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November 16, 2020


Colombia / Honduras / El Salvador (Security threat levels – 4 / 4 / 4): As of 0700 local time (1200 UTC) on 16 November 2020, Hurricane Iota, which has strengthened into a Category 4 storm, was located approximately 35 km (20 mi) northwest of the island of Isla de Providencia, Colombia, and about 235 km southeast of the Nicaragua-Honduras border, according to the U.S. National Hurricane Center. At that time, Iota was moving west at 17 kph (10 mph) and was generating maximum sustained winds of 245 kph, with higher gusts. The storm is forecast to continue strengthening before making landfall in northeastern Nicaragua and eastern Honduras during the early hours of 17 November. Iota is then expected to weaken as it affects El Salvador and parts of Guatemala, with its remnants entering the Pacific Ocean by 19 November.

A hurricane warning is in effect from the town of Punta Patuca, Honduras, to the town of Sandy Bay Sirpi, Nicaragua, as well as for Providencia Island, Colombia. A hurricane watch is in effect for San Andrés Island, Colombia. A tropical storm warning is also in effect for the island. In Nicaragua, a tropical storm warning is in effect from the town of Sandy Bay Sirpi to the municipality of Bluefields; and in Honduras, from the town of Punta Patuca to Punta Castilla National Park.

Peru (Security threat level – 3): On 15 November 2020, interim President Manuel Merino resigned amid violent demonstrations protesting the 9 November impeachment of former President Martín Vizcarra. Earlier on 15 November, the head of Peru’s Congress called on Merino to resign immediately. The legislature failed to appoint a new government during a special session on 15 November and will meet again on 16 November. Two protesters were killed, and 112 others were injured during clashes with police officers on 14 November, and at least 10 demonstrators have been reported missing.

United States (Security threat level – 2): As of 16 November 2020, several U.S. governors have announced additional coronavirus-related restrictions in response to rising COVID-19 case numbers. A modified emergency travel order has been implemented for domestic travelers arriving in Chicago, Illinois, following the introduction of a new three-tier color-coded system, which classifies U.S. states into three categories: red, orange and yellow. Travelers arriving in Chicago from states designated as red must observe self-quarantine for 14 days; those traveling from states designated as orange are also subject to the same requirement unless they can display proof of negative results of a COVID-19 PCR test taken no more than 72 hours prior to arrival. Inbound travelers from states deemed yellow are not subject to quarantine restrictions, although they are required to adhere to general public health guidance, including wearing face masks and maintaining adequate physical distance from others. Additional details regarding the travel order, which contains a list of states with their designations, are available here.

The governors of the states of California, Oregon and Washington issued updated coronavirus-related travel advisories on 13 November, which urge travelers to self-quarantine for 14 days upon entering their respective states, and also advise residents to avoid all nonessential out-of-state travel. The advisories recommend that residents limit their interactions to individuals within their household. The new recommendations were issued as California surpassed 1 million confirmed COVID-19 cases within the state. Additionally, the governor of Oregon announced a “two-week freeze” beginning on 18 November that limits restaurants to takeout only, closes gyms and reduces the capacity of customers permitted in retail stores. In Washington state, beginning on 16 November, indoor social gatherings that join guests from different households are prohibited, while outdoor gatherings are limited to five people. Bars, gyms and restaurants are limited to takeout and outdoor services, while indoor retail businesses are limited to 25% capacity. The restrictions will be in place until at least 14 December.

In North Dakota, face masks are mandatory statewide as of 14 November in all indoor businesses, indoor public settings, as well as outdoor areas where social distancing is impractical until 13 December. As of 16 November, bars and restaurants are limited to 50% capacity, with a maximum capacity of 150 individuals. In-person dining services are suspended from 2200 to 0400 local time (0400-1000 UTC), but takeout and delivery will remain available. Banquet, ballroom and event venues will be limited to 25% of capacity. Violators may be cited.

The governor of New Mexico announced on 13 November that stricter statewide coronavirus-related restrictions will be in effect during 16-30 November. The order closes in-person services for nonessential activities and instructs residents to only leave their homes for essential trips, which include travels to grocery stores, pharmacies, shelters, child care facilities and gas stations. Additionally, restaurants are allowed to provide curbside or delivery services only.


Vietnam (Security threat level – 3): On 15 November 2020, Typhoon Vamco made landfall and caused significant damage in parts of Vietnam, including to approximately 4,400 residential homes. Reports indicate that the worst damage was concentrated in the Phu Loc district, and across Quang Tri province. At least five people were injured. Prior to landfall, authorities evacuated approximately 650,000 residents of coastal areas to higher ground.


New Zealand (Security threat level – 1): On 15 November 2020, Prime Minister Jacinda Arden announced that face masks will be mandatory as of 19 November for passengers aboard all domestic flights as well as public transportation within Auckland – the order will be in effect until further notice. Travelers under the age of 12, as well as those utilizing taxis, are not required to wear masks. Authorities are reportedly considering extending the mandate nationwide.


Belarus (Security threat level – 3): On 15 November 2020, police officers deployed tear gas, rubber bullets and stun grenades to forcibly disperse thousands of protesters who had gathered near Minsk’s Pushkinskaya metro station. Authorities arrested more than 500 protesters. There were no reports of casualties.

Italy (Security threat level – 3): As of 15 November 2020, Campania and Tuscany are included on an official list of regions considered COVID-19 red zones. Authorities have divided the regions into three categories: red, yellow and orange zones. In red zones — the highest risk zone — residents are ordered to remain at home, with exceptions in place for commuting to work, obtaining health care, essential shopping, or emergencies. Individuals may exercise near their residence if masks are worn. All nonessential businesses are closed, including bars and restaurants. Hairdressing salons are allowed to remain open.


Ethiopia (Security threat level – 4): On 14 November 2020, an unknown number of gunmen attacked a passenger bus in the Benishangul-Gumuz region. According to the Ethiopian Human Rights Commission, at least 34 people were killed in the attack, with fatalities expected to rise. No group has claimed responsibility for the attack.

Ethiopia / Eritrea (Security threat levels – 4 / 3): As of 15 November 2020, the conflict between the Ethiopian military and the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) is ongoing. The Ethiopian government on 15 November claimed to have taken control of the Tigray town of Alamata, located approximately 180 km (110 mi) south of Mekele.

On 15 November the chairman of the TPLF, Debretsion Gebremichael, confirmed that Tigrayan forces fired rockets at Eritrea’s Asmara International Airport (HHAS/ASM) the previous day. Gebremichael claimed that Tigrayan forces have been clashing with 16 divisions of the Eritrean army on several fronts for multiple days. He also claimed that Eritrean forces have crossed into Ethiopia at the border towns of Badme, Rama and Zalambessa, located in northern Tigray. The government of Eritrea has denied involvement in the conflict in Tigray.

As of 15 November, at least 25,000 Ethiopian refugees from the Tigray region have reportedly fled across the border into Sudan — primarily to Kassala and al-Qadarif states — and thousands more are likely to follow. Refugees continue to allege that the Ethiopian government has launched attacks against civilians and reported that villages were shelled by artillery volleys from across the Eritrean border. Prime Minister Abiy refutes this and claims that the federal government has only targeted TPLF militants and military targets. Hundreds of civilians and soldiers have died during the ongoing conflict, although casualty counts remain unavailable, as communications, including internet and phone lines, are inoperative throughout Tigray.

The TPLF-imposed state of emergency remains in effect across the Tigray region, as does the state of emergency imposed by the federal government. Flights to Mekele Alula Aba Nega Airport (HAMK/MQX), Shire Airport (SHC) and Axum Airport (HAAX/AXU) remain suspended.


Brazil (Security threat level – 3): On 13 November 2020, the U.S. Embassy in Brasilia issued a Health Alert regarding Brazil’s land and sea borders, which reads in part as follows:

“Effective November 12, Brazil extended the restrictions on entry of foreigners by land (unless for transit) and sea, for an additional 30 days, through December 11. The entry of foreign visitors traveling by air for a short stay of up to 90 days is currently permitted.

“While no longer a requirement to present proof of health insurance valid in Brazil in order to enter the country, the U.S. Department of State continues to recommend that all travelers purchase insurance before departing the United States. The U.S. government does not provide health insurance for U.S. citizens overseas and does not pay medical bills. Commercial flights between the United States and Brazil operate on a regular basis. Although Brazil has opened its borders to visitors traveling by air, U.S. citizens considering international travel should be aware that Brazil remains at a Level 4 Travel Advisory (Do Not Travel) and continues to experience high daily case numbers of COVID-19.

“Foreigners who are in a country that shares a land border with Brazil and need to cross the border to take a flight back to their country of residence may enter Brazil with authorization from the Federal Police and must follow the steps below:

  • The foreigner must obtain an official note from the embassy or consulate of the country of citizenship (U.S. citizens should reach out to the closest U.S. Embassy or Consulate General for assistance)
  • When crossing the border, the air tickets for the flight to the home country must be presented to the immigration official; and
  • After approval of the request, the foreigner must go directly to the airport after crossing the land border.

Those in the following categories are exempt from the provisions in this decree:

  • Brazilian citizens, born or naturalized
  • Permanent residents of Brazil
  • National Immigration Registry Card Holders (Registro Nacional Migratório – RNM)
  • Foreign professionals employed by a non-governmental aid organization recognized by the Brazilian government
  • Foreign officials, such as diplomats, accredited by the Brazilian government
  • Spouse, domestic partner, son or daughter, father or mother, or caregiver of a Brazilian citizen
  • Any person whose entrance into Brazil is deemed by the government to be in the public interest
  • Travelers in transit in one of the following categories: Cargo delivery, Passengers required to disembark for aircraft refueling, or repairs Flight crews

The entire U.S. Embassy alert is available here.