Colombia (Security threat level – 4): Nationwide demonstrations over a now-annulled tax proposal are expected to continue for a 10th consecutive day on 7 May 2021. In the capital Bogotá, demonstrators are planning to gather at District University at the intersection of Calle 40 with Carrera Séptima, Pedagogical University, the Personería de Bogotá, the Attorney General’s Office and outside the Kennedy Hospital at the intersection of Avenida 7 and Calle 45.
On 6 May protests declined in intensity, with smaller demonstrations and fewer instances of violence. However, clashes continued between protesters and police officers in Bogotá, with officers deploying tear gas and water cannons to disperse crowds. Additionally, small groups of demonstrators in Barranquilla set fire to tires, erected roadblocks on Avenida Murillo and attempted to loot several businesses before they were repelled by security personnel. In the city of Cali, the mayor declared a three-month state of emergency after assessing the damage caused by the demonstrations.
India (Security threat level – 3): On 6 May 2021, authorities announced that a statewide lockdown will be in effect in Kerala during 8-16 May in an effort to limit the spread of COVID-19. Under the order, most government offices and nonessential businesses will be closed. Financial institutions may operate during 1000-1300 local time (0430-0730 UTC), but metro rail services will be suspended, and all social and political gatherings will be banned. Essential businesses such as grocery stores, pharmacies and gas stations may operate, but must close by 1930 local time.
In related developments, a lockdown will be in effect in Rajasthan state during 10-24 May. As part of the lockdown, all houses of worship must close, intrastate travel is banned except for emergencies and travelers entering the state must provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test taken within 72 hours prior to arrival or submit to a 15-day quarantine at a government-designated location.
Japan (Security threat level – 1): On 7 May 2021, the government extended the existing coronavirus-related state of emergency in the capital Tokyo and the prefectures of Hyogo, Kyoto and Osaka through 31 May. Additionally, the state of emergency will extend to Aichi and Fukuoka prefectures. As part of the measure, restaurants and bars are banned from serving alcohol and must close by 2000 local time (1100 UTC) nightly. Some restrictions, including a requirement for department stores and movie theaters to close, will be lifted as of 12 May.
Maldives (Security threat level – 3): At approximately 2040 local time (1540 UTC) on 6 May 2021, a blast occurred outside the residence of former President Mohamed Nasheed, located in the Neeloafaru Magu area of the capital Malé. An improvised explosive device (IED) attached to a motorcycle parked near Nasheed’s car detonated while he was entering his vehicle. Nasheed — who currently serves as the speaker of Parliament — was wounded in the blast and transported to ADK hospital, where he remains in critical condition following multiple surgeries. At least six other people, including three security personnel, two of Nasheed’s associates and a passerby, also suffered injuries. In addition, multiple vehicles in the area sustained damage as a result of the explosion. Following the blast, the Maldives Police Service raised its alert level and heightened security measures in the city. Authorities have identified four individuals of interest in relation to the attack and are currently pursuing those suspects. Australian Federal Police officials are deploying a team of detectives to aid in the investigation.
Analyst Comment: The blast appears to have specifically targeted Nasheed, who is a frequent critic of radical Islamists in the Maldives. Local media reported that the Islamic State (IS) group has allegedly claimed responsibility for the attack. Such events are uncommon in the country, although IS claimed responsibility for an arson attack against five docked boats on Mahibadhoo island in April 2020. Security measures in Malé are likely to remain heightened in the immediate term.
Belgium (Security threat level – 3): Beginning on 8 May 2021, the current 2200 to 0600 local time (2000 to 0400 UTC) coronavirus-related curfew in effect in the Brussels-Capital region will be replaced by a ban on gatherings of more than three people, which will be in effect from 0000 to 0500 local time; this measure is already in place in the rest of Belgium. Shops will be allowed to open until 2200 local time. Face masks remain mandated in public.
Tunisia (Security threat level – 3): On 7 May 2021, Prime Minister Hichem Mechichi announced that a one-week coronavirus-related lockdown will go into effect on 9 May. Under the order, mosques and nonessential businesses must close, interregional travel is prohibited and a nightly curfew during 1700-0500 local time (1800-0400 UTC) will be in effect. In the past, the government has rejected other lockdown proposals and stricter coronavirus prevention measures, in part due to widespread opposition.
Nepal (Security threat level – 3): On 7 May 2021, the U.S. Embassy in Kathmandu issued a Health Alert regarding the availability of outbound flights from Nepal, which reads in part as follows: “As of today, commercial international flight service has been suspended from Tribhuvan International Airport with the exception of two flights per week to New Delhi, India. The lockdown is scheduled to last through Friday, May 14, but may be extended to address changing conditions. However, the Government of Nepal has indicated willingness to consider airlines offering charter flight options sometime during the lockdown period for those needing to exit Nepal. At the present time, we are not aware of any charter flights scheduled, but as soon as the U.S. Embassy receives details of future flights, we will post updates to our website and release contact information to make reservations for these flights.
“The U.S. Embassy is not directly organizing a U.S. Government-facilitated repatriation flight at this time.”
The full text of the alert is available here.
Ukraine (Security threat level – 4): On 6 May 2021, the U.K. Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) issued updated travel advice for Ukraine, which reads in part as follows: “From 2 May 2021, Ukraine is restricting entry from India. Foreign nationals will not be permitted to enter Ukraine if they arrive from India or have spent more than 7 of the preceding 14 days in India. There are exemptions for permanent residents of Ukraine, spouses or children of Ukrainian citizens, and diplomats and their families. See the VisitUkraine website and type India into the list of countries box for more details.”