Afghanistan (Security threat level – 5): At approximately 1400 local time (0930 UTC) on 23 September 2022, an improvised explosive device detonated near the Wazir Mohammad Akbar Khan Mosque in the capital Kabul. The blast occurred as worshippers were leaving the mosque after Friday prayers. At least four people were killed and 10 more were injured in the explosion. Casualty counts are likely to rise. No group has claimed responsibility for the explosion; however, the Islamic State Khorasan Province group routinely carries out similar attacks across the country.
China (Security threat level – 4): On 22 September 2022, Hong Kong’s chief executive announced an end to the city’s COVID-19 hotel quarantine requirement as of 26 September in an attempt to attract more business and tourist travel to the city. International travelers will no longer be required to present a negative COVID-19 PCR test on arrival or quarantine at a government designated hotel for a three-day period and self-isolate at home for an additional four days. Instead, visitors will be required to take a rapid antigen test within 24 hours prior to arrival and undergo three days of home quarantine and medical surveillance via a tracking app. Visitors must obtain a negative result from a PCR test on the third day of home confinement to be allowed access to the city’s bars and restaurants. Additionally, travelers will be required to submit to a PCR test administered on arrival, in addition to a test on the second, fourth and sixth days after their arrival in Hong Kong. Visitors will also be required to submit to daily rapid antigen tests for the first seven days of their visit. Social distancing requirements will also be annulled on 5 October.
Japan (Security threat level – 1): On 22 September 2022, Japanese Prime Minister Fumio Kishida announced that tourists from countries that had a visa-free entry agreement with Japan prior to the COVID-19 pandemic will be permitted to enter Japan without a visa as of 11 October. Travelers will be required to submit proof of three doses of an approved COVID-19 vaccine and a negative coronavirus test result prior to entry. Visitors will no longer be required to purchase tour packages in order to visit the country, and the daily maximum number of arriving travelers will also be lifted.
Portugal (Security threat level – 2): As of 1200 local time/UTC on 23 September 2022, Tropical Storm Gaston was located approximately 215 km (135 mi) north-northwest of Faial Island in the central Azores, according to the U.S. National Hurricane Center. At that time, Gaston was moving east-southeast at approximately 11 kph (7 mph) and had maximum sustained winds of 95k kph, with higher gusts. On its current forecast track, the storm will move near or over parts of the Azores on 23-24 September. Gaston is expected to produce 50-150 mm (2-6 in) of rain across the western and central Azores islands. Swells producing dangerous surf and riptide conditions are expected to affect the islands through 24 September. A Tropical Storm Warning is in effect for Corvo and Flores islands in the western Azores and Faial, Graciosa, Pico, Sao Jorge and Terceira islands in the central Azores. The Azores Regional Civil Protection and Fire Service issued a “red alert” for heavy precipitation in the central Azores and a “yellow alert” for rain, waves and winds for all other islands in the group.
Bahamas / Bermuda / Canada / Turks and Caicos Islands (Security threat levels – 2 / 1 / 2 / 2): As of 0800 local time (1200 UTC) on 23 September 2022, Hurricane Fiona was located approximately 200 km (185 mi) north of the island of Bermuda and about 1,175 km south of the Canadian city of Halifax — the provincial capital of Nova Scotia — according to the U.S. National Hurricane Center. At that time, Fiona was moving north-northeast at a speed of 41 kph (25 mph) with maximum sustained winds of 205 kph and higher gusts. The storm is projected to continue north and pass west of Bermuda in the coming hours, after which it is expected to pass over the province of Nova Scotia and the Gulf of St. Lawrence on 24 September. Fiona is then forecast to pass near the province of Newfoundland and Labrador and the Labrador Sea on 25 September.
The hurricane is expected to produce the following rainfall: 50-100 mm (2-4 in) in Bermuda; 75-150 mm in the eastern Canadian provinces of Newfoundland, Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island, with isolated maximums of up to 250 mm; 25-75 mm in Newfoundland; 50 to 125 mm in Quebec; and 25-75 mm in New Brunswick. Swells producing dangerous surf and riptide conditions will continue to affect Bermuda, the Turks and Caicos Islands, the southeastern United States and Bahamas islands Additionally, Fiona may produce flooding near the Atlantic coast of Canada. Authorities in Bermuda closed schools and offices and opened emergency shelters ahead of the passage of the storm. Approximately 9,500 residents in Bermuda experienced electricity outages from the storm’s passage, with wind gusts of nearly 130 kph recorded in St. George’s Parish.
A Hurricane Warning is in effect in Nova Scotia from the community of Hubbards to Brule village; for Prince Edward Island; the Magdalen Islands; and the communities of Parson’s Pond to Francois in Newfoundland. A Tropical Storm Warning is in effect for Bermuda; from St. Andrews in New Brunswick to Hubbards in Nova Scotia; from Brule to Quebec’s Cap Madeleine; Anticosti Island; from Sheldrake, Quebec, to Parson’s Pond in Newfoundland; from Boat Harbor to Hare Bay in Newfoundland; and from Francois to St Lawrence in Newfoundland. A Tropical Storm Watch is in effect for areas north of the settlement of Boat Harbor to the West Bay in Newfoundland.
Central African Republic (Security threat level – 5): On 22 September 2022, the U.S. Embassy in Bangui issued an alert ahead of planned demonstrations from 24 to 25 September in the city’s Bimbo neighborhood, which reads in part as follows: “Politically-motivated gatherings have been announced for Saturday, September 24 and Sunday, September 25, starting in the early afternoon, with large crowds instructed to gather around the football stadium and the Ecole Prefectorale of Bimbo respectively. Start times and locations are subject to change and events may be cancelled.”
El Salvador (Security threat level – 4): On 22 September 2022, the U.S. Embassy in San Salvador issued a Weather Alert, which reads in part as follows: “The Ministry of the Environment and Natural Resources and the Civil Protection Agency in El Salvador have increased their warning of dangerous rainstorms throughout the country. The municipalities of Cuscatancingo, Ayutuxtepeque, Santo Tomás, Santiago Texacuangos, Rosario de Mora, Ilopango, Nejapa, Santa Ana, Tacuba, Concepción de Ataco, Apaneca, Cuisnahuat, La Palma, San Francsico Morazán, Tejutla, Dulce Nombre de María, Concepción Quezaltepeque, Comalapa, Colón, Santa Tecla, Comasagua, Talnique, Chiltiupán, Zaragoza, San Salvador, Panchimalco, Huizúcar, and San Miguel are now under a red alert (dangerous weather conditions already exist). The remainder of the country is under an orange alert (high probability of dangerous weather). Recent rains have resulted in deadly building collapses and mudslides that have blocked major highways. The Civil Protection Agency has activated its emergency facilities throughout the country to respond to this ongoing weather emergency. Additional rains are expected and they may create dangerous floods and mudslides that can continue to cause injuries, damage homes and businesses, and block roads.”