ASIA China (Security threat level – 3): On 23 November...
Canada (Security threat level – 2): On 7 November 2020, authorities tightened COVID-19 restrictions in the Vancouver Coastal Health and Fraser Health regions — which includes the majority of the city of Vancouver. The order went into effect at 2200 local time on 7 November (0600 UTC on 8 November) and remains in place until 1200 local time on 23 November. Within the affected area social gatherings outside the immediate household are forbidden. This includes funerals and wedding receptions. Group physical activities and indoor sporting events in which physical distancing cannot be maintained are suspended. Work sites are required to conduct daily in-person screenings of all onsite workers using a COVID-19 symptom checklist. Violators of the order may be fined. A complete list of affected communities is available here.
United States (Security threat level – 2): On 8 November 2020, the governor of Utah instituted a new state of emergency, which includes a statewide face mask requirement and limits social gatherings to households and immediate family only. Residents are required to wear a face mask while within 6 ft (2 m) of anyone from outside their own household. Further, residents may not eat or drink at a bar or restaurant within 6 ft of anyone from a separate household. Social gatherings are prohibited unless they take place at a business — including bars and restaurants — and participants must observe face mask requirements and social distancing measures. Businesses are required to enforce social distancing and face mask requirements on their premises.
Face masks are not mandatory while eating or drinking, while one is the sole occupant of a room, when communicating with a deaf or hard of hearing individual, while obtaining or providing a service that requires the removal of a mask, while exercising outdoors, swimming or on duty as a lifeguard, performing as an athlete, giving a performance for an audience, or when necessary for confirming one’s identity. Children under 3 years of age, the incapacitated, and those with medical conditions preventing them from wearing masks are also exempt from the rule.
The full text of the order can be found here.
United States / Mexico / Jamaica / Cuba / Bahamas (Security threat levels – 2 / 4 / 3 / 2 / 2): As of 0700 local time (1200 UTC) on 9 November 2020, Tropical Storm Eta was located approximately 55 mi (90 km) west-northwest of Dry Tortugas, located in the southeastern U.S. state of Florida, and 80 miles west-northwest of Key West, according to the U.S. National Hurricane Center. At that time, the storm was moving west at 13 mph (20 kph) and was generating maximum sustained winds of 65 mph, with higher gusts. Eta is forecast to gradually move away from southern Florida later on 9 November and remain over the southeastern Gulf of Mexico through 11 November.
The storm is expected to continue to produce heavy rainfall. Central and southern Florida and the Florida Keys are forecast to receive an additional 2-4 in (50-100 mm) of rain, with isolated maximum totals of 18 inches. In Jamaica and the Bahamas, an additional 2-4 inches are forecast, with isolated maximums of up to 15 inches. Portions of Cuba are likely to receive an additional 3-5 inches, with isolated maximums of up to 25 inches.
On 8 November Eta made landfall as a tropical storm on lower Matecumbe Key in Florida. Heavy rains in the region have resulted in flash floods in downtown Miami. Officials closed beaches, ports and COVID-19 testing sites ahead of the storm. Authorities have also opened shelters in Miami and the Florida Keys for those who live in mobile homes or low-lying areas. In Mexico, storm-related flooding killed 27 people in the states of Chiapas and Tabasco on 7 November. Authorities have rescued at least 16,000 individuals via boats and helicopters.
During 5-6 November, after making landfall as a Category 4 hurricane in Nicaragua, Eta moved into Honduras and Guatemala as a tropical depression. In the Alta Verapaz region in central Guatemala, the storm caused extensive flooding and damaged roads. Approximately 150 people are presumed dead or missing — most of them in the village of Queja. In Honduras, at least 10 people were killed. In Panama’s Chiriqui province, homes, roads, bridges and crops were destroyed. In Costa Rica, two people were killed when a landslide buried their home, and in El Salvador, a fisherman was killed even as authorities evacuated nearly 1,700 individuals from areas at risk from flooding.
Philippines (Security threat level – 4): As of 0900 UTC on 9 November 2020, Tropical Depression Vamco — known as Ulysses in the Philippines — was located approximately 1,110 km (690 mi) east-southeast of Manila, and was moving northwest at 20 kph (13 mph), according to the U.S. Joint Typhoon Warning Center. At that time, Vamco was generating maximum sustained winds of 45 kph, with gusts of up to 65 kph. On its current forecast path, the storm will continue to the northwest through 10 November before shifting west toward Luzon Island, where it will likely make landfall between 11 and 12 November. Authorities have warned that Vamco is likely to strengthen into a typhoon before landfall and could produce moderate to heavy rainfall in Ilocos Norte, Apayao and Cagayan provinces.
Vietnam (Security threat level – 3): As of 0900 UTC on 9 November 2020, Tropical Storm Etau was located approximately 505 km (314 mi) southeast of Da Nang, and was moving west-southwest at 15 kph (9 mph), according to the U.S. Joint Typhoon Warning Center. At that time, Etau was generating maximum sustained winds of 74 kph, with gusts of up to 93 kph. On its current forecast, path the storm is expected to make landfall between Phy Yen and Ninh Thuan provinces by 10 November before weakening as it moves toward Cambodia. Authorities predict that Etau will produce rainfall amounts of up to 400 mm (16 in) in affected areas.
Australia (Security threat level – 2): As of 2359 local time (1259 UTC) on 8 November 2020, authorities have lifted the 25 km (16 mi) limit on travel from residences in Melbourne, and travelers will no longer need a permit to exit the city. Hotels are also allowed to reopen. In Melbourne, cafes, pubs and restaurants are subject to a maximum occupancy of 40 people indoors and 70 outdoors. Galleries, gyms, indoor sports facilities, movie theaters, museums and music halls may reopen with up to 20 occupants.
Germany / Greece / Portugal (Security threat levels – 3 / 3 / 2): On 7 November 2020, more than 20,000 demonstrators marched in the eastern German city of Leipzig against restrictions imposed to contain the spread of COVID-19. Demonstrators marched to the Leipziger Ring near the city center and proceeded to Augustusplatz square. The protest remained largely peaceful during the daytime; however, in the evening demonstrators set off fireworks, built flaming barricades to block roads, damaged windows of nearby businesses and clashed with police officers who had established a security perimeter near the city’s main train station. Protesters threw fireworks and projectiles at police officers, who began clearing the demonstrators from the area at 2000 local time (1900 UTC). Some of the demonstrators also clashed with counterdemonstrators, who had gathered for a separate march in the city. However, there were no reports of significant injuries. The Querdenken (Lateral Thinking) movement had organized the march, claiming that the restrictions violated citizens’ rights.
As of 9 November, all travelers to Greece are required to display proof of negative results from a COVID-19 PCR test taken no more than 48 hours before their entry if arriving aboard aircraft, or no more than 72 hours if arriving at the land border crossings. Additionally, those departing Greece via aircraft are now required to complete the Passenger Locator Form ; this requirement was already in place for inbound travelers, who must complete the form 48 hours prior to their arrival. Additional details outlined by the Greek government are available here.
As of 9 November, a nightly curfew from 2300-0500 local time/UTC on weekdays and from 1300-0500 local time on weekends is in effect in 121 municipalities in Portugal — including the cities of Lisbon and Porto. The curfew is currently set to remain in effect until the state of health emergency, which authorizes the government to enact such restrictions, expires on 23 November. Affected municipalities must also conduct body temperature checks of workers entering their places of employment. Individuals with elevated body temperatures at such locations may be subject to mandatory COVID-19 testing. Restaurants will be allowed to continue to deliver food and conduct takeaway services during curfew hours. Individuals working during nighttime hours are also exempt from the curfew.
Iraq (Security threat level – 5): On 8 November 2020, members of the Islamic State militant group assaulted an army post in Baghdad’s southwestern district of al-Radhwaniya, which is located approximately 15 km (9 mi) south of Baghdad International Airport (ORBI/BGW). Members of the Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF) were guarding the post, which is a monitoring tower. At least five members of the PMF and six civilians were killed in the assault. Eight others, including Iraqi soldiers, were wounded in the attack.
Analyst Comment: While IS routinely conducts attacks in former IS-held territories, such as Mosul and Kirkuk, similar attacks occur less frequently in Baghdad. The aforementioned attack underscores the continued threat posed by IS militants in Baghdad.
Côte d’Ivoire (Security threat level – 4): On 9 November 2020, the U.S. Embassy in Abidjan issued a Security Alert, which reads in part as follows: “Clashes are occurring between security forces and protestors in the Anono neighborhood of Abidjan on Rue des Ambassades from Anono Market intersection to Riviera-2. Tear gas is being used. Civil unrest has also occurred in the Yopougon neighborhood of Abidjan.
“Recent calls by political opposition figures and students for protests may result in sporadic incidents of civil unrest throughout Abidjan and the country, including Yamoussoukro, Toumoudi, Abengourou, Sikensi, and Daoukro.”
Guatemala (Security threat level – 4): On 8 November 2020, the U.S. Embassy in Guatemala City warned of the continued risk of flooding in Guatemala following the passage of Tropical Depression Eta, which reads in part as follows:
“Event: CONTINUED RISK IN AFTERMATH OF TROPICAL DEPRESSION ETA: USAID’s Bureau for Humanitarian Assistance (BHA) reports that flash flood threats will continue over southwestern Guatemala during the next 36 hours. River flooding will continue in these areas over the next few days.
“Guatemala’s INSIVUMEH forecasts rain throughout the south (Pacific Coast) and central parts of Guatemala with mudslides and flooding across multiple departments and lahars on Fuego and Santiaguito volcanoes.
“A State of Calamity is currently in effect in the departments of Huehuetenango, Petén, Quiché, Alta Verapaz, Izabal, Chiquimula, Zacapa, Jutiapa, El Progreso, and Santa Rosa. Evacuations are underway for communities in Huehuetenango, Petén, Quiché, Alta Verapaz, Izabal, Zacapa, and El Progreso.”
The full text of the alert, which includes information on current road closures, is available here.