Press Release

Worldview Security Update – October 6, 2020
October 6, 2020

AMERICAS

Costa Rica (Security threat level – 3): Large-scale demonstrations, roadblocks and strikes are likely throughout Costa Rica, including in the capital San José, on 6 October 2020. Protest leaders from the opposition National Rescue Movement group remain unsatisfied with the president’s actions to date and stated that demonstrations will continue until the president signs a document meeting their demands. On 5 October the group characterized the president’s withdrawal from negotiations with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and his call for a national dialogue with union leaders as “ambiguous.” Widespread demonstrations have continued in the country since 30 September, disrupting traffic in major cities and on the following key highways: National Route 32, which connects San Jose to the provinces of Heredia and Limón; National Route 27, which connects the city and port of Caldera to San José; and the Pan-American Highway.

Mexico / Cuba / Cayman Islands (Security threat levels – 4 / 2 / 1): As of 0800 local time (1200 UTC) on 6 October 2020, Hurricane Delta was located approximately 595 km (370 mi) east-southeast of the city of Cozumel, Mexico, and about 185 km (115 mi) south-southwest of Grand Cayman, according to the U.S. National Hurricane Center. At that time, Delta had maximum sustained winds of 175 kph (110 mph), with higher gusts, and was moving west-northwest at 24 kph. The storm is forecast to strengthen rapidly as it passes southeast of the Cayman Islands before reaching the northeastern portion of Mexico’s Yucatán Peninsula early on 7 October.

A Hurricane Warning is currently in effect for Mexico that spans from the city of Tulum to the municipality of Dzilam de Bravo, including the island of Cozumel. A Tropical Storm Warning has been issued for the Cayman Islands, including Little Cayman and Cayman Brac, the Cuban province of Pinar del Rio as well as the Isle of Youth, and in Mexico from the city of Tulum to the city of Punta Herero and from the municipality of Dzilam de Bravo to the city of Progresso. A Tropical Storm Watch is in effect for the Cuban province of La Habana.

The storm is expected to produce 100-150 mm (4-6 in) of rain, with localized rainfall exceeding maximums across parts of the Cayman Islands and western Cuba through 7 October. A storm surge of 2-3 m (6-9 ft) is expected along the Yucatán Peninsula in areas included in the Hurricane Warning. During 7-10 October, Hurricane Delta is forecast to produce heavy rainfall across the central Gulf Coast and the southeastern United States.

ASIA

Kyrgyzstan (Security threat level – 4): Overnight on 5-6 October 2020, unrest continued in the capital Bishkek over allegations of vote buying and fraud during the 4 October parliamentary election. In the early hours of 6 October protesters stormed the White House government building — which hosts the presidential office — and set fire to the upper floors of the building. Protesters also occupied other government buildings, including the offices of the mayor of Bishkek and the prosecutor general. Opposition supporters also raided the headquarters of the State Committee on National Security and freed former President Almazbek Atambayev — who is was jailed on corruption charges — and a former parliamentarian. Earlier on 5 October, an estimated 5,000 protesters gathered in the city center area, demanding that the election results be annulled. Police officers fired tear gas and stun grenades to disperse protesters who had gathered near Ala-Too square. Demonstrators later returned to the square and proceeded to enter the White House. According to the Ministry of Health, nearly 600 people were injured and one person was killed during the post-election unrest.

The unrest prompted the Central Election Commission to annul the election results, which showed that only four out of the 16 political parties — three of which are allied with President Sooronbay Jeenbekov — gained the 7% threshold required to secure seats in the 120-member unicameral legislature. None of the prominent opposition parties met the threshold, triggering the unrest. Despite the annulled election results, the overall security and political conditions in Kyrgyzstan are likely to remain highly tense — a situation exacerbated by the fact that President Jeenbekov’s whereabouts are currently unknown and the leader of the Ata Meken opposition party has announced that a special session of the parliament will be held on 7 October, during which opposition parties reportedly plan to announce a new president and prime minister.

EUROPE

Iceland / Ireland (Security threat levels – 1 / 2): On 5 October 2020, authorities in Iceland imposed new nationwide restrictions due to a spike in cases of COVID-19. Bars, gyms, entertainment venues and arcades have been ordered to close until further notice. Most social gatherings are limited to 20 people, with up to 50 people allowed to attend funerals and competitive sporting events, and up to 100 spectators allowed at outdoor sporting events.

In Ireland, authorities announced on 6 October that Level 3 restrictions will be imposed nationwide during 7-27 October. The move rejects a recommendation on 5 October by Ireland’s National Public Health Emergency Team (NPHET) to impose a lockdown with Level 5 restrictions, the highest of the country’s five-level system. Level 3 restrictions ban social family gatherings, with exceptions for weddings and funerals. Additionally, the restrictions ban indoor gatherings altogether and limit outdoor gatherings to 15 people. Residents are required to remain in their home county unless traveling for work, education or other essential services, and public transport capacity is reduced to 50%.

Netherlands (Security threat level – 2): On 5 October 2020, police officers shot a man waving a knife in Departure Hall 2 of Amsterdam Schiphol Airport (EHAM/AMS). The man was hospitalized with a gunshot wound to the leg. Police officers have also arrested a second person in connection with the knife-wielding episode. Authorities do not believe the event was terrorism related.

GOVERNMENT WARNINGS

Pakistan (Security threat level – 5): On 6 October 2020, the U.S. Consulate General in Karachi issued a Security Alert, which reads in part as follows:

“Location: Karachi, Sindh

"Event: The U.S. Consulate General advises U.S. citizens that on Thursday, October 8, Shia Muslims will observe Chehlum which includes numerous processions. The largest procession is expected to involve 15,000 to 20,000 participants. We also expect about 100 smaller processions and 460 majalis (gatherings) throughout Karachi. In past years, these processions and gatherings have been targets of sectarian violence. It is likely that the government will impose additional temporary security measures on October 8, including the suspension of cell phone service in parts of the city. U.S. government personnel have been instructed to limit all travel to mission-critical activities during the times of the processions."

Papua New Guinea (Security threat level – 4): On 5 October 2020, the U.K. Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) issued updated travel advice for Papua New Guinea, which reads in part as follows: 

“Anyone arriving into Papua New Guinea must self-isolate in a government approved hotel for 14 days, unless you have spent the 7 days prior to travel in Australia (except the state of Victoria), New Zealand or one of a number of Pacific Island states. A full list is available on the official PNG government COVID-19 website .

“The period of self-isolation is reduced to 7 days for these travellers and can take place either at home or in a government approved hotel. Non-PNG citizens and non-Permanent Residents self-isolating at a government approved hotel must self-fund their stay. PNG Citizens and Permanent Residents must fund their stay at their own cost, or can,at the Controller’s sole discretion, have their stay funded at the Government’s cost.”