ASIA China (Security threat level – 3): On 23 November...
Honduras / Cayman Islands / Cuba (Security threat levels – 4 / 1 / 2): As of 0300 local time (0900 UTC) on 6 November 2020, Tropical Depression Eta was located approximately 90 km (55 mi) east-southeast of Belize City, Belize, and 180 km (110 mi) north-northwest of La Ceiba, Honduras, and was continuing to weaken, according to the U.S. National Hurricane Center. At that time, the storm was moving north-northeast at 13 kph (8 mph) and was generating maximum sustained winds of 56 kph (35 mph) with gusts of up to 74 kph (46 mph). Eta is expected to turn toward the northeast and move across the northwestern Caribbean Sea through 6 November, then approach the Cayman Islands on 7 November before making landfall along the southern coast of Cuba near Cienfuegos by early 8 November. Eta is forecast to shift north as it passes over central Cuba and enters the Strait of Florida and approaches Key West by early on 9 November.
Eta is forecast to produce the following rainfall accumulations through the morning on 11 November: 255-510 mm (10-20 in) with isolated maximum totals of 760 mm for the Cayman Islands and portions of central Cuba; 125-255 mm with isolated totals of 380 mm for the Bahamas and southern Florida, while portions of eastern Honduras and northern Nicaragua may receive additional rainfall with isolated areas totaling 1,000 mm; and an additional 50-125 mm with isolated rainfall totals of up to 380 for portions of southeastern Mexico and Jamaica. Heavy rainfall is expected to continue causing catastrophic flash flooding and landslides across areas of Central America, including Belize, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua. Severe flash flooding is possible in the Bahamas, Cayman Islands, Cuba, Jamaica, southern Florida and southeastern Mexico. Swells created by Eta are forecast to spread northeastward and begin affecting coastal areas of the Cayman Islands, Jamaica and southern Cuba over the next 48 hours.
Eta caused severe flooding and multiple landslides across a large portion of Central America. As of the morning of 6 November, at least 57 people have been killed in Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua and Panama, while dozens more have been declared missing. Officials from the Red Cross report that the storm has affected at least 400,000 people across the four countries.
Reports indicate that at least three of Honduras’ four closed international airports – Golosón International Airport (MHLC/LCE) in La Ceiba, Juan Manuel Gálvez International Airport (MHRO/RTB) on the island of Roatán and Toncontín International Airport (MHTG/TGU) in the capital Tegucigalpa – will reopen on 6 November, but officials have not provided an expected timetable. Authorities suspended operations at the airports on 5 November due to adverse weather conditions generated by Eta. The reopening status of Ramón Villeda Morales International Airport (MHLM/SAP) remains unknown.
United States (Security threat level – 2): On the night of 5 November 2020, small-scale demonstrations occurred in multiple U.S. cities as tallies continue of ballots cast in the 3 November presidential election. In New York City, hundreds of demonstrators participated in a march organized by the Black Lives Matter protest movement in lower Manhattan, during which some of the participants clashed with police officers. Although there were no reports of significant injuries, authorities arrested at least 18 protesters. Meanwhile, in Pennsylvania, police officers arrested two heavily armed individuals near the Pennsylvania Convention Center in downtown Philadelphia, where ballots are currently being counted. Authorities discovered a number of firearms in their vehicle. Police officials stated that they were notified of an alleged plot to launch an attack on the convention center.
President Donald Trump on 5 November reiterated his claims of voter fraud and a rigged election without offering any evidence, while his opponent, former Vice President Joe Biden, has taken the lead in the vote count in key states, including Georgia, Nevada and Pennsylvania. The winner of the election is expected to be declared later on 6 November, and there is a high likelihood of protests and demonstrations in major U.S. cities, such as New York and Washington, D.C., in either opposition or support of the results during the upcoming weekend of 7-8 November and beyond. Violence is an ever-present concern during such gatherings; thus, individuals currently in the U.S. should avoid all large crowds as a general precaution.
United States (Security threat level – 2): As of 6 November 2020, new restrictions are in effect in the northeastern state of Massachusetts in an effort to curb the spread of COVID-19. These restrictions include a nightly stay-at-home advisory from 2200-0500 local time (0300-1000 UTC), with exceptions for traveling to or from work or to perform essential activities such as grocery shopping, or to seek urgent medical care. Additionally, individuals over 5 years of age are now required to wear face masks in public even when they maintain a physical distance of 6 ft (2 m). Indoor gatherings are limited to 10 people, whereas those occurring outdoors are limited to 25 people. Nonessential retail businesses are required to suspend operations by 2130 local time nightly, although eateries may continue offering takeout services beyond that time.
In the Navajo Nation – comprising portions of northeastern Arizona, southeastern Utah, and northwestern New Mexico — curfews are set to be in effect for the next two consecutive weekends, following a recent spike in COVID-19 cases. The 56-hour curfew will begin at 2100 local time on 6 November and continue until 9 November. Additionally, the curfew is also announced for the same time during the weekend of 13-16 November. A nightly curfew from 2100-0500 local time remains in effect. Officials of the nation have warned of an uncontrollable spread of COVID-19 in the territory.
Analyst Comment: COVID-19 cases in the U.S. continue to increase notably, with health officials recording nearly 121,900 cases on 5 November. Therefore, stricter restrictions are likely to be enacted in other locations in the country in order to slow the spread of the virus.
China (Security threat level – 3): As of 5 November 2020, travelers from Belgium, India, the Philippines and the U.K. are banned from entering China until further notice due to high numbers of COVID-19 cases in those countries. The ban does not apply to Chinese citizens, travelers with diplomatic visas or flight crews. Previously issued visas for travelers from the aforementioned countries are invalidated.
Taiwan / China (Security threat levels – 1 / 3): As of 0900 UTC on 6 November 2020, Tropical Storm Atsani was located approximately 130 km (80 mi) south-southeast of Kaohsiung, Taiwan, and was moving west-northwest at 19 kph (12 mph), according to the U.S. Joint Typhoon Warning Center. At that time, Atsani was generating maximum sustained winds of 83 kph, with gusts of up to 102 kph. On its current path, the storm is forecast to gradually weaken as it continues northwest through the morning on 7 November before shifting southwest later in the afternoon and sustaining a southwesterly track toward central Vietnam on 9 November. Atsani is currently predicted to make landfall over or near central Vietnam by the afternoon of 9 November as a tropical depression. The storm is expected to produce heavy rainfall and tropical storm-force winds in southern Taiwan and coastal areas of southeast China, including Hong Kong, through 7 November; in Taiwan, authorities predict rainfall amounts of 75-150 mm (3-6 in) in affected areas.
Norway / Denmark / United Kingdom / Germany / Sweden (Security threat levels – 2 / 2 / 3 / 3 / 2): On 6 November 2020, Norwegian officials announced new coronavirus-related restrictions for the capital Oslo and the southwestern city of Bergen due to a significant spike in COVID-19 cases. In Oslo, the mayor stated that gyms, cinemas, theaters, playgrounds and bars will be required to close for a three-week period as of 10 November. Additionally, events such as weddings and religious ceremonies are banned, and individuals must wear face masks on public transportation. In the city of Bergen, the new measures – which will last until 23 November — include nightly closures of restaurants at 2200 local time (2100 UTC) and a suspension of operations at museums and other entertainment venues. Additionally, individuals must wear face masks on public transportation, including taxis, and the city has imposed a 20-person limit on social gatherings. According to the mayor, the new restrictions will apply to Bergen and the neighboring municipalities, including Alver, Askøy, Bergen, Bjørnafjorden, Osterøy, Samnanger, Vaksdal and Øygarden.
In Denmark, on 5 November authorities announced a lockdown of seven municipalities in the North Jutland region after health authorities discovered a mutated strain of COVID-19 in mink populations across the region. The lockdown will remain in place at least until 3 December. Travel to and from the affected communities is prohibited and residents may not travel outside their municipalities. All nonessential businesses, academic institutions, cultural centers and recreational establishments must close, and public transportation is suspended. Furthermore, public gatherings are restricted to a maximum of 10 people, and face masks must be worn at all times in public. At least 12 people have been infected with the mutated strain of the virus, and approximately half of the Jutland region’s 783 reported COVID-19 infections are linked to the strain. Authorities have ordered the culling of the entire mink population in an effort to prevent the spread of the viral strain.
On 5 November the U.K. Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) issued updated travel advice for Germany and Sweden, advising against all nonessential travel to the countries due to the COVID-19 infection risk. Travelers returning to the U.K. from either country on or after 4 November must self-isolate for 14 days upon arrival and may be subject to additional restrictions depending on the current measures in place in the area of the U.K. to which they return.
Slovenia (Security threat level – 2): On the evening of 5 November 2020, clashes occurred in downtown Ljubljana, the capital, between police officers and protesters who had gathered to demonstrate against ongoing restrictions imposed to contain the spread of COVID-19. Clashes initially broke out at Republic Square, located in front of the parliament building, and spread to other areas of the city center. Police officers deployed tear gas canisters and used a water cannon on protesters, who burned debris and threw stones, glass bottles and other projectiles at police officers. Authorities then sent police reinforcements and forcibly cleared the downtown area. At least three people were injured during the violence, which lasted for approximately two hours. While the Anonymous Slovenija group had called for the demonstration to be held earlier in the afternoon hours, it stated that members of the group were not associated with the violence.
Ethiopia (Security threat level – 4): On 5 November 2020, local media in Tigray reported that the Ethiopian central government had ordered airstrikes on the regional capital Mekelle; details regarding any possible casualties are currently unavailable. The deputy chief of Ethiopia’s military announced a major mobilization on state television on 5 November, following days of intense fighting between the Ethiopian military and the Tigray Popular Liberation Front (TPLF). Reports indicate federal troops have been activated across the country in preparation for deployment to Tigray. Military officials stated that they will not allow the conflict to spread beyond Tigray. The fighting began after suspected members of the TPLF allegedly attacked a military base on 4 November, which TPLF officials deny occurred. In response to the escalation, the president of Tigray, Debretsion Gebremichael – who is also the chairman of the TPLF – accused Ethiopian Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed of launching an unprovoked invasion of the region. Also on 5 November, federal lawmakers approved a six-month state of emergency within the region. However, officials have not elaborated on specific measures, which could include a curfew or extended restrictions on communications and transportation.
Within Tigray, reports indicate that fighting between the military and members of the TPLF is concentrated in the western areas near the border with the Amhara region. Details regarding casualties are unavailable at this time, and communications out of the Tigray region are currently disrupted, as the federal government has shut down electricity, telephone and internet services within the region.
Analyst Comment: Tensions between the Tigray regional government and the Ethiopian central government have been high in recent months and each side has accused the other of planning attacks. Fighting within the region is likely to intensify through at least the short-term.
China (Security threat level – 3): On 5 November 2020, the U.S. Embassy in Beijing issued a Health Alert regarding increased health screening procedures for travelers to China, which reads in part as follows:
“Event: Beginning November 06, 2020, Chinese authorities have increased the screening requirements for passengers seeking to enter China from the United States. For the latest requirements on entering China, please refer to the Chinese Embassy’s page at this link.
“The government of PRC continues to implement enhanced screening and quarantine measures to reduce the spread of COVID-19. Travelers should be prepared for travel restrictions to be put into effect with little or no advance notice. Also, please be aware you may be subject to quarantine in China for an undetermined period of time.”
Democratic Republic Of The Congo (Security threat level – 4): On 6 November 2020, the U.S. Embassy in Kinshasa issued a Demonstration Alert that reads in part as follows:
“Location: N’djili airport, Kinshasa, Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC)
“Event: A large gathering is taking place near N’djili airport. U.S. government personnel are advised to avoid the area if possible or remain alert if in the area. Heavy traffic conditions and a heightened police presence can be expected.”
Jordan (Security threat level – 3): On 5 November 2020, the U.S. Embassy in Amman Jordan issued a Health Alert, which reads in part as follows: “On November 2, the Government of Jordan announced a four-day comprehensive curfew beginning after the announcement of the results of the upcoming national parliamentary elections on November 10. November 10 has been declared an official holiday. The official announcement of the election results are expected around noon on November 11. The exact start time of the comprehensive curfew has not yet been announced. The curfew will conclude at 6 a.m. on Sunday, November 15. As with previous comprehensive curfews, no one should move outside the home during this period. There are exceptions for certain medical emergencies and for people traveling to and from the airport so long as valid tickets are available should the vehicle be stopped.”
The full text of the alert is available here.