Canada / India / Pakistan (Security threat levels – 2 / 3 / 5): On 21 May 2021, the Canadian government extended an ongoing ban on passenger flights coming from India and Pakistan until 21 June in a continued effort to stop the importation of coronavirus variants into Canada. The ban, which provides exemption for cargo aircraft, was initially enacted on 22 April for 30 days. Travelers arriving in Canadian airports from India or Pakistan after transiting via a third country are required to present proof of negative results from a COVID-19 test taken in the last location of departure. The government maintains requirements for all inbound travelers to present proof of a negative COVID-19 test that is no more than 72 hours old, take an additional test upon arrival and self-quarantine for 14 days after arriving in Canada. Those arriving aboard aircraft are required to quarantine for up to three days at a government-approved hotel until results of the COVID-19 test administered upon arrival become available and are subject to another test 10 days after arrival. An entry ban remains in place for most foreigners seeking to enter Canada; further details regarding current entry restrictions as outlined by the Canadian government are available here.
Lesser Antilles (Security threat level – 1): On 21 May 2021, authorities in Anguilla reopened the country’s borders to returning residents. On 25 May the borders will reopen to international travelers. In order to travel to Anguilla, travelers must attain prior approval from the government by completing an online form on the government’s COVID-19 website and submit proof of a negative COVID-19 RT-PCR test taken within 3-5 days before the planned date of arrival.
Paraguay (Security threat level – 3): On 22 May 2021, the Paraguayan government extended nationwide coronavirus-related restrictions until 7 June. Under the measures, a 0000-0500 local time (0400-0900 UTC) nightly curfew is in effect. During curfew hours, residents are required to remain at home, except for essential purposes, such as to attain essential goods or to seek medical care. Additionally, face masks are required in all public spaces.
Bangladesh (Security threat level – 4): On 23 May 2021, authorities in Bangladesh extended the nationwide coronavirus-related lockdown until 30 May while relaxing some restrictions on transportation services. Buses, trains and other forms of public transportation are now allowed to operate at 50% capacity. However, face masks remain mandatory aboard all forms of transportation. Violators of the orders will have their route permits rescinded.
China (Security threat level – 3): As of 24 May 2021, recovery operations are ongoing following a 6.1 magnitude earthquake in Yunnan province and a 7.3 magnitude earthquake in Qinghai province during the evening of 21-22 May. In Qinghai, the earthquake caused the collapse of the Yematan bridge and the Changma River bridge — located along the Yugong and Huajiu expressways — and caused some damage to various roadways throughout the province. Authorities also closed the Gongyu and Huajiu expressways due to the damage and continuing aftershocks; however, major highways in the affected areas have since reopened. At least 18 people suffered injuries due to the earthquake. Emergency shelters have been erected in the most affected areas of Qinghai province.
In Yunnan province, at least three people were killed and 28 more suffered injuries. In Maduo county, a bridge collapsed trapping several motorists in their vehicles. Officials also reported minor shaking-related damage to roads, homes and buildings.
India (Security threat level – 3): As of 1430 local time (0900 UTC) on 24 May 2021, Tropical Cyclone Yaas was located approximately 670 km (416 mi) south-southeast Kolkata — the capital of West Bengal state — and was moving north at 11 kph (7 mph), according to the U.S. Joint Typhoon Warning Center. At that time, the storm was generating maximum sustained winds of 40 kph, with gust of up to 52 kph. On its current forecast path, Yaas will continue on a northern track and intensify before making landfall southwest of the city of Kolkata on 26 May.
In related developments, officials in Odisha state relaxed coronavirus-related restrictions in the Balasore, Bhadrak, Cuttack, Jagatsinghpur, Jajpur, Keonjhar, Kendrapara, Mayurbhanj and Puri districts until 26 May due to the storm’s impending landfall in order to allow residents to obtain food and other essential supplies. Yaas is projected to generate significant rainfall and high winds throughout West Bengal and Odisha.
Earlier on 24 May, authorities closed Veer Savarkar International Airport (VOPB/IXZ) in the Andaman Islands due to high winds and heavy rainfall stemming from the storm. Flight cancellations and delays at airports in Bihar, Odisha and West Bengal are likely as the tropical cyclone nears landfall.
Laos (Security threat level – 3): According to 21 May 2021 reports, authorities have extended coronavirus-related transportation restrictions in the capital Vientiane through 4 June. Under the order, public transportation and all domestic flights are suspended. In related developments, the country’s land borders will also remain closed through at least 4 June.
Belarus (Security threat level – 3): On 23 May 2021, Ryanair flight FR4978 made an emergency landing at Belarus’ Minsk National Airport (UMMS/MSQ) while traveling from Athens, Greece, to Vilnius, Lithuania. Although the emergency landing was reportedly due to a bomb threat, an exiled Belarusian journalist and political activist was aboard the aircraft and was subsequently detained by Belarusian authorities after the aircraft landed. The flight later completed its scheduled route without further incident.
Analyst Comment: Foreign governments, the EU Commission president, and the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) — have condemned the incident and accused Belarusian authorities of violating international air transportation rules. Following the incident, the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) has recommended European airlines to exercise caution when operating within or over the Minsk Flight Information Region. Additionally, on 24 May Lithuania’s transportation minister announced that as of 0300 local time (0000 UTC) on 25 May, all flights to and from Lithuania must avoid Belarusian airspace.
Norway (Security threat level – 2): On 21 May 2021, authorities in Norway announced upcoming adjustments to the country’s coronavirus-related travel restrictions. As of 27 May, individuals traveling for either essential or nonessential purposes will be allowed to enter Norway from the EU, the passport-free Schengen Area and the U.K. Additionally, individuals departing from countries with fewer than 150 new COVID-19 infections per 100,000 people in the previous 14 days will not be subject to an obligatory quarantine period at a government-designated facility upon arrival, although travelers are advised to quarantine at their private accommodations. Travelers are required to obtain a negative result from a COVID-19 PCR test prior to arrival in Norway, although the government has not stipulated the timeframe in which the test must be taken. The Norwegian Institute of Public Health and the Directorate of Health will review and adjust the official guidance weekly, based on the local infection rate in the EU, the Schengen Area and the U.K. Concurrently, Norway’s capital Oslo and its surrounding region will also relax some coronavirus-related restrictions, allowing gyms, cinemas, theaters and restaurants to reopen and children to resume indoor sports as of 27 May. Conversely, officials have extended the government’s travel advisory against nonessential foreign travel until 1 July.
Spain (Security threat level – 3): On 21 May 2021, authorities announced plans to ease travel restrictions in Spain. Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez announced that vaccinated tourists, regardless of their country of origin, will be allowed to enter Spain as of 7 June. Additionally, officials in Spain will permit tourists from 10 non-EU countries deemed low-risk — including Australia, Israel, New Zealand and the U.K. — to enter without obtaining a negative result from a COVID-19 PCR test as of 24 May.
Bahrain (Security threat level – 3): Bahraini authorities enacted a coronavirus-related entry ban on travelers from countries on the government’s “Red List” beginning on 24 May 2021 and continuing until further notice. Bahraini citizens and permanent residents are exempt from the ban, but are required to show proof of a negative PCR test taken within 48 hours prior to boarding their flight and undergo a 10-day quarantine after arrival at their home or a government-approved facility.
Israel / Palestinian Territories (Security threat levels – 4 / 4): On 24 May 2021, a Palestinian assailant stabbed and wounded two people, including one Israeli soldier and one Israeli civilian, at the Ammunition Hill light rail station in Jerusalem. Responding police officers shot and killed the suspect, while emergency services evacuated the two victims to a nearby hospital. Meanwhile, the ceasefire between Israel and Palestinian militant groups based in Gaza continue to hold, although sporadic clashes occurred between Israeli police officers and Palestinian protesters in Jerusalem and the West Bank on 22 and 23 May. On 23 May Israeli security forces cleared the area around the Temple Mount/ Noble Sanctuary and arrested three Palestinians as they escorted a group of 50 Israeli settlers to worship at the site. Also on 23 May, Israeli settlers attacked Palestinians and vandalized their properties in the town of Derasita, located approximately 16 km (10 mi) southwest of the city of Nablus. At least three Palestinians were injured, and several cars were damaged in the attack.
Meanwhile on 22 May, clashes occurred between Israeli police officers and Palestinians at the courtyards of the Al-Aqsa Mosque. Police officers used tear gas and stun grenades to disperse the crowds in the area after the protesters threw stones and Molotov cocktails. Additional clashes also occurred in the cities in the West Bank. Reports indicate that the number of protesters arrested during the clashes vary between 20 to 33.
Democratic Republic Of The Congo / Rwanda (Security threat levels – 4 / 3): As of 24 May 2021, seismic activity and tremors continue to occur in the vicinity of Mount Nyiragongo — located near the border with Rwanda and the city of Goma, the capital of North Kivu province — which erupted on 22 May and began affecting the northern outskirts of Goma on 23 May. Civil aviation authorities in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) have closed Goma Airport (FZNA/GOM) until further notice due to the eruption and resulting lava flows that reached the outer perimeter of the facility, but ferries between Goma and Bukavu are operating normally. However, air traffic was not routed away from the affected airspace. Furthermore, the Rwanda-DRC border crossing in Goma remains open.
The 22 May eruption caused new fissures to appear and redirected the lava flows toward Goma rather than toward Rwanda as earlier indicated by volcanologists from the Goma Observatory. As of latest reports, the lava flows were moving through the city of Buhene, located north of Goma. Although the full extent of the damage caused by the eruption and subsequent lava flows is currently unclear, early reports indicate that at least 500 residences and other buildings have been destroyed or heavily damaged. The Congolese government reportedly activated emergency plans to evacuate residents from Goma and the surrounding area in the projected path of the lava flows. At least 5,000 refugees reportedly entered Rwanda and an additional 25,000 people fled to the northwest in Sake after the eruption. At least 15 people were killed — including five who died in a traffic accident during the evacuation — and approximately 170 others remain missing.
Zimbabwe (Security threat level – 4): On 21 May 2021, Vice President Constantino Chiwenga — also the health minister — announced a two-week lockdown in the central city of Kwekwe, effective immediately, due to confirmed cases of a coronavirus variant initially detected in India. The lockdown includes a nightly curfew during 1900-0600 local time (1700-0400 UTC). It also imposes bans on most public gatherings, mandates that bars and beer taverns remain closed, and restricts regular business operating hours to 0800-1700 local time.