ASIA China (Security threat level – 3): On 23 November...
Colombia (Security threat level – 4): On 27 November 2021, President Ivan Duque announced an extension of a nationwide health state of emergency until 28 February 2022 due to the spread of the omicron variant of the coronavirus in South Africa. All individuals who have traveled to unspecified countries in Africa within the last 15 days and experience symptoms of COVID-19 are required to notify authorities and self-quarantine. Face masks remain mandatory in all public spaces nationwide, and regional authorities may institute additional restrictions.
United States (Security threat level – 2): On 26 November 2021, U.S. President Joe Biden issued a proclamation that enacts an entry ban on most foreigners who have visited any of eight southern African countries within the 14 days preceding their arrival in the U.S., citing the discovery of the new omicron coronavirus variant that is spreading across southern Africa. The entry ban, effective as of 0001 Eastern Standard Time (0501 UTC) on 29 November, applies to foreigners seeking to enter the U.S. from the following eight countries: Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa and Zimbabwe. Exemptions to the ban include family members of U.S. citizens, legal permanent residents and their family members, diplomats and others designated as exempt. The full text of the presidential proclamation is available here.
Japan (Security threat level – 1): On the afternoon of 29 November 2021, Prime Minister Fumio Kishida announced a temporary travel ban on all inbound foreign nationals beginning at 0000 local time (1500 UTC) on 30 November due to the emerging omicron COVID-19 variant detected in several southern African countries. Japanese nationals returning from Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe must undergo a 10-day quarantine at a designated government facility. The travel ban restores previous travel restrictions that were eased on 8 November for foreign short-term residents, business workers, students and interns.
Solomon Islands (Security threat level – 1): On 25 November 2021, hundreds of demonstrators set several buildings — including businesses and a bank branch — on fire in the Chinatown area of the capital Honiara to demand Prime Minister Manasseh Sogavare’s resignation. Solomon Power, the state-owned electricity authority, suspended electricity services in Chinatown and surrounding areas due to the ongoing unrest. Protesters gathered despite a 36-hour lockdown imposed by the prime minister after demonstrators attempted to storm the Parliament building on 24 November. Several participants were reportedly supporters of the leader of Malaita province, who has clashed with the national government over aid and development projects as well as the decision to sever diplomatic ties with Taiwan in favor of China. In response, the Australian prime minister deployed approximately 100 security officers to Honiara to help quell the unrest.
Europe: As of 29 November 2021, countries across Europe continue to impose new restrictions due to growing concern over the new omicron coronavirus variant — first detected in Botswana and spreading across southern Africa. The following includes updates regarding coronavirus-related restrictions for European Union (EU) member states as well as additional nationwide restrictions and updates for Belgium, the Czech Republic, the Netherlands and Spain:
The 27 countries of the EU on 26 November agreed to temporarily suspend travel from Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa and Zimbabwe amid the discovery of a new COVID-19 variant. Several European countries — including the Czech Republic, Denmark, France and Italy — previously established travel bans for flights from southern Africa prior to the EU’s announcement. EU officials have warned that additional countries could be added to the unionwide travel ban list in the near future.
In Belgium, health authorities on 25 November announced that Europe’s first case of the new coronavirus variant was detected in a traveler returning to Belgium from Egypt on 11 November.
In the Czech Republic, Prime Minister Andrej Babiš announced a nationwide 30-day state of emergency commencing 26 November due to a significant increase in locally transmitted coronavirus infections. Christmas markets across the country have been temporarily suspended. Restaurants, bars, casinos, and other entertainment venues are required to close by 2200 local time (2100 UTC). Additionally, public gatherings are limited to up to 100 visitors while cultural and sporting events are limited to up to 1,000 spectators who have been fully vaccinated or recovered from COVID-19.
In the Netherlands, passengers on KLM flight KL598 arriving at Amsterdam Airport (EHAM/AMS) on 26 November from South Africa were not allowed to disembark from their aircraft due to new emergency travel restrictions imposed by officials in the Netherlands. After three hours of waiting on the airport’s tarmac, passengers were taken to quarantine and tested for COVID-19.
In Spain, authorities have tightened entry requirements due to concerns over the new omicron variant. The new rules — which were published on 27 November in the Official State Gazette — tighten restrictions for travelers from high-risk countries. Seven countries have been classified as high-risk: Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa and Zimbabwe. Travelers from these countries will need to present a negative result from a COVID-19 test — such as a PCR test taken within 78 hours of arrival — regardless of vaccination status or recovery from the disease. Travelers from these seven countries will also be subject to a mandatory 10-day quarantine, according to a separate order by the Spanish Health Ministry. The Spanish government also stated that it will discuss whether to ban all travelers from South Africa and Botswana at its next Cabinet meeting on 30 November.
France (Security threat level – 3): At approximately 1630 local time (1530 UTC) on 27 November 2021, police officers deployed tear gas to disperse anti-right-wing protesters and counterprotesters gathered on Avenue de la République located in the 11th arrondissement in central Paris. Approximately 2,000 people had gathered to protest the rise of ring-wing groups in France, when demonstrators began engaging in clashes with counterprotesters and police officers. Several groups of protesters erected barricades, lit fires in the streets and threw debris in the direction of security services personnel. Elsewhere in the city, protesters gathered near Place Saint-Michel square — located in the Latin Quarter between the fifth and sixth arrondissements — amid a large police presence in the area. There were no immediate reports of arrests or injuries.
United Kingdom (Security threat level – 3): On 27 November 2021, U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson imposed new requirements for inbound travelers after two cases of the new omicron coronavirus variant were detected in the country. As of 0400 local time/UTC on 30 November, all travelers entering the country — regardless of vaccination status — will be required to take a PCR test on or before the second day of their arrival and self-isolate until receiving a negative test result. Meanwhile, face coverings will be mandatory in England on public transport, and in shops and other commercial establishments such as banks and post offices. In addition, on 25 November the government announced a ban on direct passenger flights from Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Namibia, South Africa and Zimbabwe, and added those countries to its coronavirus-related “red list” for foreign travel. Subsequently, as of 1200 local time/UTC on 26 November, foreigners — except Irish nationals and individuals with residency rights in the U.K. — who have visited the aforementioned locations during the previous 10 days are subject to an entry ban. The ban also applies to foreigners traveling from Angola, Malawi, Mozambique and Zambia as of 0400 local time/UTC on 28 November. Travelers allowed entry into England from these 10 countries are required to take a pre-departure PCR test no more than 72 hours before travel, undertake a 10-day quarantine at government-approved hotels, and take mandatory PCR tests on the second and eighth days of the quarantine period. Further information provided by the government is available here.
Israel (Security threat level – 4): On 28 November 2021, authorities announced a temporary 14-day travel ban on inbound foreign travelers beginning at 0000 local time (2200 UTC) on 29 November in response to the omicron COVID-19 variant. Non-Israeli residents will be allowed to apply for a travel ban exemption; however, all exempt travelers will be required to quarantine at a government-approved hotel. Additionally, all travelers — including vaccinated Israelis — from any country will be required to isolate for a three-day period after arrival and receive negative results from PCR tests administered upon arrival at the airport and on the third day of quarantine. All unvaccinated Israeli residents will be required to quarantine for at least seven days.
Morocco (Security threat level – 3): On 25 November 2021, authorities announced the suspension of all arriving and departing passenger flights from France beginning 27 November amid an increase in locally transmitted COVID-19 cases. Government officials did not provide further details on the duration of the flight suspension; however, flights to repatriate Moroccan citizens from France will be allowed to continue.
Somalia (Security threat level – 5): At approximately 0730 local time (0430 UTC) on 25 November 2021, a car bomb exploded near the K4 junction, located in the center of the capital Mogadishu. The perpetrators — members of the al-Shabab Islamist group — attempted to target a U.N. peacekeeping mission. Somali police officers stated that at least eight people were killed and 23 more were injured during the explosion.