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March 18, 2021

AMERICAS

Costa Rica (Security threat level – 3) : During the early morning hours of 16 March 2021, gunmen robbed a U.S.-based airline crew as they transited on the Autopista General Caña, located near the Alfredo González Flores bridge. The crew was traveling from its hotel in the city of Alajuela to Juan Santamaría International Airport (MROC/SJO), located in the capital San José, when the attack occurred. The crew — which left the hotel at 0340 local time (0940 UTC) to man American Airlines flight 1204 bound for the U.S. city of Miami — was robbed after the driver pulled over upon hitting a plastic box placed on the road by the attackers. Thieves, brandishing guns and knives, then breached the van and demanded passengers surrender their electronics and cellular phones. The assailants then fled the scene, and the driver returned the passengers to their hotel. The incident delayed the scheduled flight’s takeoff by 7.5 hours.

Paraguay (Security threat level – 3): On 17 March 2021, security personnel used tear gas and water cannons to disperse anti-government demonstrations in central Asunción, the capital. Police officers fired tear gas and deployed water cannons in front of the National Congress building, when the protesters started to throw projectiles at the officers as well as set fires and vandalized nearby buildings. A group of protesters set fire to the headquarters of the ruling National Republican Association (ANR) party, damaging the building. Individuals also vandalized and looted businesses in the city center area during the protests. One police officer suffered minor injuries in the violence, and authorities arrested at least 30 people. The demonstrations occurred after Congress voted against the impeachment of President Mario Abdo Benítez and Vice President Hugo Velázquez over perceived mishandling of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Peru / Lesser Antilles (Security threat levels – 3 / 1): On 17 March 2021, the Peruvian minister of education announced the suspension of interprovincial travel during the upcoming Easter holiday, 1-4 April, to slow the spread of COVID-19. All interprovincial transportation services and domestic flights will be suspended and only authorized public transportation and taxis will be allowed to operate. Individuals will be permitted to undertake interprovincial travel on 4 April to return home following the holiday. Grocery stores, supermarkets and pharmacies will be allowed to operate in-person services from 0400 to 1800 local time (0900 to 2300 UTC) during the lockdown.

On 17 March authorities in the Turks and Caicos Islands extended restrictions imposed to curb the spread of COVID-19 until 2 April. A nightly curfew from 2300 to 0500 local time (0400-1600 UTC) is in effect across all islands. During the curfew period, individuals are required to remain at their place of residence, except for individuals engaged in essential travel to attain medical care, essential workers traveling to and from work, and individuals traveling to and from the airport for international flights. Additionally, all public and private gatherings are banned, while businesses are limited to 30% capacity.

United States (Security threat level – 2): On 17 March 2021, a severe weather system swept through southern United States, affecting more than 40 million residents in the region, including in the states of Alabama, Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Oklahoma, Tennessee and Texas. At least nine tornadoes were reported during the severe weather, of which six touched down in Alabama, one in Louisiana and the other two in Mississippi. The tornadoes damaged or destroyed dozens of homes in the region; at least two people were injured at a residence in Alabama’s Clarke County when a tornado struck the area. There were no reports of other injuries or deaths. As of last report, weather-related power outages were affecting more than 10,000 homes and businesses in Alabama. Meteorologists forecast that the severe weather system will move toward eastern Georgia, South and North Carolina, and far-southeastern Virginia later on 18 March.

ASIA

Japan (Security threat level – 1): On 17 March 2021, Prime Minister Suga Yoshide announced that the government is not planning to extend the coronavirus-related state of emergency in Chiba, Kanagawa, Tokyo and Saitama prefectures. The emergency order, which is due to expire on 21 March, has been in effect since early January. Suga stated that overall COVID-19 infections have declined, despite increasing numbers in Tokyo. Under the order, bars and restaurants are required to close by 2000 local time (1100 UTC).

In related developments, authorities also announced that travelers from the Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Lebanon, Luxembourg, Pakistan and Poland are now subject to stricter entry requirements. Under the new measures, all arriving passengers from the aforementioned locations must present proof of a negative result from a COVID-19 test taken within 72 hours prior to departure. Upon entry, travelers will be tested again, sent to a designated quarantine facility and required to take another test on the third day. If results are negative, a traveler is allowed to leave and self-isolate at home for an additional 14 days.

SUB-SAHARAN AFRICA

Mali (Security threat level – 5): On 15 March 2021, approximately 100 suspected Islamist militants staged an ambush against an army patrol in the northern region of Gao. The assailants — traveling on motorcycles and pick-up trucks — stormed a military post near the town of Tassit, located about 60 km (35 mi) southeast of Ansongo, near Mali’s borders with Burkina Faso and Niger. According to an army spokesperson, at least 33 soldiers and 13 militants were killed in the resulting fighting between the two groups. U.N. Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) personnel helped to evacuate wounded soldiers, and the French military deployed in the region assisted Malian soldiers to secure the area following the attack. No group has claimed responsibility for the attack, although militants affiliated with al-Qaeda and Islamic State are known to actively operate in the area.

Tanzania (Security threat level – 3): On the night of 17 March 2021, Vice President Samia Suluhu Hassan announced that President John Magufuli died earlier in the day due to heart failure. Magufuli had not been seen in public since 27 February, prompting speculation that he was ill despite denials by government authorities. Under the constitution, Hassan will assume the role of president and serve the remainder of Magufuli’s term, which is slated to end in 2025. Hassan announced a 14-day period of mourning.

Analyst Comment: Spontaneous demonstrations remain possible, as Magufuli was a popular figure in Tanzania. Official state ceremonies are also likely. It remains unknown how Hassan will govern upon entering office, or whether she will continue Magufuli’s policies toward the COVID-19 pandemic. Magufuli was a skeptic of the coronavirus and opted to not impose lockdown measures. As recently as early-February, he declared that the country had beaten the disease. As a result, the full extent of the effects of the pandemic in Tanzania remain unknown.

GOVERNMENT WARNINGS

Australia (Security threat level – 2): On 18 March 2021, the U.S. Consulate General in Perth issued a Demonstration Alert, which reads in part as follows: “Groups will undertake a series of protest actions based in Supreme Court Gardens on St Georges Terrace in the Perth CBD over the period of March 22-24, 2021. Police are expecting 500-1,000 people to be involved in the demonstrations. Other demonstration activities may occur in the CBD for the remainder of that week.”

Dominican Republic (Security threat level – 3): On 17 March 2021, the U.K. Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) issued updated travel advice for the Dominican Republic, which reads in part as follows: “Exceptional curfew measures have been put in place for Good Friday (2 April 2021). On this day, the curfew will be from 7pm to 5am. Transit is permitted for the first three hours of curfew, i.e. until 10pm.”

Oman (Security threat level – 2): On 18 March 2021, the U.K. Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) issued an update to its travel advice for Oman, which reads in part as follows: “On 17 March the Omani authorities announced that from 12 noon local time on 19 March, direct flights from the United Kingdom to Oman would be prohibited. Travellers who have been in or transited through the United Kingdom in the previous 14 days cannot enter Oman, with the exception of Omani citizens.”

Peru (Security threat level – 3): On 17 March 2021, the U.S. Embassy in Lima issued a Demonstration Alert, which reads in part as follows:

“Location: Barranca, Santa Rosa, Aucallama, Chancay, Yangas, Tumbes, Cajamarca, Chimbote, Huaraz, La Oroya, Pampas, La Merced, Ica, Cusco, Tacna, Abancay, Ucayali

“Event: There are ongoing, widespread protests by cargo transport workers in multiple regions of Peru affecting travel on the Pan American Sur (South) and Pan American Norte (North) highways and throughout Peru. Although the protest is directed at heavy cargo vehicles, all traffic may be slowed or stopped. The Peruvian National Police have deployed in response. Avoid travel in the affected areas if possible as the situation is ongoing and evolving.”

March 17, 2021

AMERICAS

United States (Security threat level – 2): At approximately 1700 local time (2100 UTC) on 16 March 2021, a shooting occurred at a massage parlor in Acworth, Georgia, located on the northern outskirts of the city of Atlanta. Police officers responding to the event discovered five people with gunshot wounds, two of whom died at the scene. The other three wounded individuals were taken to a local hospital, where two more succumbed to their injuries. Nearly one hour later, police officers responded to a call regarding a robbery in progress at a massage parlor in Atlanta’s Buckhead neighborhood — located approximately 30 mi (50 km) from the shooting site in Acworth — where three women were shot and killed. An additional shooting occurred at another spa situated across the street while the officers were at the scene; one woman was found dead from gunshot wounds at the latter facility. Authorities then launched a pursuit and arrested a 21-year-old male suspect in Crisp County, located about 150 miles south of Atlanta, more than three hours after the initial shooting in Acworth. Six of the eight people killed in the shootings were of Asian descent, which has raised concerns that the killings may have been racially motivated. Local and federal law enforcement officials are investigating the events.

ASIA

Philippines (Security threat level – 4): On 16 March 2021, the government announced that foreign nationals as well as citizens who are not Overseas Filipino Workers will be banned from entering the Philippines from 20 March until 19 April in an effort to prevent the spread of COVID-19 variants. Limited exceptions exist for emergency situations and medical repatriations. Additionally, international arrivals will be capped at 1,500 people per day during that time period.

AUSTRALASIA

Papua New Guinea / Australia (Security threat levels – 4 / 2): On 17 March 2021, Australian authorities suspended flights between Papua New Guinea’s Jacksons International Airport (AYPY/POM), located in the capital Port Moresby, and Cairns Airport (YBCS/CNS), located in the state of Queensland, effective until 31 March. Additionally, authorities have banned workers from entering and leaving Australia, except those working in sectors deemed essential. Freight, medevac and other critical flights are exempt from the suspension. The flight suspension follows a COVID-19 surge in Papua New Guinea, where 2,351 cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed. Health experts fear the real number is much higher due to undetected cases of community transmission. Australian authorities are deploying vaccine doses and personal protective equipment to Papua New Guinea to assist with controlling the outbreak.

EUROPE

Russia (Security threat level – 3): On 16 March 2021, the Russian government extended a ban on flights to and from the U.K. until 16 April due to a more infectious strain of coronavirus currently circulating in the U.K. The measure has been in place since 22 December 2020 and was due to expire on 16 March. The flight suspension may be extended further at the discretion of Russian health authorities.

Serbia (Security threat level – 3): On 16 March 2021, authorities announced a nationwide lockdown from 17 to 22 March due to a spike in COVID-19 cases. During the lockdown, all businesses are required to close, except for grocery stores, gas stations, pharmacies and food delivery services. Meanwhile, cafes and restaurants located in hotels are restricted to serving registered guests only.

MIDDLE EAST AND NORTH AFRICA

Lebanon (Security threat level – 4): On 16 March 2021, anti-government demonstrators angry about the continuing devaluation of the Lebanese currency closed roads across the capital Beirut, including near the American University of Beirut and in the Koraytem neighborhood, an upscale area located southwest of the Central District. Protesters also burned tires near the Banque Du Liban and vandalized windows of grocery stores. Over the last two weeks, the exchange rate has risen from 10,000 Lebanese pounds to the U.S. dollar, to 15,000 pounds to the dollar, prompting some grocery stores to close. In the northern city of Tripoli, demonstrators marched to politicians’ homes and damaged the security cameras installed at the residences. Other demonstrators blocked primary throughfares linking major regions in the country, including roads in the southern city of Naqoura — located along the coast near the Israeli border.

Analyst Comment: It is highly likely that protests will intensify in Lebanon over the coming months due to impending subsidy cuts. Caretaker Prime Minister Hassan Diab has announced that money for fuel subsidies will run out by the end of March and that the government will be able to fund other subsidies of food and medicine only until June 2021.

SUB-SAHARAN AFRICA

Niger (Security threat level – 5): On 16 March 2021, reports emerged regarding a series of attacks that occurred the previous day near the town of Banibangou in the Tillabéri region, located close to the Niger-Mali border. According to local security officials, gunmen riding motorcycles staged assaults on several villages and roadways as civilians returned to the villages of Chinagodrar and Darey Dey from a popular weekly market in Banibangou. The assailants killed at least 58 people and injured another. In addition, two vehicles were set ablaze and the gunmen stole several grain silos and seized two vehicles during the raids. While no group has thus far claimed responsibility for the attacks, militants affiliated with the Islamic State operate in the area. Following the attacks, a government spokesperson declared three days of national mourning for the victims.

Analyst Comment: Such attacks are common in the region and Banibangou is a lucrative target due to the weekly livestock market in the city, as well as its proximity to the border with Mali. Most recently, in January 2021, jihadists attacked two villages in the Tillabéri region, killing at least 100 civilians.

GOVERNMENT WARNINGS

Bangladesh (Security threat level – 4): On 16 March 2021, the U.S. Embassy in Dhaka issued a Security Alert regarding the upcoming Independence Day holiday, which reads in part as follows: “Dhaka Metropolitan Police (DMP) request all residents to refrain from non-essential movements throughout the city from Wednesday, March 17 through Saturday, March 27 in observance of Bangladesh’s 50 Years of Independence. Police officials made this request to minimize vehicular traffic so official VIP visitors will be able to move unimpeded with police escorts through the city. Police have also advised against holding political rallies or social gatherings in public spaces.

“During this 10-day period, DMP may implement additional security measures in select locations to include road closures. In addition, the Civil Aviation Authority will suspend air traffic during the flight arrivals and departures of state guests. In honor of Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman’s birthday on March 17 shopping malls and shops will be closed. Pharmacies, grocery stores, and restaurants will remain open.

“U.S. citizens are encouraged to exercise increased vigilance during this period. Please be aware of surroundings, review personal security plan, monitor local media for updates, and keep mobile phones accessible in case of emergency.”

Haiti (Security threat level – 4): On the morning of 17 March 2021, the U.S. Embassy in Port-au-Prince issued a Security Alert, which reads in part as follows: “There are reports of planned protests and roadblocks throughout Port au Prince today, March 17. Many roadblocks have already been established, and the U.S. Embassy has restricted non-official travel of its direct-hire U.S. citizen staff to the immediate Embassy neighborhood. Please avoid unnecessary travel in this area at this time.”

March 16, 2021

AMERICAS

Barbados / Chile (Security threat levels – 1 / 2): On 15 March 2021, authorities in Barbados revised restrictions imposed to curb the spread of COVID-19 amid a phased reopening from a nationwide lockdown. The restrictions will remain in place during 15-21 March. Nationwide nightly curfew hours are now from 2100 to 0600 local time (0100-1000 UTC). Most businesses are permitted to operate Monday through Saturday, except for bars, cinemas, gyms, nightclubs and private boat charters. Additionally, private and public events remain banned.

The Chilean Ministry of Health has adjusted city-level quarantine measures nationwide based on the recent spread of COVID-19 cases. All modifications will commence at 0500 local time (0800 UTC) on 18 March, and remain in effect until further notice.

  • The following 28 communities have been downgraded from the second phase (transition) to the government’s first phase (quarantine), the most restrictive phase of the government’s five-step plan: Taltal (located in Antofagasta Region), Huasco (located in Atacama region), Mount Patria (located in Coquimbo region), Father Hurtado, San Miguel, Renca, Maipo Island, The Prado, Fifth Normal, Florida, Cerrillos, and The Forest (all located in Santiago metropolitan region), Peumo and Pichidegua (located in O’Higgins region), Chanco and Talca (located in Maule region), Ñiquén, Truce, Chillán and Old Chillán (located in Ñuble region), Tucapel, Quilleco, Mulchén and Goatherd (all located in Bio bio region), Lonquimay and Galvarino (located in Araucania region), Saint Paul and Port Octay (located in Araucania region).
  • The following nine communities have been downgraded from phase three (preparation) to phase two (transtion): Puchuncaví, Limache and The Cross (located in Valparaíso Region), Lolol (O’higgins region), Yungay (Ñuble region), Saint Barbara (Bio bio region), Futaleufu, Puqueldón and Cochamó (Los Lagos Region).
  • The following communities have advanced to phase three (preparation) from phase two (transition): Rinconada (Valparaíso Region), Clear River (Maule region), Punta Arenas and Natal (Magallanes Region). Officials noted that the following communities have advanced to phase two (transition) from phase one (quarantine): Parral (Maule region), Puren, New Imperial and Melipeuco (Araucania region) and Hualaihué (Los Lagos Region).

Additionally, officials noted that given the upcoming Easter holiday, the following cities will have checkpoints installed between 1-4 April, limiting travel in and out of the following areas: the Santiago metropolitan region, Valparaíso, Greater Concepción, and between Temuco and Padre Las Casas.

ASIA

South Korea (Security threat level – 2): On 16 March 2021, authorities in the capital Seoul announced that all foreign workers will be required take a COVID-19 test within 15 days as of 17 March. Business owners with at least one foreign worker must also get tested. Officials did not provide details but stated that anyone who does not comply will be subject to penalties that include fines. The decision follows an 8 March order in Gyeonggi province, which surrounds Seoul, for all foreign workers to undergo COVID-19 testing by 22 March. All testing in Gyeonggi is free of charge. Violators are subject to a fine of up to 3 million won (2,600 U.S. dollars).

EUROPE

United Kingdom (Security threat level – 3): On 15 March 2021, the U.K. Department for Transport added Ethiopia, Oman, Qatar and Somalia to an existing list of countries from where travelers are banned to enter England. Subsequently, as of 0400 local time/UTC on 19 March, travelers from the four countries and individuals who have visited those countries in the previous 10 days will be prohibited from entering England. U.K. nationals, Irish nationals and individuals with residency rights in the U.K. are exempt from the entry ban and will be required to quarantine in hotels for 10 days upon arrival in England. Conversely, Mauritius and Portugal have been removed from the list and travelers from the two countries will be allowed to enter England as of the same time on 19 March. A full list of countries subjected to England’s entry ban is available here.

GOVERNMENT WARNINGS

British Virgin Islands (Security threat level – 1): On 16 March 2021, the U.K. Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) issued updated travel advice for the British Virgin Islands, which reads in part as follows: “BVI territorial waters are open to all internal traffic from 5am to 10pm, intra-island ferries may operate from 5am to 2am. Movement across maritime borders is prohibited except where authorised by the Governor in consultation with the Minister of Health.”

March 15, 2021

AMERICAS

Paraguay (Security threat level – 3): On 14 March 2021, government officials announced that 24 cities in Paraguay will be placed under a “red alert” to slow the spread of COVID-19. The affected cities — in which nightly curfews from 2000 to 0500 local time (2300 to 0800 UTC) will be in effect during 18 March-4 April — include the capital Asunción and the following cities: Ayolas, Caacupé, Caazapá, Caraguatay, Ciudad del Este, Coronel Bogado, Encarnación, Fernando de la Mora, Fram, Guarambaré, Hohenau, Lambaré, Luque, Mariano Roque Alonso, Ñemby, Paraguarí, Pilar, San Bernardino, San Juan Bautista, San Ignacio, San Lorenzo, Villa Elisa and Villarrica. A nightly 0000-0500 local time curfew will remain in effect for the rest of the country. In addition, educational institutions in the aforementioned cities will be closed for two weeks beginning on 18 March.

United States (Security threat level – 2): On 15 March 2021, nearly 900 flights scheduled to operate through Denver International Airport (KDEN/DEN) in the state of Colorado have been canceled following a major winter storm that brought more than 2 ft (0.6 m) of snow to the Denver metropolitan area. More than 2,000 planned flights at the facility were canceled over the weekend of 13-14 March, 1,300 of those cancellations occurred on 14 March. In addition, the latest reports indicate that more than 24,600 homes and businesses in the state are experiencing weather-related power outages on the morning of 15 March.

ASIA

Myanmar (Security threat level – 4): As of 15 March 2021, the military has imposed martial law in six townships in the city of Yangon amid anti-coup protests in Myanmar. The martial law order was initially declared for the townships of Hliang Thar Yar and nearby Shwepyithar on 14 March and extended to North Dagon, North Okkalapa, South Dagon, and Dagon Seikkan townships the following day in response to arson attacks on garment factories owned by Chinese firms. The Chinese Embassy in Yangon stated that several Chinese nationals were injured in the arson attacks on factories in Hliang Thar Yar. Anti-coup groups have previously indicated that they could target Chinese businesses in response to China’s perceived support for Myanmar’s junta. In related developments, security forces killed three protesters during an anti-coup protest in the town of Myingyan, which is located in central Myanmar. Various reports indicate that telecommunications services, including mobile internet, were suspended in Yangon and several other areas of the country.

During the weekend of 13-14 March, anti-coup protests occurred in multiple cities despite the military’s crackdown on protesters. On 14 March security forces fired live rounds at protesters and burned makeshift barricades during protests in the Hlaing Thar Yar township in western Yangon, located 9 km (6 mi) east of Yangon International Airport (VYYY/RGN). In the town of Taungoo, located in Bago region, security forces used tear gas and stun grenades to disperse protesters. In total, at least 76 people were killed in protest-related violence nationwide. More than 30 of those fatalities reportedly occurred in Hlaing Thar Yar. Additionally, on 13 March security personnel in the city of Mandalay used live rounds to disperse a protest in Sein Pan ward, killing four protesters and injuring several others. Two people were killed, and several others were injured when security forces fired live rounds at demonstrators in the town of Pyay, located in Bago region.

EUROPE

Armenia (Security threat level – 4): On 12 March 2021, the Armenian Defense Ministry announced plans to hold drills from 16-20 March to test military readiness. According to the Defense Ministry, 7,500 soldiers, 200 missile and artillery units, 100 armored vehicles, approximately 90 anti-aircraft units, and an unknown number of aircraft will participate in the exercises. The move follows a 10 March announcement by the Azerbaijani Defense Ministry that its military will conduct similar exercises from 15-18 March, involving the participation of 10,000 soldiers, 100 armored vehicles, 200 artillery units and approximately 30 military aircraft, including helicopters.

Analyst Comment: Tensions remain high between Armenia and Azerbaijan after a Russian-backed ceasefire agreement, which was signed on 10 November 2020, ended a six-week war in the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region.

Belgium (Security threat level – 3): On 13 March 2021, police officers used water cannons and tear gas canisters to disperse a group of approximately 200 demonstrators in the eastern city of Liège, located in Wallonia region. The demonstrators had been participating in a peaceful protest, but broke away from the main group and began throwing stones and other projectiles at traffic signs, police officers and nearby buildings. Windows of the city hall building, a police station and multiple police vehicles were vandalized and perpetrators looted nearby businesses. The clashes left 36 police officers injured; nine of the officers were taken to a nearby hospital. Authorities arrested 12 individuals. The protesters had gathered to denounce police brutality following an incident in which police officers arrested an African woman earlier in the week.

Italy (Security threat level – 3): On 12 March 2021, the Italian Ministry of Health announced new lockdown measures to control the resurgence of COVID-19 infections in the country. From 15 March to 6 April, 11 regions in the country — Campania, Emilia-Romagna, Friuli Venezia Giulia, Lazio, Lombardy, Marche, Molise, Trento, Piemonte, Puglia and Vento — will be labeled as the “red zone” and subjected to the highest level of restrictions in the country’s four-tier system. Residents of the regions placed in the red zone will be prohibited from leaving their homes other than for essential reasons, such as work, or for medical or emergency reasons. Additionally, only essential shops — such as pharmacies and grocery stores — will remain open and nonessential travel between the regions will be banned. All other regions will be labeled as “orange zones,” with the exception of Sardinia, during the time period. Meanwhile, during the Easter holiday weekend from 3-5 April, a countrywide lockdown will be in effect. More information regarding the forthcoming restrictions can be found here.

 

Netherlands (Security threat level – 2): On 14 March 2021, clashes occurred between police officers and protesters who had gathered in The Hague to protest the ongoing countrywide lockdown enacted to control the spread of COVID-19. Authorities deployed water cannons and riot police officers to break up the gathering in the Malieveld area after hundreds of participants refuse to leave the site. At least three people were injured in the violence and police officers arrested approximately 20 demonstrators. Authorities had set a maximum limit of 200 participants for the demonstration, which drew more than 2,000 people and prompted officials to halt train services at the nearby central station to prevent more people from joining the demonstration.

Spain (Security threat level – 3): On 12 March 2021, authorities in Madrid modified existing regionwide coronavirus-related restrictions, aligning measures to abide by restrictions imposed by the central government during the upcoming Catholic holiday season, including the feast of San José and Holy Week. Officials in Madrid have reversed an initial rejection of the series of nationwide restrictions declared by the central government on 10 March. Subsequently, restrictions will be imposed on 17-21 March and again from 26 March to 9 April, to include a nightly 2300-0600 local time (2200-0500 UTC) curfew as well as a ban on interregional travel. Additionally, businesses deemed nonessential are required to close nightly by 2200 local time.

Switzerland (Security threat level – 2): On 12 March 2021, authorities announced plans to ease restrictions on 22 March that were imposed to curb the spread of COVID-19. Under the new relaxed restrictions, private gatherings at home of up to 10 people will be allowed, while outside events with audiences of up to 150 people and indoor events with up to 50 people will be allowed. Restaurants will also be permitted to reopen with a maximum of four people per table. Additionally, public leisure and entertainment establishments, such as botanical gardens, museums and zoos, will reopen.

GOVERNMENT WARNINGS

Kenya (Security threat level – 4): On 15 March 2021, the U.K. Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) issued updated travel advice for Kenya regarding the coronavirus-related nationwide curfew, which reads in part as follows: “On 12 March 2021, the Government of Kenya extended the nationwide curfew by a further 60 days. The curfew is in effect from 10pm to 4am (local time). During curfew hours, everyone must stay at home or indoors, except for essential service workers.”

Timor-Leste (Security threat level – 3): On 14 March 2021, the U.S. Embassy in Dili issued a Health Alert, which reads in part as follows: “The Timor-Leste National Police (PNTL) has advised that they are actively enforcing the Government of Timor-Leste (GOTL)-imposed movement restrictions related to COVID-19 and stopping individuals who are doing outdoor activities to include walking, jogging, cycling, and running. Increasing numbers of PNTL officers have been deployed to enforce this directive in areas with normally heavy foot traffic such as beach-side roads.

“U.S. citizens are advised to limit outdoor movements as much as possible and should be prepared to stop to provide explanation to the PNTL if requested. This advisory remains in effect for Dili until at least March 15, or until additional GOTL guidance is provided.”

“U.S. citizens are cautioned that the GOTL may impose criminal penalties for non-compliance to its announced directives.”

March 12, 2021

AMERICAS

Argentina (Security threat level – 3): On 11 March 2021, Argentine authorities renewed a coronavirus-related emergency decree, extending the countrywide health emergency until 31 December. The emergency decree — in effect since March 2020 — includes a requirement for inbound travelers to undergo 14 days of mandatory quarantine and present proof of a negative COVID-19 PCR test taken within 72 hours of the time of arrival. The decree also designates the Ministry of Health as the enforcement authority and allows it to establish health measures regarding the COVID-19 pandemic.

Mexico (Security threat level – 4): On 11 March 2021, officials in the southeastern state of Quintana Roo passed a law that will require foreign visitors over the age of 15 to pay a tourism tax beginning on 1 April. Visitors will be able to pay the tax of 224 Mexican pesos (11 U.S. dollars) while booking their trip online or at airport terminals. Belizean nationals will be subject to a smaller tax of 200 Mexican pesos due to the high frequency of trips Belizeans take to the border city of Chetumal. The tax is expected to generate 600 million Mexican pesos (29.1 million U.S. dollars) by the end of 2021 and will be used for tourism development in the state.

ASIA

South Korea (Security threat level – 2): On 12 March 2021, South Korean authorities extended current social distancing rules and a ban on gatherings of more than four people until 28 March in a continued effort to slow the spread of COVID-19. The greater Seoul area will be under Level 2 restrictions, while the rest of the country will be under Level 1.5 restrictions. Under Level 2 regulations, face masks are mandatory in all indoor areas and during high-risk outdoor activities. Additionally, most nonessential businesses must close by 2100 local time (1200 UTC); however, restaurants may continue to offer takeout and delivery services. Under Level 1.5 regulations, indoor dining is permissible with restrictions, and face masks are only mandatory while amid large gatherings of people and in high-risk venues, such as bars and medical facilities.

AUSTRALASIA

New Zealand (Security threat level – 1): On 12 March 2021, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced that the city of Auckland will move to COVID-19 Alert Level 1 — the lowest level on a four-tier scale — at 1200 local time on 12 March (2300 UTC on 11 March). Under Alert Level 1, face coverings must be worn on domestic flights and public transport. Operators of taxis and ride-hailing services are also required to wear such coverings. A full list of restrictions under Alert Level 1 is available here. Auckland had been the only location in the country at Level 2 since 7 March; the rest of the country was placed at Level 1 the same day. The country’s entry ban on non-resident foreign nationals remains in place.

EUROPE

Malta (Security threat level – 2): On 11 March 2021, the Maltese government imposed new restrictions to curb the spread of COVID-19, which will remain in place until 11 April. Under the new restrictions, nonessential businesses, including bars, cinemas, gyms, hair salons, museums, pools, theaters and tourist sites, are required to close. Restaurants are permitted to offer takeout services only, while hotel restaurants are allowed to provide room service in addition to takeout services. All public gatherings are limited to no more than four people. Additionally, travel to the island of Gozo is limited to essential trips only.

GOVERNMENT WARNINGS

Honduras (Security threat level – 4): On 11 March 2021, the U.S. Embassy in Tegucigalpa issued a Security Alert regarding the  temporary suspension of the coronavirus-related nightly curfew, which reads in part as follows: “From Friday, March 12 to Tuesday, March 16, the national curfew is suspended in order for the internal and primary political party elections to be carried out on time, and in strict compliance of all biosecurity measures.”

Myanmar (Security threat level – 4): On 12 March 2021, the U.K. FCDO issued updated travel advice for Myanmar regarding the ongoing unrest, which reads in part as follows: “The Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) advises British Nationals to leave the country by commercial means, unless there is an urgent need to stay.

“As of 1 February, the Myanmar military have declared a state of emergency and assumed control. Figures in the Civilian Government, civil society and a foreign national have been detained by the military. Political tension and unrest are widespread since the military takeover and levels of violence are rising. The military has ordered a nightly internet shutdown, various internet platforms have been blocked and reports of disruptions to wider internet and phone networks are widespread. Access to money has become increasingly difficult with banks shut and ATMs not working. There is a nationwide curfew imposed between 8pm and 4am until further notice. If you are not able to leave Myanmar at this time, you are advised to stay home and stay safe. If you need to leave home for essential reasons, you should do so quickly, avoiding crowds.”

North Macedonia (Security threat level – 3): On 10 March 2021, the U.K. Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) issued updated travel advice for North Macedonia, which reads in part as follows: “On 10 March, the Government of North Macedonia introduced a nationwide curfew, which all citizens, with a few exceptions for key workers, must obey. From Wednesday 10 March 2021 up to Monday 22 March 2021, the movement of people and public transport vehicles is banned between 10 pm until 5 am the next day.

“The curfew does not apply to people in need of emergency medical assistance but permission must be sought from the local police prior to travel.

“The curfew does not apply for passengers arriving or departing from international airports with a valid ticket. Travellers that are transiting through the country will not be allowed to stay in the territory for more than three hours after crossing the border.”

Senegal (Security threat level – 3): On 11 March 2021, the U.S. Embassy in Dakar issued a Demonstration Alert, which reads in part as follows: “Potential for demonstration activity throughout Senegal during the weekend (March 12-March 14).

“Despite the recent calm, demonstration activity throughout Senegal remains a possibility this weekend, particularly Saturday afternoon. Demonstrations may occur with little to no advance notice.

“U.S. citizens are encouraged to avoid any locations where demonstrations are ongoing. Blocking streets and intersections as well as burning tires is a common part of these demonstrations and often leads to significant traffic delays. A large police presence may be indicative of anticipated protest activity.”

March 11, 2021

AMERICAS

Brazil (Security threat level – 3): On 11 March 2021, the mayor of Rio de Janeiro extended coronavirus-related restrictions until 22 March as Brazil grapples with a significant spike of COVID-19 cases and experts issue warnings that the country’s health care system is overwhelmed. In the city of Rio de Janeiro, businesses in the service industry are allowed to operate from 0800 to 1700 local time (1100-2000 UTC), while other businesses are allowed to operate during the hours of 1030-2100 local time. Bars, restaurants and other food establishments are allowed to remain open until 2100 local time nightly, with only delivery or takeaway operations allowed after curfew. All indoor locations are required to operate at a maximum of no more than 40% capacity. Additionally, individuals are subject to a 2300-0500 local time nightly curfew, with a fine of 562.42 Brazilian reais (approximately 100 U.S. dollars) for noncompliance.

ASIA

Philippines (Security threat level – 4): On 11 March 2021, authorities announced that a 2200-0500 local time (1400-2100 UTC) nightly curfew will go into effect for cities within the Metro Manila area for 14 days beginning on 15 March in an effort to slow the spread of COVID-19. During the curfew, restaurants may remain open for delivery and essential workers traveling for work are exempt. Anyone who is outdoors during curfew hours will be required to present identification. Punishments for violators will vary by city.

EUROPE

France (Security threat level – 3): On 11 March 2021, French authorities annulled an existing entry ban on nonessential travelers from Australia, Israel, Japan, New Zealand, Singapore, South Korea and the U.K. Travelers from these seven countries may enter France for any reason beginning on 12 March, provided they possess proof of negative results from a COVID-19 PCR test taken within 72 hours prior to arrival. Anyone attempting to travel to France from outside of the EU must provide an essential reason for doing so. All individuals allowed to enter France are advised to quarantine for seven days.

Spain (Security threat level – 3): On 10 March 2021, health officials announced a series of mandatory quarantine measures as well as recommendations in an effort to limit the spread of COVID-19 during the upcoming Catholic holiday season, including the feast of San José and Holy Week. The restrictions will be in effect from 17-21 March and again from 26 March to 9 April, with officials imposing limitations on nonessential travel and activities. A nightly nationwide curfew from 2300 to 0600 local time (2200-0500 UTC) will be in effect, with officials of autonomous communities across Spain enforcing a perimeter that prohibits residents from exiting or entering established borders. Additionally, authorities recommend that indoor public gatherings be limited to at most four people and outdoor public gatherings to at most six people. Central government officials announced that the Canary and Balearic Islands are exempt from these restrictions. Subsequently, officials from the community of Madrid announced that they will not enforce the central government’s coronavirus-related restrictions. It is unknown whether officials in Madrid will pursue legal action to secure an exemption.

MIDDLE EAST AND NORTH AFRICA

Jordan (Security threat level – 3): On 10 March 2021, Jordanian authorities declared additional restrictions — which will go into effect on 13 March — in an effort to control the rapid spread of COVID-19 in the country. Officials extended countrywide nightly curfew hours, which will be in effect from 1900-0600 local time (1700-0400 UTC) for individuals and from 1800-0600 local time for businesses. An exception for individuals and businesses in the agricultural sector will allow them to begin work at 0500 local time. Additionally, officials will implement a 24-hour curfew on weekends, including a ban on Friday prayers in mosques and Sunday prayers in churches, through 31 March.

GOVERNMENT WARNINGS

Senegal (Security threat level – 3): On 10 March 2021, the U.K. Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) issued updated travel advice for Senegal to include the following: “The opposition and civil society group ‘Movement to Democracy’ has called for a sit-in on Saturday 13 March at Place de la Nation in Dakar at 3pm. This is expected to be peaceful but you should avoid the area. You should continue to remain vigilant, avoid large gatherings and monitor local media for information.

“Following looting of several supermarkets on 5 March, almost all supermarkets have reopened. The road to the airport has reopened. There is a risk of gas and fuel shortages across the country following attacks on several petrol stations during the protests over the past week.”

United States (Security threat level – 2): On 10 March 2021, the U.S. Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) and the FBI issued a joint advisory regarding vulnerabilities in Microsoft Exchange Server products, which reads in part as follows: “CISA and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) have released a Joint Cybersecurity Advisory (CSA) to address recently disclosed vulnerabilities in Microsoft Exchange Server. CISA and FBI assess that adversaries could exploit these vulnerabilities to compromise networks, steal information, encrypt data for ransom, or even execute a destructive attack.

“The CSA places the malicious cyber actor activity observed in the current Microsoft Exchange Server compromise into the MITRE Adversarial Tactics, Techniques, and Common Knowledge (ATT&CK®) framework.

“CISA recommends organizations to review Joint CSA: AA-21-069 Compromise of Microsoft Exchange Server as well as the CISA Remediating Microsoft Exchange Vulnerabilities web page for guidance on detecting, protecting against, and remediating this malicious activity.”

March 10, 2021

AMERICAS

United States (Security threat level – 2): On 9 March 2021, the governor of Hawaii declared a state of emergency following heavy rainfall and subsequent flooding in the state. Widespread flooding prompted emergency officials to issue evacuation orders for thousands of residents in the Haleiwa area, located in the northern part of Oahu island. Two people were swept away by floods in the island’s Pearl City area; one has been rescued and emergency crews are searching for the other. Meanwhile, on Maui island, heavy rainfall caused Kaupakalua dam in the Haiku area to overflow, prompting authorities to issue evacuation orders for individuals residing downstream from the dam. A bridge in Haiku was destroyed in the flooding and another bridge sustained significant damage. Nearly one dozen homes on Maui were inundated. Weather forecasts indicate that the inclement weather in the state will continue through 12 March.

ASIA

Philippines (Security threat level – 4): On 9 March 2021, the mayor of the capital Manila announced that Barangays 351 and 725, as well as the Malate Bayview Mansion and Hop Inn Hotel, will be under lockdown from 0001 local time on 11 March to 2359 local time on 14 March (1601 UTC on 10 March to1559 UTC on 14 March) due to an increasing number of new COVID-19 cases. Under the order, residents will not be allowed to leave their homes. Health officials will conduct contact tracing and COVID-19 testing during the lockdown.

EUROPE

Estonia (Security threat level – 2): Additional nationwide restrictions to curb the spread of COVID-19 will be in effect in Estonia as of 11 March 2021. The restrictions — set to remain in effect until at least 11 April — will require all educational institutions to implement distance learning, while all nonessential businesses, such as bars and restaurants, will be required to close unless they can provide delivery or drive-through services. Additionally, the “2+2 rule” will be implemented, under which up to two people are allowed to travel and visit public places together while maintaining a distance of at least 2 m (6 ft) from others; the rule does not apply to families or situations in which the physical distance cannot be observed.

Greece (Security threat level – 3): On the evening of 9 March 2021, clashes broke out between protesters and police officers in the southern Nea Smyrni suburb of the capital Athens during a march organized to protest an incident of police brutality. A group of demonstrators threw rocks and Molotov cocktails at a police station and assaulted an officer riding a motorcycle. Police officers deployed tear gas, stun grenades and water cannons to disperse the crowd. Five police officers were injured in the violence, and authorities arrested 16 people. More than 5,000 people, mostly youths, participated in the march to denounce police brutality after a video filmed on 7 March — which shows police officers assaulting a man in the Nea Smyrni area — circulated on social media platforms.

SUB-SAHARAN AFRICA

South Africa (Security threat level – 4): On 10 March 2021, police officers used rubber bullets and stun grenades to disperse student protesters who had gathered at the Braamfontein campus of the University of Witwatersrand in Johannesburg’s Central Business District. Clashes broke out when police officers fired rubber bullets and stun grenades to disperse the protesters, who were disrupting traffic in the city center area. In response, protesters threw various projectiles at the officers. At least one passerby was killed, and authorities arrested two protesters. The students were protesting the university’s refusal to allow students with unpaid tuition fees to register for classes.

GOVERNMENT WARNINGS

Philippines (Security threat level – 4): On 9 March 2021, the U.K. Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) issued updated travel advice regarding increased activity of the Taal volcano, which reads in part as follows: “On 9 March, the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS) raised the alert status of Taal volcano from Level 1 (low level unrest) to Alert Level 2 (increasing unrest) due to probable magmatic activity that may or may not lead to an eruption. PHIVOLCS is not advising evacuation from the nearby area but has reminded the public that direct access to Taal Volcano Island is strictly prohibited and the area is closed to entry. You should follow updates on the PhiVolcs official website. ”

Senegal (Security threat level – 3): On 9 March 2021, the U.S. Embassy in Dakar issued a Demonstration Alert, which reads in part as follows: “Continued possibility of demonstration activity throughout Senegal on Tuesday, March 9 and Wednesday, March 10. U.S. government personnel are advised to stay at home during nighttime hours on March 9 and March 10, and to exercise caution and limit their movements during daylight hours.

“Recently, several of these protests have escalated into more violent clashes with law enforcement and resulted in the looting of local businesses. As a result, local businesses, including stores and gas stations, may remain closed for the next few days or only open for brief periods.

“U.S. citizens are encouraged to avoid any locations where demonstrations are ongoing. Blocking streets and intersections as well as burning tires is a common part of these demonstrations and often leads to significant traffic delays. A large police presence may be indicative of anticipated protest activity.

“The Consular section of the U.S. Embassy will resume routine scheduled services on Wednesday, March 10.”

Analyst Comment: Anti-government protests intensified in the capital Dakar and elsewhere in Senegal on 3 March after police officers arrested Ousmane Sonko — a popular opposition politician who ran in the 2019 presidential election — for allegedly disrupting the public order as he was en route to a court hearing on allegations of rape. Unrest has since continued in the country, during which eight people have been killed. Sonko was released on bail on 8 March but could face up to 10 years imprisonment if convicted. Sonko’s supporters perceive his detention and subsequent attempt to convict him on criminal charges as the government’s effort to suppress the opposition as evinced in other past instances.

March 9, 2021

AMERICAS

Lesser Antilles (Security threat level – 1): On 8 March 2021, the government of Curaçao extended a nationwide state of emergency imposed due to the COVID-19 pandemic until 6 June. Additionally, the hours of the ongoing nightly curfew have been adjusted to 2200 to 0430 local time (0200-0830 UTC), while face masks remain mandatory in public spaces. Prime Minister Eugene Rhuggenaath stated that the U.K. variant of COVID-19 has been quickly spreading throughout the country, necessitating stricter measures.

Mexico (Security threat level – 4): On 8 March 2021, police officers clashed with demonstrators in several areas of Mexico City, including in the main Zócalo Plaza, as more than 20,000 people gathered to commemorate International Women’s Day. Police officers used tear gas to disperse protesters after they breached the metal barricades surrounding the National Palace. Demonstrators reportedly attacked police officers with Molotov cocktails and hammers, and vandalized buildings — including the National Museum of Art — in the Historic Center district. In addition, demonstrators erected blockades, disrupting vehicular traffic at major intersections. A government official stated that 62 police officers and 19 civilians were injured in the clashes; there were no reports of arrests. Demonstrations also occurred in the states of Oaxaca, Queretaro and Veracruz.

Paraguay (Security threat level – 3): On the evening of 8 March 2021, protests calling for the resignation of President Mario Abdo Benítez occurred in central Asunción, the capital, for a fourth consecutive day. Hundreds of protesters gathered in the vicinity of the National Congress building and the ruling National Republican Association (ANR) headquarters, during which protesters set fires and damaged multiple buildings and vehicles along 25 de Mayo Street. Police officers used tear gas and water cannons to disperse the gathering outside the ANR headquarters after a group of participants threw firecrackers and stones at the officers. Authorities arrested at least 16 people. There were no reports of significant injuries or deaths due to the violence. Protesters are demanding the president’s resignation over allegations of corruption and the government’s perceived mishandling of the COVID-19 pandemic. The main opposition Authentic Radical Liberal Party plans to introduce an impeachment motion against the president in the legislature.

United States (Security threat level – 2): On 8 March 2021, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released interim guidance for individuals fully vaccinated against COVID-19, advising that they can safely gather in small groups with other vaccinated people in indoor settings without maintaining physical distance or wearing face coverings. The CDC also noted that individuals fully inoculated against COVID-19 — 14 days after receiving the second dose of a two-dose vaccine, or the only dose of a single-dose vaccine — may visit unvaccinated individuals from a single household who are at a low risk for COVID-19. The full text of the interim guidance is available here.

ASIA

China (Security threat level – 3): On 8 March 2021, the Chinese government launched a digital travel health certificate through the social media platform WeChat. The certificate, which is currently only available to Chinese nationals who wish to travel internationally, contains information regarding an individual’s COVID-19 vaccination status as well as results for COVID-19 nucleic acid and antibody tests. The information is accessible via QR code as well as a printable copy. However, it is unknown whether any countries have agreed to accept the health certificate.

EUROPE

Netherlands (Security threat level – 2): On 8 March 2021, Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte extended an ongoing countrywide lockdown through 30 March in a sustained effort to control the spread of COVID-19. The lockdown, initially imposed on 15 December 2020, was further tightened with the implementation of a 2100 to 0430 local time (2000-0330 UTC) nightly curfew as of 23 January 2021; the curfew is now set to remain in effect until the morning of 31 March. During the lockdown, nonessential businesses, as well as educational institutions, museums, theaters and fitness centers, are required to shut down; however, essential businesses — such as grocery stores, pharmacies and banks — are open. All businesses have been permitted to offer curbside pick-up services since 10 February. Outdoor as well as indoor gatherings of more than two people from separate households are prohibited. Additionally, residents are urged to stay indoors as much as possible and avoid all nonessential foreign travel through 15 April. Further details provided by the Dutch government are available here.

MIDDLE EAST AND NORTH AFRICA

Iraq (Security threat level – 5): On the night of 8 March 2021, unidentified militants attacked Shiite pilgrims outside the Imam al-Kadhim Shrine in Baghdad’s Khadhimiyya neighborhood using a hand grenade. Iraqi authorities stated that the grenade was hidden in a trash can on al-Aimah Bridge, which connects the shrine to the rest of the neighborhood. The bombing killed one person and wounded 30 others. No group has claimed responsibility for the attack.

Analyst Comment: The attack occurred during the commemoration of the martyrdom of Imam al-Kadhim and was timed to inflict maximum casualties. Organizations with assets and personnel in Iraq should exercise caution during religious holidays in the country due to the heightened threat of sectarian-motivated attacks.

SUB-SAHARAN AFRICA

Senegal (Security threat level – 3): On 8 March 2021, Senegalese President Macky Sall revised the coronavirus-related nightly curfew for the cities of Dakar and Thies amid pressure from business owners to relax restrictions. The curfew in these two cities is now in effect from 0000-0500 local time/UTC. The rest of the country continues to remain under the curfew from 2100-0500 local time.

GOVERNMENT WARNINGS

Senegal (Security threat level – 3): On 8 March 2021, the U.S. Embassy in Dakar issued a Demonstration Alert, which reads in part as follows: “Local political opposition leaders have called for continued large demonstrations throughout Senegal to from Monday, March 8 through Wednesday, March 10.

“U.S. government personnel are advised to stay at home from 5 p.m. today (Monday) until 1:00 p.m. Tuesday, March 9 and to exercise caution and limit their movements at other times.

“Recently, several of these protests have escalated into more violent clashes with law enforcement and resulted in the looting of local businesses. As a result, local businesses, including stores and gas stations, may remain closed for the next few days or only open for brief periods.”

The full text of the alert is available here.

March 8, 2021

AMERICAS

Haiti (Security threat level – 4): On 7 March 2021, police officers deployed tear gas to disperse anti-government protesters who had gathered in several areas of the capital Port-au-Prince, after the protesters attempted to breach security barricades erected to prevent the crowd from entering the upscale Pétion-Ville neighborhood. Police officers also deployed tear gas to disperse demonstrators in the Champs-de-Mars park, located in downtown Port-au-Prince, after the protesters began throwing stones at the officers. One demonstrator reportedly suffered gunshot wounds during the clashes. The demonstrators, mostly health care workers, had gathered to express concerns regarding the deteriorating security conditions in Haiti and to demand the resignation of President Jovenel Moïse.

Mexico (Security threat level – 4): On 8 March 2021, more than 100 demonstrations are expected to occur throughout Mexico to coincide with International Women’s Day. In the capital Mexico City, marches are scheduled to begin at 1330 local time (1930 UTC) and 1600 local time at Plaza de la República and in front of the mayor’s office — located adjacent to Zócalo square — respectively. The demonstrations are likely to cause disruptions in the city center area, including along the Paseo de la Reforma thoroughfare, Juarez Avenue and Avenida 5 de Mayo. Mexico City officials have installed steel barriers around the National Palace and closed access to the Zócalo square in anticipation of possible violence. In addition, approximately 2,100 female police officers will be stationed throughout the city.

ASIA

Thailand / Japan (Security threat levels – 3 / 1): On 8 March 2021, Thai authorities announced that as of an undisclosed date in April, arriving international travelers who provide proof that they have received a COVID-19 vaccine between 14 days and three months prior to entry will be allowed to observe a seven-day quarantine; vaccinated travelers from South Africa will still be required to abide by the existing 14-day quarantine for all other arrivals. Inbound travelers will still be required to provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test taken within 72 hours prior to departure. Furthermore, anyone who receives a vaccine in Thailand as of 21 March may be issued a vaccine certificate for a 100 baht (about 3.26 U.S. dollars) fee to be used as proof of vaccination when traveling abroad. However, acceptance of the certificates may vary by country.

On 5 March the Japanese government extended an existing coronavirus-related state of emergency for Chiba, Kanagawa, Saitama and Tokyo prefectures through 21 March. Under the order, residents are advised to defer all nonessential travel, and bars and restaurants must close by 2000 local time (1100 UTC) daily. Authorities extended the state of emergency, citing concerns regarding a potential resurgence of COVID-19 cases — which are continuing to decrease — if the existing restrictions were lifted.

AUSTRALASIA

South Pacific Islands (Security threat level – 1): As of 0000 local time on 8 March 2021 (1300 UTC on 7 March), the French archipelago of New Caledonia is under a coronavirus-related lockdown following the confirmation of nine COVID-19 cases in Nouméa, the capital. During the lockdown, which is currently set to last until 22 March, all nonessential businesses and educational institutions are closed; however, essential businesses — such as gas stations, grocery stores and pharmacies — remain open. Anyone venturing out in public is required to carry an attestation providing justification for their movement. Domestic passenger flights within New Caledonia, as well as flights between the archipelago and Wallis and Futuna, have been suspended. All New Caledonia-bound international passenger flights will be suspended beginning on 12 March. Authorities in New Caledonia believe the community-based transmission in Nouméa is linked to the emergence of COVID-19 in Wallis and Futuna; individuals who have arrived in New Caledonia from Wallis and Futuna since 25 January have been asked to self-isolate and contact health officials. Further details regarding the coronavirus-related restrictions in New Caledonia can be viewed here.

EUROPE

Italy (Security threat level – 3): On 5 March 2021, authorities extended an ongoing entry ban on travelers who have visited or transited the U.K. within the previous 14 days until at least 6 April. Only nationals and residents of Italy are allowed entry after travel to the U.K. Travelers who are permitted to enter are required to present a negative COVID-19 PCR test taken within 48 hours of entry, take a second test upon arrival and self-isolate for 14 days.

Romania (Security threat level – 2): On 7 March 2021, approximately 3,000 demonstrators rallied outside the Palace of the Parliament in central Bucharest, the capital city, to protest COVID-19 vaccinations and tightened coronavirus-related restrictions. The protest occurred after authorities announced rigid restrictions in the cities of Bucharest and Timisoara for a period of 14 days during 8-22 March. Most indoor areas of nonessential businesses are closed, and residents must fill out an official form stating the reason for being outdoors. An existing nationwide nightly curfew remains in place from 2300-0600 local time (2100-0400 UTC). The new restrictions were instituted after infection rates in the two aforementioned cities rose above three cases per 1,000 persons over a 14-day period.

United Kingdom (Security threat level – 3): As of 8 March 2021, individuals traveling abroad from England are required to complete a declaration form prior to travel and carry on their person a printed copy or electronic version of the completed form as part of the government’s efforts to control the spread of COVID-19. Airlines, train operators and ferry service providers are required to check that the form has been completed before permitting passengers to proceed with their overseas trips. Individuals under 18 years of age are exempt from completing the declaration form. Police officials are stepping up random checks to ensure that the travel is being undertaken for legally valid reasons, such as for school, work, or other essential activities. Those without the completed form could face an initial fine of 200 British pounds (nearly 277 U.S. dollars), with a maximum fine of up to 6,400 pounds. Authorities initially enacted the requirement to declare a reason for overseas travel with the introduction of tougher border controls on 27 January; those found without a valid reason for travel have since been ordered to return home from ports or airports. Both international and domestic travel have remained banned, except for essential reasons, since the coronavirus-related nationwide lockdown was enacted in England on 5 January. Prime Minister Boris Johnson recently outlined a new four-step plan for gradually annulling all existing coronavirus-related restrictions in England by 21 June.

MIDDLE EAST AND NORTH AFRICA

Kuwait / Tunisia / Saudi Arabia (Security threat levels – 2 / 3 / 3): On 8 March 2021, Tunisian authorities reduced coronavirus-related curfew hours and relaxed restrictions for travelers entering the country. The nightly curfew is now in effect from 2200-0500 local time (2100-0400 UTC). Additionally, inbound travelers are no longer required to complete a 14-day quarantine on arrival. Instead, they are required to self-isolate for 48 hours and take a PCR test at the end of the self-isolation period. Travelers will be responsible for scheduling and paying for their PCR test.

On 7 March Kuwaiti authorities imposed a nationwide nightly curfew in order to slow the spread of COVID-19 in the country. The curfew — in place from 1700-0500 local time (1400-0200 UTC) — will remain in effect until at least 8 April.

In Saudi Arabia, authorities lifted several coronavirus-related restrictions as of 7 March. Indoor dining in cafes and restaurants has resumed, and entertainment establishments — such as movie theaters, gaming venues and gyms — have reopened. However, large social gatherings, including weddings and banquets, remain banned until further notice, while all other gatherings are limited to a maximum of 20 people.

Lebanon (Security threat level – 4): On 8 March 2021, demonstrators in the capital Beirut temporarily blocked both tunnels on the airport road, disrupting access between the city and Beirut-Rafic Hariri International Airport (OLBA/BEY). Operations at the facility were not disrupted. In addition, protesters blocked roads across Beirut — as well as between the capital and the northern city of Tripoli — in response to worsening economic conditions in the country.

Saudi Arabia (Security threat level – 3): On the evening of 7 March 2021, armed drones and ballistic missiles were launched at oil infrastructure in Saudi Arabia’s Eastern province. According to the Energy Ministry, an explosives-laden drone struck an oil storage facility in the port city of Ras Tanura, and shrapnel from a missile fell near a residential area in the city of Dhahran. Additionally, a ballistic missile was fired toward Saudi Aramco facilities in al-Khobar. There were no reports of damage or casualties due to the attacks. Yemen-based Houthi rebels claimed responsibility for the attacks, but did not provide evidence to support their claim. Saudi authorities allege that the missile and drone attacks originated from the Persian Gulf, indicating possible Iranian involvement in the strikes.

SUB-SAHARAN AFRICA

Equatorial Guinea (Security threat level – 3): On the afternoon of 7 March 2021, a series of at least four powerful explosions occurred at a military barracks in the Nkoantoma area of Bata, the largest city in Equatorial Guinea. The blasts destroyed a number of residences in the area and caused damage to buildings across the city. Authorities set up a security cordon in the area, where rescue personnel continue to conduct search operations as of the afternoon hours of 8 March to locate people potentially trapped under the debris. The death toll from the blasts currently remains at 31, and approximately 420 people are hospitalized. The fatality count will likely rise. Authorities have attributed the cause of the blasts to carelessness in the handling and storage of explosive materials by military personnel at the barracks, which caught fire as farmers carried out stubble burning in the adjacent area.

Somalia (Security threat level – 5): On the evening of 5 March 2021, a vehicle-borne improvised explosive device (VBIED) detonated at a popular restaurant located in the Hamar Jajab district in the capital Mogadishu. The explosives-laden vehicle struck the restaurant, which is frequented by government and security officials, causing some nearby residences to collapse. The powerful blast also damaged several other buildings in the area. At least 20 people were killed in the attack and 30 others were wounded. The al-Shabab terrorist group claimed responsibility for the bombing.

GOVERNMENT WARNINGS

Haiti (Security threat level – 4): On 6 March 2021, the U.S. Embassy in Port-au-Prince issued a Security Alert, which reads in part as follows: “U.S. citizens driving vehicles with tinted windows are advised to exercise extreme caution while they circulate throughout Haiti. Darkened windows are frequently associated with vehicles used by kidnappers and this issue may be at the root of a recent attack on a U.S. Embassy employee. Be aware of your surroundings at all times and avoid unnecessary travel.”

Senegal (Security threat level – 3): On 7 March 2021, the U.S. Embassy in Dakar Senegal issued a Demonstration Alert, which reads in part as follows: “Local political opposition leaders have called for large demonstrations throughout Senegal to begin Monday morning, March 8, and continue for several days.

“Recently, several of these protests have escalated into more violent clashes with law enforcement and resulted in the looting of businesses. As a result, some local businesses, including grocery stores and gas stations, may be closed for the next few days.

“U.S. government personnel are advised to stay at home from 6 p.m. today (Sunday) until 5 p.m. Monday, March 8 and to exercise caution and limit their movements at other times.”

March 5, 2021

AMERICAS

Mexico (Security threat level – 4): On 3 March 2021, authorities in the western state of Jalisco announced additional coronavirus-related restrictions that will be in effect during Holy Week, a Christian observance which occurs from 28 March to 3 April. Police officers will erect checkpoints at airports, highways and bus stations to conduct health screenings in order to detect possible COVID-19 cases. Hotels and resorts in the state — including in popular tourist areas such as Lake Chapala and Puerto Vallarta — will be required to limit occupancy to 66%. Beaches will be open from 0500 to 1700 local time (1100 to 2300 UTC) only, while restaurants and bars must close by 2300 local time. Religious pageants and processions are banned, although churches may remain open with capacity limits.

ASIA

Myanmar (Security threat level – 4): As of 4 March 2021, the threat level for Yangon, Myanmar’s largest city, has been raised to 4 (High) from 3 (Medium) due to the recent deterioration of the overall security environment in the city. There has been sustained unrest in Yangon since the 1 February military coup and the probability for additional violence remains high. Security personnel have increasingly used forceful tactics, such as deploying tear gas, and firing rubber bullets and live ammunition to disperse daily anti-coup protests. Furthermore, demonstrators appear to be undeterred and continue to gather in large numbers throughout the city. There are currently no indications that either side is willing to acquiesce, as attempts to promote dialogue between protesters and the junta have failed to produce results thus far.

AUSTRALASIA

New Zealand (Security threat level – 1): On 5 March 2021, Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern announced a nationwide relaxation of coronavirus-related restrictions after health officials recorded no COVID-19 cases in the country for five consecutive days. Beginning at 0600 local time on 7 March (1700 UTC on 6 March), the city of Auckland will move to COVID-19 Alert Level 2 from Level 3, while the rest of country will move to Alert Level 1 from Level 2. Details regarding requirements for each level are available here.

New Zealand (Security threat level – 1): On the morning of 5 March 2021, three high-magnitude earthquakes struck near New Zealand, including a 6.9 magnitude quake that occurred approximately 240 km (150 mi) east of Gisborne on North Island and 7.4 and 8.1 magnitude quakes that hit near the Kermadec Islands. Each tremor prompted the National Emergency Management Agency to issue tsunami alerts for coastal areas across the country, advising residents to seek higher ground. Authorities canceled all such alerts by 1545 local time (0745 UTC) after the threat had passed. Although some wave surges reached coastal areas near Auckland, there were no reports of significant damage or injuries. Authorities had evacuated thousands of people from low-lying areas on North Island following the 8.1 magnitude tremor. The Britomart train station — Auckland’s main train station — was temporarily closed due to the threat of flooding and ferry services in the city were canceled.

South Pacific Islands (Security threat level – 1): At approximately 2000 local time (0900 UTC) on 5 March 2021, Tropical Cyclone Niran was located approximately 1,080 km (670 mi) west-northwest of Noumea, New Caledonia, and was moving to the east-southeast at a speed of nearly 45 kph (27 mph), according to the U.S. Joint Typhoon Warning Center. At that point, the cyclone had maximum sustained winds of 213 kph, with gusts of up to 259 kph. Niran is currently forecast to make landfall in New Caledonia at approximately 1300 local time on 6 March. Airport officials have announced the closure of La Tontouta International Airport (NWWW/NOU) — located approximately 45 km (28 mi) northwest of the capital Noumea — ahead of the cyclone’s arrival. Flight operations at the facility will be halted as of 0200 local time on 6 March until the storm passes through the area.

EUROPE

Cyprus (Security threat level – 2): On 4 March 2021, authorities announced that as of 1 May U.K. nationals who can present documented proof of having received a COVID-19 vaccine will no longer be subjected to additional coronavirus-related entry requirements. Those seeking entry without additional restrictions are required to have received both doses of a vaccine approved by the European Medicines Agency at least seven days prior to entry. Face masks and social distancing measures will remain mandatory. All U.K. nationals will be permitted to enter Cyprus beginning on 1 April, provided they possess proof of a negative PCR test taken within 72 hours of arrival.

Moldova (Security threat level – 3): On 4 March 2021, authorities imposed new entry restrictions due to a rise in new COVID-19 cases. As of 5 March, all travelers are required to present a negative COVID-19 PCR test taken no more than 72 hours prior to arrival. Foreign nationals who arrive without a test may be denied entry, while Moldovan nationals and legal residents will be required to quarantine for 14 days. The nationwide state of emergency remains in effect until 15 April.

SUB-SAHARAN AFRICA

Senegal (Security threat level – 3): As of 5 March 2021, violent demonstrations over the detention of opposition leader Ousmane Sonko are ongoing in the capital Dakar and elsewhere in Senegal. Protests initially broke out on 3 March following Sonko’s arrest due to rape allegations and have since continued to escalate. Demonstrators have blocked roads and thrown stones at security personnel, who have responded by firing tear gas to disperse the gatherings. Protesters have also looted and burned several stores, gas stations and media outlets in Dakar. Following days of protests, the government banned motorcycles in the Dakar region through at least 2100 local time/UTC on 6 March. Furthermore, internet access has been disrupted across Senegal — with social media and messaging applications being most affected — and authorities suspended the signals of two television stations. Thus far, at least one person has been killed during the violence in Bignona, a town located in the southern Casamance region. Media reports indicate that an additional four individuals were killed during clashes on 5 March.

Analyst comment: Sonko is expected to appear in court later in the day on 5 March to face charges of disturbing public order and participating in an unauthorized demonstration, which is likely to spark additional protests.

GOVERNMENT WARNINGS

Benin (Security threat level – 3): On 4 March 2021, the U.S. Embassy in Cotonou issued a Security Alert regarding an increased security personnel presence, which reads in part as follows:

“Location: Erevan Quartier, Cotonou, and Urban Areas Throughout Benin

“Event: There is an increased police and military presence in the Erevan Quartier of Cotonou, which may cause sporadic road closures and access restrictions over the next few days. Demonstrations may occur throughout Benin without little or no advance notice and may vary in size and purpose.”

The full text of the alert is available here.

Guatemala (Security threat level – 4): On 4 March 2021, the U.S. Embassy in Guatemala City issued a Security Alert, which reads in part as follows: “The Government of Guatemala (GoG) has announced a State of Prevention for the Municipality of Malacatan. The State of Prevention is due to recent episodes of civil unrest in Malacatan as a result of a decision by the electric service provider to discontinue services in the area stemming from nonpayment of services and illegal power connections. On February 24, 2021, violent incidents in the area occurred including the sacking of the Malacatan power plant. The decision by the GoG is effective through March 19th and may impact other surrounding areas in San Marcos. During this State of Prevention period, there will be limitations imposed in the area to include meetings and gatherings in public spaces, such as protests.”

Mali (Security threat level – 5): On 5 March 2021, the U.S. Embassy in Bamako issued a Demonstration Alert regarding an event planned for 6 March, which reads in part as follows:

“The June 5 Movement-Rally of Patriotic Forces (M5-RFP) has called for a meeting on Saturday, March 6 at 4:00 PM. The event will take place at the “Maison des Aines” in ACI2000. The event is approved by local authorities.

“Demonstrations sometimes turn violent, resulting in the burning of tires, clashes with the police, blockage on the roads and bridges, throwing of rocks at vehicles, the deployment of tear gas, and small arms fire.”

The full text of the alert is available here.

Norway (Security threat level – 2): On 4 March 2021, the U.S. Embassy in Oslo issued a Demonstration Alert regarding an upcoming demonstration on 8 March, which reads in part as follows:

“A demonstration is planned to take place at the U.S. Embassy in Oslo off of Sørkedalsveien in the Huseby neighborhood on Monday, March 8, 2021. The group plans to gather outside Parliament at 1 PM, then march from Parliament to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and finally come to the U.S. Embassy. The demonstration is scheduled to conclude at 3 PM. The Embassy anticipates 20 demonstrators; local police will direct them to protest in a designated area away from the Embassy grounds, approximately 100 meters northeast of the Embassy.

“The start times and number of demonstrators involved in demonstrations are variable. Furthermore, while most demonstrations in Oslo are coordinated with local police and remain peaceful, even demonstrations expected to be non-violent are unpredictable and can escalate into violence. Accordingly, U.S. citizens are advised to proceed with caution and consider avoiding these areas from approximately 12-5pm.”

Saudi Arabia (Security threat level – 3): On 5 March 2021, the U.S. Embassy in Riyadh issued a Security Alert, which reads in part as follows: “The U.S. Mission to Saudi Arabia reminds U.S. citizens that extremist groups and regional actors have conducted destructive missile and drone attacks against a variety of targets. These attacks have occurred with little or no warning, impacting airports, energy infrastructure, and other civilian facilities.

“Violence associated with Iran-supported groups represents a significant threat. U.S. citizens living and working near military bases and critical civilian infrastructure, including airports, are at heightened risk of missile and drone attack. U.S. citizens should remain alert and be prepared to respond in case of attacks.

“Airplanes at Saudi airports may be at risk of damage on account of the escalating conflict with Yemen and rising violence. Iraqi militants have also launched a series of attacks at air bases and airports and may inadvertently hit commercial aircraft in their campaign.

“Due to risks to civil aviation operating within the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman region, including Saudi Arabia, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) issued an advisory Notice to Airmen (NOTAM) in 2018 that remains in effect. For more information U.S. citizens should consult the Federal Aviation Administration’s Prohibitions, Restrictions and Notices. ”

Senegal (Security threat level – 3): On 5 March 2021, the U.S. Embassy in Dakar issued a Demonstration Alert regarding planned protests, which reads in part as follows:

“Local political opposition leaders have called for large demonstrations in Senegal today, Friday March 5th, at 3p.m. local time. Recently, several of these protests have escalated into more violent clashes with law enforcement and resulted in the looting of several businesses.

“U.S. citizens are encouraged to avoid any locations where demonstrations are ongoing. Blocking streets and intersections as well as burning tires is a common part of these demonstrations and often leads to significant traffic delays. Please note that a large police presence may be indicative of anticipated protest activity.

“U.S. government personnel are advised to stay at home from 2 p.m. Friday until 12 p.m. noon Saturday.”

The full text of the alert is available here.