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September 21, 2021


United States (Security threat level – 2): On 20 September 2021, the coordinator of the White House coronavirus response team announced a new international air travel system, which is anticipated to go into effect in early November. Under the new system, fully vaccinated foreigners will be allowed entry, provided they show proof of vaccination before boarding U.S.-bound flights. In addition, the current requirement to show proof of a negative COVID-19 test taken within 72 hours before their flight to the U.S. will remain in effect for fully vaccinated inbound travelers. The implementation of the new system will end the existing prohibition on nonessential travel for most foreigners — regardless of vaccination status — who are coming from or who have been to Brazil, China, India, Iran, Ireland, South Africa, the U.K. or the European Schengen Area in the 14 days preceding their arrival. Meanwhile, unvaccinated U.S. residents will be subject to stringent testing requirements, which include taking a COVID-19 test one day before traveling to the U.S. and an additional test after arrival.

In related developments, the U.S. government has extended its longstanding ban on nonessential travel at land borders with Canada and Mexico through 21 October in a sustained effort to stem the spread of COVID-19. Individuals involved in cross-border trade and transport are exempt, as are other “essential” personnel — including health care staff and emergency officials — and anyone who transits the border daily for work or to obtain basic necessities, such as food or medicine. The border restrictions, which do not apply to air travel, were initially enacted on 21 March 2020, and have since been renewed monthly.


Australia (Security threat level – 2): On 21 September 2021, clashes broke out between police officers and demonstrators who had gathered for a second consecutive day in Melbourne, the state capital of Victoria, to denounce the ongoing coronavirus-related lockdown and mandatory COVID-19 vaccines in the construction industry. During the demonstration, participants threw rocks, bottles and other projectiles at police officers, who deployed pepper balls and rubber bullets to disperse the crowd. Footage from the scene showed a group of individuals vandalizing police cars amid a heavy presence of riot police. Protesters also temporarily halted vehicular traffic on the busy West Gate Freeway. At least three police officers were injured in the violence, and authorities arrested more than 60 people. Approximately 2,000 people, mostly construction workers, rallied in the central business district for about eight hours, a day after the state government ordered the closure of all construction sites in Melbourne and surrounding areas — which are currently subject to lockdown measures — for the next 14 days. Victoria state officials require all construction sites to comply with health regulations before resuming operations on 5 October; workers are furious about the mandate to have had at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine before returning to their jobs.


Burundi (Security threat level – 4): On the evening of 20 September 2021, at least three explosions occurred in the city of Bujumbura. Local media sources reported that two grenades detonated in a public bus parking area in the city center while a third explosion occurred at a market in the Bwiza neighborhood. A police vehicle evacuated individuals injured in the explosions to a nearby hospital. The Interior Ministry stated that two people were killed and accused unidentified terrorists of perpetrating the attacks; however, other reports suggest that five people were killed and 50 others were wounded. While no group has claimed responsibility for these blasts, the RED-Tabara rebel group claimed that it fired mortar shells at Melchior Ndadaye International Airport (HBBA/BJM) on the night of 18 September. There were no reports of damage at the airport.

Sudan (Security threat level – 5): On the morning of 21 September 2021, Sudanese officials announced that they have thwarted an attempt by a group of military officers and civilians to carry out a coup d’état. The coup plotters reportedly attempted to seize control of state media organizations in the capital Khartoum and the city of Omdurman, located across the Nile River from the capital, and intended to arrest senior government officials. Media reports indicate that a major general, along with a number of officers belonging to the armored corps, were involved in the failed attempt. More than 40 of those involved have been arrested. Military personnel were deployed to Khartoum and Omdurman, and the White Nile Bridge, which connects the twin cities, was closed. The transitional government blamed military officials and civilians linked to the regime of former President Omar al-Bashir for the coup attempt.