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May 5, 2021
5-May-2021

AMERICAS

Colombia (Security threat level – 4): On 5 May 2021, nationwide demonstrations over now-annulled tax proposal are anticipated to continue in Colombia for an eighth consecutive day. In the capital Bogotá, commercial truck drivers are currently blocking the intersection of Calle 80 and Carrera 119, causing significant transportation disruptions along Calle 80. Additionally, authorities have suspended operations at the Portal Americas, Socorro, Consuelo, Molinos and Portal Usme metro stations due to demonstrations at the intersections of Avenida Boyacá and Calle 71 Sur; Calle 80 and Carrera 19; and Avenida Caracas and Calle 51 Sur. Meanwhile, authorities in Medellín have suspended services of the city’s metro Line T and Line 2. Colombian officials are scheduled to meet with protest leaders on 10 May to negotiate an end to the widespread demonstrations.

On 4 May clashes occurred between protesters and police officers in Ciudad Kennedy and other areas of Bogotá. Police officers used tear gas and stun grenades to disperse the crowds. The mayor of Bogotá asked the Ministry of Defense to deploy army personnel for assistance in protecting immediate attention police commands (CAI) after protesters damaged 25 such installations on the night of 4 May. At least 30 protesters and 16 police officers suffered injuries during the violence in the capital. TransMilenio — the transit system for Bogotá — will only operate from 0600 to 1500 local time (1100 to 2000 UTC) on 5 May due to the demonstrations. According to the mayor’s office, at least 30 TransMilenio buses were vandalized during the protests. In the northern coastal city of Barranquilla, protesters looted several businesses and caused significant damage to buildings near Plaza de la Paz, located in Parque Central district. Media reports indicate that internet disruptions occurred in the city of Cali overnight, while intermittent roadblocks have caused shortages of some essential goods, including food and fuel.

ASIA

India (Security threat level – 3): On 5 May 2021, authorities in West Bengal state announced several measures intended to limit the spread of COVID-19. Beginning on 7 May, travelers arriving in the state aboard aircraft or bus must provide proof of a negative COVID-19 PCR test taken within 72 hours before travel. Local rail services will be suspended as of 6 May. Meanwhile, other forms of public transportation will operate at 50% capacity. Currently, political gatherings as well as social events are banned, and nonessential businesses are required to close while essential businesses may operate from 0700-1000 local time (0130-0430 UTC) and 1700-1900 local time.

In related developments, authorities in Bihar imposed a statewide coronavirus-related lockdown until at least 15 May. Under the order, venues such as movie theaters, gyms, schools and houses of worship must close. Public transportation is also limited to 50% capacity. Essential businesses such as grocery stores, banks, gas stations and pharmacies, as well as businesses involved in construction, telecommunications and transporting goods are exempt from the order.

MIDDLE EAST AND NORTH AFRICA

Iraq / India (Security threat levels – 5 / 3): On 4 May 2021, Iraqi authorities announced that they have suspended flights to and from India until further notice in order to control the spread of COVID-19. Additionally, all Iraqi nationals are banned from traveling to India, while all travelers coming from India are banned from entering Iraq. Officials also announced new countrywide restrictions during 12-22 May, which require that all malls, cafes, restaurants, movie theaters, wedding halls and gyms suspend operations. All public gatherings will also be banned during the time.

SUB-SAHARAN AFRICA

Tanzania (Security threat level – 3): On 4 May 2021, health officials in Tanzania announced new measures in an effort to prevent new coronavirus variants from entering the country. Effective immediately, all travelers entering Tanzania must provide proof of a negative PCR test taken within 72 hours before arrival. Anyone arriving from a country with a high number of COVID-19 cases is required to pay for a rapid test upon entry, although specific details of this requirement are unknown. Additionally, all travelers who have been to a country with cases of new coronavirus variants within 14 days prior to arrival in Tanzania must quarantine for 14 days at their own expense. Tanzanian citizens may self-isolate at their residences while foreign nationals must quarantine at a government-designated facility. The government also suspended all commercial flights to and from India, effective immediately due to the high rate of COVID-19 transmission in India.

Analyst Comment: The new coronavirus-related measures are a departure from the previous response under late President John Magufuli. Following his death in March, Magufuli’s successor President Samia Suluhu Hassan called for a science-based approach to the pandemic and signaled intentions to begin instituting new measures. Conversely, Magufuli had largely insisted that Tanzania was not afflicted by COVID-19 and rejected common methods of prevention — such as the use of face masks and any Western vaccines — suggesting prayer and herbal remedies instead.

GOVERNMENT WARNINGS

Bermuda (Security threat level – 1): On 4 May 2021, the U.K. Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) issued updated travel advice for Bermuda, which reads in part as follows: “From 2nd May, these requirements will extend to all non-immunised travellers (beyond those arriving from, or who have recently been in, the UK). All non-immunised travellers entering Bermuda will need to quarantine on arrival for 4 days, pending a negative Day 4 test. They may only be released from quarantine after receiving a negative result from the Day 4 COVID-19 test.

“All travellers to Bermuda who are arriving from Brazil, India or South Africa or who have visited Brazil, India or South Africa in the 14 days before they arrive in Bermuda must quarantine in their accommodation for 14 days. They may only be released from quarantine after receiving a negative result from the Day 14 COVID-19 test. In this case, if the traveller is immunised, they are able to make use of the whole property in which they are staying whilst they are quarantining. However, if the traveller is not immunised they must stay in their room.”

Colombia (Security threat level – 4): On 5 May 2021, the U.S. Embassy in Bogotá issued a Demonstration Alert, which reads in part as follows: “The U.S. Embassy is aware of continuing demonstrations, unrest, and disruptions throughout Colombia. Some areas, especially major cities such as Bogota, continue to experience significant protests, and in many cities these demonstrations have resulted in looting and vandalism. Protests have blocked major thoroughfares to and from airports and cities. In Cali, there are reports of shortages of basic supplies such as gasoline and food. Alfonso Bonilla Aragón airport in Cali has resumed flights as of 9:40 am today, May 4.

“If you are in one of the affected areas, please use increased caution during this time. Avoid crowds and demonstrations, and consider contingency plans in case of extended shortages. If you are traveling to an airport or intercity by road, you should anticipate delays and consider rescheduling travel. If you must travel, plan your routes and alternatives carefully. These disruptions could continue for the next several days.”

The full text of the alert can be read here.

El Salvador (Security threat level – 4): On 4 May 2021, the U.K. Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) issued updated travel advice for El Salvador, which reads in part as follows: “There are ongoing political tensions in El Salvador. On the afternoon of Sunday 31 January in San Salvador gunmen opened fire on activists from one of El Salvador’s main opposition parties, killing two people, and injuring five other people. On 1 May, motions carried by the Legislative Assembly to remove the judges who sit in the constitutional chamber of the nation’s Supreme Court and the Attorney General led to calls for protests. The El Salvador Constitution prohibits political activities by foreign nationals, and participation in demonstrations may result in detention and / or deportation. You should avoid large gatherings or demonstrations and exercise caution in public areas.”

Nepal (Security threat level – 3): On 5 May 2021, the U.S. Embassy in Kathmandu issued a Health Alert regarding coronavirus-related restrictions, which reads in part as follows: “The Government of Nepal announced a lockdown in Kathmandu from April 29 to May 14. While most restrictions remain unchanged since first issued on April 26, there are some modifications in Kathmandu valley until May 12. Specifically, operational hours for grocery stores are limited to between 7:00 am and 9:00 am, and pharmacies and health related shops are permitted to operate under normal hours. Most businesses, except for some banks and certain government offices, remain closed. Personal and public vehicles are also prohibited and only emergency vehicles will be permitted to travel. Individuals entering the Kathmandu valley are subject to a mandatory quarantine upon arrival and mask use and social distancing are mandated when out in town.

“The Kathmandu District Administration Office has requested that valley residents limit movements to only those necessary to sustain life and safety. The Ambassador has directed that all Embassy personnel avoid unnecessary trips around Kathmandu.”

The full text of the alert is available here.

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