Colombia / Ecuador (Security threat levels – 4 / 3): On 8 April 2021, authorities in Colombia announced a lockdown for the northern department of Atlántico, which includes the city of Barranquilla, due to a spike in COVID-19 cases. The lockdown will remain in effect from 1800 local time (2300 UTC) on 9 April to 0500 local time on 12 April, during which time residents are encouraged to remain at home. Following the weekend lockdown, a nightly 1800-0500 local time curfew will remain in effect during 12-19 April.
On 8 April authorities in Ecuador imposed new entry restrictions for travelers from Brazil to limit the spread of COVID-19. Under the restrictions — which remain in effect until further notice — travelers arriving from Brazil are required to quarantine for 10 days at a government-approved hotel upon arrival. All other travelers arriving by air are required to obtain proof of a negative result from a COVID-19 test taken with 72 hours of arrival or proof of full vaccination against COVID-19.
Lesser Antilles (Security threat level – 1): At 0841 local time (1241 UTC) on 9 April 2021, an explosive eruption occurred at the La Soufriere volcano in St. Vincent and the Grenadines. The eruption resulted in an ash column approximately 6 km (3 mi) high, with reports of heavy ashfall in areas surrounding the volcano. There were no reports of casualties. Authorities have suspended operations at Argyle International Airport (TVSA/SVD) following reports of ashfall near the airport. According to the director of the University of the West Indies Seismic Center, additional explosive eruptions are possible.
On 8 April Prime Minister Ralph Gonsalves had ordered mandatory evacuations for the northern portion of the island of St. Vincent near the volcano. Gonsalves warned that the La volcano was likely to erupt within hours or days, and authorities arranged for cruise ships to assist in transporting evacuees as of 9 April. Gonsalves stated that individuals boarding cruise ships or taking refuge on other islands are required to be vaccinated for COVID-19. Gonsalves stated that he is working with other Caribbean governments to ensure that they will accept national identification cards from evacuees in lieu of passports. An estimated 5,000 to 6,000 people are affected by the evacuation order from the island’s “red zone.”
Authorities with the National Emergency Management Organization (NEMO) have designated some areas on the island of St. Vincent as safe. These areas include those from North Union to Kingstown on the windward side of the island and from Barouallie to Kingstown on the leeward side. The Grenadine Islands were also designated safe areas. Travelers in this area should keep informed of local developments.
United States (Security threat level – 2): At approximately 1430 local time (1930 UTC) on 8 April 2021, a gunman opened fire inside a warehouse in Bryan, Texas, a town located near Texas A&M University, about 100 mi (160 km) northwest of the city of Houston. The assailant then fled the scene and a police pursuit ensued, during which the gunman shot and wounded a Texas state trooper. Law enforcement officials apprehended the 27-year-old suspect outside a residence in the town of Bedias — located about 40 miles east of Bryan — nearly two hours after the initial shooting in which one person was killed and five others were wounded. Two of those wounded remain hospitalized in critical condition. The suspect, a resident of the nearby town of Iola, was an employee of the cabinet-manufacturing plant where the shooting occurred. Authorities have launched a probe to determine a definitive motive for the shooting.
India (Security threat level – 3): On 8 April 2021, authorities in the southwestern state of Karnataka announced a nightly 2200 to 0500 local time (1630-2330 UTC) curfew in seven cities due to a spike in COVID-19 cases. The restrictions, which will remain in effect from 10-20 April, will affect the cities of Bengaluru, Bidar, Kalaburagi, Mangaluru, Manipal, Mysuru, Tumkuru and Udupi. Only essential services will be allowed to operate during curfew hours.
South Korea (Security threat level – 2): On 8 April 2021, authorities extended existing coronavirus-related regulations until 30 April. The greater Seoul area is set to remain under Level 2 social-distancing regulations — the third highest in the country’s five-tier system — while the remainder of the country remains at Level 1.5. In the greater Seoul area, businesses – such as cafes and karaoke rooms – remain under a nightly 2200 local time (1300 UTC) curfew; however, authorities noted they may adjust the curfew to commence at 2100 local time in the near future. Additionally, bars and similar entertainment establishments will be required to close as of 12 April.
United Kingdom (Security threat level – 3): On the evening of 8 April 2021, police officers in Northern Ireland deployed water cannons to disperse a crowd of youths who had gathered on Springfield Road — a stronghold of Irish nationalists — in western Belfast, the capital. Approximately 100 youths gathered near an interface that separates Springfield Road from Shankill Road — a predominantly British loyalist area — from where some of them threw Molotov cocktails, rocks and other projectiles at the officers. While there were no reports of significant injuries due to the clashes on 8 April, the deputy police chief of Northern Ireland stated that a total of 55 police officers have been injured in the violence during the previous six nights since Good Friday. The unrest is occurring amid increasing tensions regarding trade restrictions between Northern Ireland and adjacent Ireland — a member of the EU — following the United Kingdom’s exit from the EU. Loyalist youths also resent the government’s decision not to prosecute 24 members of the Irish nationalist party Sinn Fein, who attended the June funeral of a former leader of the Irish Republican Army, violating the coronavirus-related ban on large gatherings.
Analyst Comment: Further violence is anticipated in Belfast and other areas of Northern Ireland during the upcoming weekend, as youths — mainly British loyalists — reportedly plan to organize a number of parades in multiple cities. The current conditions in Northern Ireland are more conducive to sustained unrest as the annual marching season , which started on 5 April, peaks in the lead-up to the Twelfth of July parades.
Democratic Republic Of The Congo (Security threat level – 4): On 8 April 2021, the U.S. Embassy in Kinshasa issued a Security Alert, which reads in part as follows: “There are reports of increased threats directed at MONUSCO personnel and affiliated facilities including the Goma International Airport. We continue to advise U.S. citizens to not travel to Goma in the Travel Advisory for the DRC.”
Ecuador (Security threat level – 3): On 8 April 2021, the U.S. Embassy in Quito issued a Security Alert regarding potential election-related protests, which reads in part as follows:
“Event: The Ecuadorian presidential run-off election will be held on April 11. There is the potential for large demonstrations across the country following the election. The U.S. Embassy urges you to exercise extra vigilance when moving about Ecuador during the week after the election. Avoid areas that have previously attracted large election-related gatherings, such as the area around the Consejo Nacional Electoral (CNE) election-night headquarters located at the intersection of Avenida 12 de Octubre and Luis Cordero,the CNE Quito office near Avenida Eloy Alfaro and Avenida 6 de Diciembre, provincial CNE offices, Avenida de los Shyris to the east of Parque Carolina, and the Plaza Grande de la Independencia across from the Presidential Palace.”
France (Security threat level – 3): On 9 April 2021, the U.S. Embassy in Paris issued a Demonstration Alert, which reads in part as follows:
“Location: Announced gathering points and routes include, but are not limited to,
Paris, Chateau d’eau (10th district, near Gare de l’Est)
Lyon, Place Lyautey
“Event: Demonstrations which may attract counter protestors and lead to violent clashes are expected to take place on April 10 beginning at 2:00 p.m. in Paris and 4:00 p.m. in Lyon. In Paris, Jeune Garde Antifasciste intends to protest the extreme right. In Lyon, Bon sens.Org and @19reation intend to protest in support of the extreme right. Additional demonstrations in other major cities in France may also be planned. Many cities throughout France are expected to see motorcyclists protesting against technical controls for motorcycles, which may create traffic issues.”
Honduras (Security threat level – 4): On 7 April 2021, the U.S. Embassy in Tegucigalpa issued a Security Alert regarding an upcoming soccer match, which reads in part as follows: “A soccer match is scheduled to be played today, April 7, at 8 pm in the Estadio Nacional Tiburcio Carias Andino in Tegucigalpa. Security measures will be taken to help ensure the safety of all attending the game. Road closures will begin around the stadium at 4pm and will last until the game is over. Traffic will be impacted on roads close to the stadium. U.S. citizens should avoid the National Stadium area and are reminded to maintain awareness of their surroundings as even peaceful celebrations may turn violent with little or no notice.”
Mozambique (Security threat level – 4): On 9 April 2021, the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) issued updated travel advice regarding Mozambique’s Cabo Delgado province, which reads in part as follows:
“Terrorists have attacked the town of Palma in Cabo Delgado. Terrorists remain active in the area and attacks on other towns are possible especially in areas frequented by foreigners or in towns and other areas where foreign companies operate and where expatriate staff reside. Australians in Cabo Delgado should leave the area if it is safe to do so. If you decide to remain in the area, maintain heightened security awareness, monitor local media and follow the advice of local authorities.”