ASIA Afghanistan (Security threat level – 5): On 8 October...
Afghanistan (Security threat level – 5): On 8 October 2021, an explosion occurred during Friday prayers at the Sayed Aba Mosque in Khanabad city in the northern province of Kunduz — located approximately 180 km (115 mi) east of Mazar-i-Sharif. A local hospital indicated that as many as 50 worshippers were killed and an unspecified number of individuals, including people who were outside in the streets near the mosque, were injured by the explosion. No group has claimed responsibility for the attack. The U.N. mission in Afghanistan noted that initial reports point to a suicide attack, which would make this the third such attack in a week targeting a religious institution.
India (Security threat level – 3): On 7 October 2021, a spokesperson for the Ministry of Home Affairs announced that the Indian government will reopen the country’s borders to tourists traveling on chartered flights commencing on 15 October and to tourists traveling on commercial passenger flights beginning on 15 November. Coronavirus testing and other related restrictions will remain in place at ports of entry throughout the country. The Indian government closed the country’s borders to tourists in March 2020 after President Narendra Modi’s government imposed restrictions in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Japan (Security threat level – 1): At approximately 2240 local time (1340 UTC) on 7 October 2021, a 5.9 magnitude earthquake struck nearly 4 km (2 mi) south-southwest of the city of Chiba — which is located east of the capital Tokyo — according to the U.S. Geological Survey. The quake had an estimated depth of 62 km. The tremor caused shaking across the region, forcing officials to temporarily suspend train services in the capital. There were no immediate reports of significant injuries or damage, and no tsunami warning was issued.
United Kingdom (Security threat level – 3): On 7 October 2021, the U.K. government announced that 47 countries — out of a total of 54 countries named on its coronavirus-related “red list” for foreign travel — will be removed from the list. Subsequently, as of 0400 local time (0300 UTC) on 11 October, only the following seven countries will remain on the red list: Colombia, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Haiti, Panama, Peru and Venezuela. Foreigners — except Irish nationals and individuals with residency rights in the U.K. — who have visited locations on that list during the previous 10 days will remain subject to an existing entry ban. Travelers allowed entry into England from these seven countries — regardless of vaccination status — will remain subject to taking a pre-departure PCR test no more than 72 hours before travel, must undertake a 10-day quarantine at government-approved hotels, and must take mandatory PCR tests on the second and eighth days of the quarantine period. Meanwhile, travelers who are fully immunized with government-approved vaccines and are arriving from locations not named on the red list, are no longer subject to a pre-departure COVID-19 test. The requirement to take an additional COVID-19 test on or before the second day of their arrival remains in effect, although the second day test requirement can be fulfilled by providing proof of a lateral flow test instead of a PCR test beginning in late October. Unvaccinated travelers will remain subject to the following existing regulations: must show proof of a negative result from a PCR test taken within the last 72 hours before travel, must self-isolate for 10 days after arrival, and must take additional PCR tests on the second and eighth days of the self-isolation period. Travelers may end isolation with a negative test taken on the fifth day under the “test to release” scheme. All inbound travelers — regardless of vaccination status or location of origin – are required to complete a passenger locator form within the 48 hours preceding arrival. Further information as outlined by the U.K. government is available here.