Colombia (Security threat level – 4): On 3 May 2021, anti-government demonstrations are continuing for a sixth consecutive day in the cities of Bogotá, Cali, Bucaramanga and Palmira, despite President Iván Duque withdrawing on 2 May the proposed tax reform legislation that initially prompted the protests. In the capital Bogotá, demonstrators have blocked the intersections of Avenida Caracas and Calle 51 Sur, and Avenida Boyacá and Calle 71 Sur, along with sections of Avenida Villavicencio and Avenida Suba, while a group of cargo transportation and taxi drivers conducted a “go-slow” protest in their vehicles on Avenida Ciudad de Cali, causing transportation disruptions in the area. Due to the demonstrations, authorities have closed the Usme Portal, Suba Portal, Transversal 91 and Campiña public metro stations. According to the Office of the Attorney General of Colombia, seven people have been killed, 399 police officers have been injured and 278 people have been arrested for vandalism amid the demonstrations. Additionally, 167 buses have been vandalized along with 87 metro stations.
At approximately 2245 local time on 2 May, in the Calima section of the city of Cali — located approximately 460 km (285 mi) southwest of Bogotá — police officers deployed stun grenades and tear gas against demonstrators. At approximately 2235 local time in the Kennedy Section of Bogotá, police officers deployed tear gas and stun grenades to disperse protesters after the demonstrators blocked bridges and roads throughout the day; social media reports from the city of Palmira — located approximately 485 km west of Bogotá — indicate that security personnel deployed live ammunition against protesters at the same time. Protests in the city of Bucaramanga — located approximately 400 km north of Bogota — went on throughout the day on 2 May and continued into the evening. Protesters blocked roads and bridges, and set fire to the headquarters of Davivienda bank.
United States / India (Security threat levels – 2 / 3): On 30 April 2021, U.S. President Joe Biden issued a proclamation that enacts an entry ban on most foreign nationals who have visited India in the 14 days preceding their entry into the U.S., citing widespread transmission of COVID-19 in India. The entry ban, effective as of 0001 Eastern Daylight Time (0401 UTC) on 4 May, provides exemptions for family members of U.S. citizens, legal permanent residents and their family members, diplomats, essential personnel, and individuals whose entry would be deemed in the national interest. The U.S. government already maintains a similar entry ban on most foreigners who have visited Brazil, China, Iran, Ireland, the U.K. or 26 European countries that are members of the passport-free Schengen Area during the past 14 days. All travelers arriving at U.S. airports are currently required to present proof of a negative COVID-19 PCR test taken no more than 72 hours before their departure, or present documents certifying recovery from COVID-19 within the previous 90 days. The full text of the presidential proclamation is available here.
Analyst Comment: The upcoming entry ban on most foreign travelers from India was announced amid a very rapidly spreading outbreak of COVID-19 in India. As of 3 May, the seven-day moving average of COVID-19 cases in India is about 27 daily new cases per 100,000 people. The total number of recorded COVID-19 cases in the country currently stands at nearly 19.93 million, with 218,959 fatalities. However, the actual numbers for COVID-19 cases and associated fatalities are anticipated to be notably higher than official records indicate. The recent significant surge, with more than 300,000 new cases recorded daily for 12 consecutive days, has been attributed in part to mutations of the B.1.617 coronavirus variant, although it is currently unclear how much of the surge is caused by the mutated variant. Shortages of hospital beds in medical facilities overwhelmed with COVID-19 patients and a lack of medical supplies such as oxygen have severely hindered the required treatment of COVID-19 patients in major cities, including in the capital New Delhi. In response to the severe shortage of medical supplies and overall support throughout India, the U.S. Department of State on 28 April advised U.S. citizens who wish to depart the country to do so via commercial flights and authorized the voluntary departure of family members of U.S. government personnel.
Nepal (Security threat level – 3): On 2 May 2021, authorities in Nepal announced that they will suspend all domestic and international flights due to the COVID-19 pandemic. All domestic flights will be suspended effective 4 May, while international flights will be suspended beginning 5 May. Both flight bans will remain in effect until at least 14 May.
Belgium (Security threat level – 3): On the evening of 1 May 2021, police officers clashed with several hundred people gathered in Bois de la Cambre park in the capital Brussels who were attending the second installment of an illegal party known as “La Boum.” Police officers in riot gear fired water cannons and tear gas to disperse the attendees, who were in violation of coronavirus-related restrictions. At least 12 people were injured during the clashes, including several law enforcement officials. Police officers arrested 132 attendees. The clashes were largely confined to the park and did not cause significant disruptions in the city. A third installment of La Boum is scheduled for 29 May.
France (Security threat level – 3): On 1 May 2021, May Day demonstrations took place across France. In Paris, the capital, police officers fired tear gas to disperse protesters on Boulevard Voltaire in the 11th arrondissement. Due to the demonstrations, authorities closed several metro stations throughout Paris, including the Champs-Elysées Clémenceau and République stations. While there were no immediate reports of injuries, local media reported that at least one bank sustained structural damage during the protests.
Similarly, at least 3,000 people participated in a May Day demonstration at Place Bellecour in Lyon. Police officers fired tear gas to disperse the crowd amid reports of damage to storefronts in the city. At least 27 police officers and gendarmes were injured during clashes, but there have thus far been no confirmed reports of civilian injuries. Police officers mobilized throughout the city to ensure that additional demonstrations did not become disruptive. In Nantes, approximately 2,000 individuals participated in protests, which were likewise dispersed by security forces. Demonstrations took place without reports of clashes in several other cities in the Loire-Atlantique department — including in Ancenis, Châteaubriant, Saint-Nazaire and Vendée — as well as in the cities of Bordeaux, Marseille, Rennes and Toulouse.
Portugal (Security threat level – 2): On 1 May 2021, the Ministry of Administration announced that coronavirus-related restrictions on international arrivals have been extended until at least 16 May. Travelers from countries with 500 or more cases per 100,000 residents — including Brazil, Croatia, Cyprus, France, India, Lithuania, the Netherlands, South Africa and Sweden — are only permitted entry for essential purposes and must comply with a mandatory 14-day isolation period. In countries with 150 or more cases per 100,000 residents, travelers are only permitted to enter for essential purposes but are not subject to the 14-day isolation. All international arrivals must present proof of a negative result on a COVID-19 test taken within 72 hours before travel.
Democratic Republic Of The Congo (Security threat level – 4): On 30 April 2021, the Congolese National Police force deployed tear gas to disperse sit-in protesters at the town hall in Beni who gathered to call for the restoration of peace in the region. Civil society leaders allege that police officers also fired live ammunition during the confrontation, although police officials deny this. At least six protesters suffered injuries.
India (Security threat level – 3): On 2 May 2021, the U.S. Embassy in New Delhi issued a Health Alert that reads in part as follows: “We encourage U.S. citizens who wish to depart India to take advantage of currently available commercial flights. Airlines continue to operate dozens of direct flights weekly from India to the United States. Additional flight options remain available via transfers in Paris, Frankfurt, and Doha.
“Please visit the Indian Ministry of Health and Family Welfare website for the latest information on travel restrictions.
“New cases and deaths from COVID-19 have risen sharply throughout India to record levels. COVID-19 testing infrastructure is reportedly constrained in many locations. Hospitals are reporting shortages of supplies, oxygen, and beds for both COVID-19 and non-COVID-19 related patients. U.S. citizens are reporting being denied admittance to hospitals in some cities due to a lack of space. Some states have enacted curfews and other restrictions that limit movement and the operation of non-essential businesses.”
The full text of the alert is available here.
Tunisia (Security threat level – 3): On 3 May 2021, the U.S. Embassy in Tunis issued a Health Alert, which reads in part as follows: “Effective May 3, all arriving international passengers are required to complete a mandatory seven-day-quarantine at a government selected hotel at the traveler’s expense. Individuals are then required to complete a new RT-PCR test between the fifth and seventh day and present negative results in order to depart from the quarantine facility.”
To read the full text of the alert, please click here.