, 23, 25, 27 and 29 May. Exceptions are in place for cargo, rental and public transport vehicles, individuals commuting to work, utility service vehicles and for those in transit to or from international airports.
Mexico / United States (Security threat levels – 4 / 2): On 18 May 2021, Mexican officials stated that U.S. authorities have informed them that the closure of the U.S. land border with Mexico to nonessential travel will be extended through 21 June. Individuals involved in cross-border trade and transport are exempt, as are other “essential” personnel — including health care staff and emergency officials — and anyone who transits the border daily for work or to obtain basic necessities, such as food or medicine. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security is expected to issue a formal declaration announcing the extension of the U.S. land border closures with Canada and Mexico, as the current closures are scheduled to end on 21 May.
Taiwan (Security threat level – 1): On 18 May 2021, officials with the Central Epidemic Command Center (CECC) announced that new entry restrictions for foreign travelers will be in effect from 19 May until 18 June in response to a recent rise in local COVID-19 cases. Under the order, travelers who do not have a valid alien resident certificate or resident visa will be prohibited from entering the country. Additionally, all transit flights will be banned during this period. Humanitarian and emergency exceptions will be made on a case-by-case basis.
In related developments, CECC officials also announced Level 3 restrictions – the second highest level on a four-tier scale – will be in effect during 19-28 May. As part of the restrictions, face masks are mandatory in all outdoor public areas, nonessential businesses are advised to close and private gatherings are limited to a maximum of five people; outdoor gatherings may have a maximum of 10 attendees.
Israel / Palestinian Territories / Lebanon (Security threat levels – 4 / 4 / 4): Conflict between Hamas — in alignment with other militant groups — and the Israeli Defense Force (IDF) continued on 19 May 2021, as militants launched rockets toward cities and towns throughout southern and central Israel, including Be’er Sheva, Ashdod and Ashkelon, as well along the Israel-Gaza border. At least one rocket landed in a vacant lot in Ashdod, but there were no reports of casualties. Earlier on 18 May, Palestinian militants launched rocket attacks on military bases in Israel, including Palmachim and Tel Nof, located in southern and central Israel, respectively. There were no reports of casualties. Meanwhile, the IDF conducted airstrikes against targets in the Gaza Strip, including tunnels, government buildings and rocket launch sites, as well as the homes of various senior Hamas officials; however, Palestinian officials have not provided updated casualty figures.
In addition to the rocket attacks by Gaza-based militants, on 19 May unidentified militants based in southern Lebanon fired four rockets toward cities in northern Israel. Reports indicate that Israeli air defenses intercepted one rocket over the city of Haifa, while another landed in an unpopulated area. The remaining two rockets landed in the ocean off the coast of Israel. There were no reports of casualties or damage on the ground. Israeli forces are responding to the attack with artillery fire. No group has claimed responsibility for the attack.
Internal unrest also continued in the West Bank. In the town of Anata, Israeli police deployed tear gas and stun grenades during clashes with Palestinian protesters. The Gaza Ministry of Health stated that at least 219 people have been killed and at least 1,350 others have been injured since the conflict began. Gaza-based militants have fired at least 3,750 rockets since the onset of hostilities. According to Israeli officials, at least 550 of those were failed launches that fell into the Gaza Strip.
Saudi Arabia (Security threat level – 3): On 19 May 2021, Health Ministry officials announced new coronavirus-related measures to encourage vaccinations due to the increasing availability of COVID-19 vaccines in the kingdom. Beginning on 1 August, only vaccinated individuals may attend commercial, cultural, economic, entertainment, scientific, social or sporting events in the kingdom. Immunization will also be mandatory for individuals desiring to enter government or private facilities, regardless of purpose. The Tawakkalna app will be used to check the vaccination status of citizens and residents before they attend an event or enter a facility.
Chad (Security threat level – 5): On 18 May 2021, the U.S. Embassy in N’Djamena issued a Demonstration Alert, which reads in part as follows: “Demonstrations may occur in N’Djamena and in other places in Chad on Wednesday, May 19. The times and specific locations are not known. Government security forces have deployed tear gas to disperse past protests. There has been gunfire at prior demonstrations resulting in injuries and deaths. Protests and demonstrations may continue in the coming weeks.”
The full text of the alert is available here.
Greece (Security threat level – 3): On 18 May 2021, U.S. Mission Greece issued a Health Alert, which reads in part as follows: “Greek authorities have loosened several movement restrictions, effective May 14, 2021, including the following changes:
“For air or ferry travel to Greek islands, all travelers ages 5 years and older must provide:
“For tests administered by a health professional, documentation of negative results must be provided either electronically or on paper. Self-test results must be reported either electronically via the https://self-testing.gov.gr/ website or by printing and filling out the Self-Test Declaration form.
“During nighttime curfew hours between 12:30am and 5:00am, movements outside the home are restricted only to work, health (with prior appointment), and pet care. Individuals circulating during curfew for the above reasons must carry movement permits as described at https://forma.gov.gr/en/.”
The full text of the alert is available here.
Lesser Antilles (Security threat level – 1): On 19 May 2021, the U.K. Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) issued updated travel advice for Grenada, which reads in part as follows:
“The State of Emergency has been extended to November 2021. Local regulations are in place to limit the spread of COVID-19. These were amended on 17 February to include a curfew restricting freedom of movement from 12pm to 4am, closure of businesses by 10pm, a limit on social gatherings, funerals and weddings to 20 persons, mandatory face covering in all public spaces, physical distancing, and no eating or drinking on public transport. No visits are allowed to places of quarantine or self-isolation, to see prison detainees, nor to elderly nursing and care homes. Anyone with flu like symptoms must notify the police. Details can be found in press releases with regular updates on GIS Facebook page or Ministry of Health Facebook page.”
Luxembourg (Security threat level – 1): On 18 May 2021, the U.K. Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) issued updated travel advice for Luxembourg, which reads in part as follows: “The Luxembourg government has shortened the curfew, and people are now required to remain at home from midnight to 6am. Outings during these hours are only permitted in certain specified circumstances; these can be accessed with further details on the Luxembourg government website. “