Worldview Security Update – April 10, 2020
10-Apr-20

AMERICAS

Americas: As of 10 April 2020, governments across the Americas continue to impose restrictions, including extending states of emergency, in order to limit the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19). Most countries in the region remain under lockdown or quarantine. Currently, the countries with the most confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the region are Brazil (18,176), Chile (5,972), Peru (5,256) and Ecuador (4,965). Significant developments in Argentina, Chile, Nicaragua, Paraguay and Venezuela are outlined below.

Argentina will extend its nationwide quarantine on 12 April, when it is currently due to expire, until 23 April. The order requires residents to remain indoors except to purchase basic necessities, such as groceries and medicine, or to seek health care services. Security forces continue to enforce the quarantine.

In Chile, checkpoints will be erected throughout the Santiago metropolitan region and the city of Concepción from 1800 local time on 10 April until 2200 local time on 12 April (2200 UTC on 10 April until 0200 UTC on 13 April) in order to prevent people from entering or leaving these areas. Previously, the Ministry of Health on 8 April extended quarantine measures in Temuco and Padre las Casas in the Araucanía region — which were due to end on 10 April — until 2200 local time on 16 April. Additionally, on 9 April the U.S. Embassy in Santiago issued a Health Alert regarding flights to the U.S. and quarantine measures in Chile; the alert is available in the Government Warnings section below. Meanwhile, Santiago-headquartered LATAM Airlines announced that as of 13 April it will suspend all international passenger flights through the end of the month, given falling demand and health restrictions due to the coronavirus. The airline stated that it will continue domestic operations within Chile and Brazil as demand exists.

In Nicaragua, officials from the Pan American Health Organization warned on 9 April that the government’s inaction in regard to attempting to curb the spread of the coronavirus may lead to an increased number of cases in the region. Nicaraguan authorities have encouraged citizens to continue daily activities, including attending cultural festivals and sports events, and going on beach outings. In addition, doctors have received instructions to not wear masks or use sanitizing gel in order to avoid alarming patients, while students have been threatened with expulsion if they do not attend school. The government maintains that the seven confirmed COVID-19 cases were imported from other countries and that there is no community transmission underway in Nicaragua. Authorities in the neighboring countries of Honduras and Costa Rica have confirmed 382 and 539 COVID-19 cases, respectively.

In Paraguay, authorities on 8 April constructed an iron fence to block access to a pedestrian corridor on the International Friendship Bridge, which connects the border cities of Ciudad del Este, Paraguay and Foz do Iguaçu, Brazil. The pedestrian and vehicular traffic — except for cargo vehicles and medical emergencies — entering Ciudad del Este through the bridge have been banned since 18 March. Approximately 100,000 people cross the bridge daily as pedestrians or passengers in vehicles. The measure was employed after Paraguayan President Mario Abdo Benítez extended the country’s quarantine to 19 April.

On 8 April the U.N. delivered to Venezuela its first humanitarian shipment of medical supplies to fight the country’s COVID-19 outbreak. The shipment consisted of 90 metric tonnes (100 tons) of aid, including 28,000 personal protective equipment kits for medical workers, oxygen concentrators, water quality control equipment and hygiene kits. According to the U.N., the shipment is part of an initial phase of aid for Venezuela’s response to the COVID-19 outbreak.

ASIA

Asia / Australasia: As of 10 April 2020, governments throughout the Asia-Pacific region continue to impose and expand movement restrictions in order to limit the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19). Australian authorities will impose stricter movement controls during the Easter weekend. Malaysia’s prime minister announced an extension of the country’s current Movement Control Order (MCO) until 28 April, and authorities in the Indian state of Punjab ordered the current lockdown to be extended until 1 May. Additionally, developments in Fiji, Indonesia and Japan are outlined below.

On 10 April Australian officials warned the public that additional security measures will be employed during 11-12 April in order to enforce existing social distancing measures. In addition to the closure of places of worship and a ban on public gatherings, security forces will deploy helicopters to monitor ground movements and police checkpoints will be erected across various states. Furthermore, police officers will utilize license plate recognition technology to identify violators. Residents violating social distancing measures face fines starting at 1,000 Australian dollars (620 U.S. dollars).

In Malaysia, Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin on 10 April ordered the extension of the nationwide MCO until 28 April. The measure closes schools and nonessential businesses and encourages residents to remain at home except to purchase necessities such as food or medicine. The MCO was originally scheduled to expire on 14 April.

On 10 April the government of the Indian state of Punjab extended statewide lockdown measures until 1 May. Currently, the entire country is under a federally mandated lockdown, which is scheduled to expire on 14 April. Under the order, schools and nonessential businesses are closed, and residents may only travel to procure goods such as food or medicine, or to seek health care services.

In Fiji, authorities on 10 April increased security measures and imposed stringent penalties for residents violating the nightly curfew from 2200 to 0500 local time (1000 to 1700 UTC), which is in effect until further notice. Authorities warned the public that a 24-hour curfew will be implemented if residents fail to comply with the current order.

In Indonesia, additional security forces were deployed to the capital Jakarta on 10 April to enforce social distancing measures. Residents found violating lockdown measures face heavy fines, or up to one year in jail. Authorities advised residents to remain indoors unless to perform essential activities, and banned all gatherings of more than five people. Additionally, motorbike taxis are banned from servicing passengers.

In Japan, Kyoto prefecture Gov. Nishiwaki Takatoshi formally requested on 10 April that the prefecture be included in the central government-backed state of emergency announced on 7 April. While officials in the prefecture have already advised residents to avoid nonessential travel, the state of emergency would allow the local government to request resources in order to manage the COVID-19 outbreak.

EUROPE

Europe: As of 10 April 2020, confirmed cases of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) have continued to significantly increase across Europe. At present, there are five countries that have surpassed 50,000 confirmed cases: Spain (157,022), Italy (143,626), Germany (118,785), France (117,749) and the U.K. (65,872). Transportation services are expected to be significantly disrupted as countries across Europe have announced additional restrictions, road closures and police checkpoints through the Easter holiday weekend from 10-13 April.

On 9 April Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban announced an indefinite extension of the country’s existing movement restrictions. Officials stated that the restrictions will be reevaluated on a weekly basis. Under the current measures, all individuals in the country are required to shelter in place and restrict outside travel to essential activities, including purchasing food and medical supplies, or for exercise. Residents are required to observe social distancing protocols and other public health guidelines at all times.

Additionally, officials in North Macedonia and Serbia have announced expanded weekend curfews. In North Macedonia, the curfew will last from 1600 local time (1400 UTC) on 10 April through 0500 local time on 13 April. In Serbia, the curfew will be in effect from 1700 local time (1500 UTC) on 10 April to 0500 local time on 13 April.

Meanwhile, Italian officials have announced that nationwide lockdown measures will likely be extended through at least 3 May. The lockdown — in place since 9 March — prevents all but essential travel and is currently set to expire on 13 April. Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte is expected to issue a decree before 11 April.

MIDDLE EAST AND NORTH AFRICA

Middle East and North Africa: As of 10 April 2020, the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) is continuing to spread across the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, and governments in the region are continuing to enforce restrictions to slow the spread of the disease.

In Egypt, the government on 9 April extended the nighttime curfew until 23 April. The curfew will run from 2000 to 0600 local time (1800 to 0400 UTC). In conjunction with the initial orders, all cafes, restaurants and nonessential businesses, as well as schools and universities, will remain closed. Residents have been advised to remain indoors unless they need to attain food or medicine. In addition, public gatherings have been banned during the upcoming month of Ramadan, 23 April to 23 May. Thus far, nearly 1,700 confirmed COVID-19 cases have been reported in Egypt, with 118 fatalities. In Israel, authorities fined 30 worshippers at a synagogue in Beit Shemesh, located approximately 30 km (20 mi) west of Jerusalem, on 10 April. Authorities stated that the worshippers held a large service in violation of regulations established by the Ministry of Health. Thus far, authorities have reported 10,000 cases of COVID-19 in Israel, and 93 fatalities.

In Lebanon, officials on 9 April extended the country’s “general mobilization” measure until at least 26 April. The emergency measure allows the government to use the military, along with other security personnel, to enforce lockdown measures aimed at slowing the spread of COVID-19 in Lebanon. Lebanese authorities have reported 609 cases and 20 fatalities.

In Oman, authorities on 10 April announced the start of a lockdown of the Mutrah district, located just east of the capital Muscat. The lockdown began at 1000 local time (0600 UTC) on 10 April and will continue until further notice. Security forces will allow individuals to travel for essential supplies. Thus far, 484 cases of COVID-19 have been reported in the country, with three deaths.

SUB-SAHARAN AFRICA

Sub-Saharan Africa: As of 10 April 2020, governments continue to implement restrictions across the African continent as the number of confirmed cases of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) has surpassed 12,300 — with Comoros and Lesotho the only two countries on the continent without confirmed cases. In Sub-Saharan Africa, the countries with the largest numbers of confirmed cases include the following: South Africa (1,934), Cameroon (803), Côte d’Ivoire (444) and Burkina Faso (443). The most recent notable developments in Ghana, Sierra Leone, Somalia and South Africa are addressed below.

In Ghana, on the evening of 9 April President Nana Akufo-Addo announced a one-week extension to lockdown measures currently in place for the largest cities Accra and Kumasi. The directive — which authorities imposed on 30 March with an initial expiration of 13 April — will now remain in effect through 20 April. Under the order, residents are permitted to leave their homes for essential purposes only, such as to buy food and medicine or to seek medical care. Emergency personnel and government employees are exempt from the restrictions. The directive also bans all ground movements into and out of Accra and Kumasi.

In Sierra Leone, a nationwide nightly curfew will go into effect from 2100-0600 local time/UTC beginning on 11 April. The curfew will remain in place for at least two weeks, during which residents are advised to stay home to the extent possible. All nonessential travel between the districts will also be prohibited during the two-week period. The measure follows a 72-hour nationwide lockdown, which ended on 8 April.

In Somalia, as of 10 April police officers are reportedly enforcing a lockdown in the capital Mogadishu, including forcing the closure of restaurants and businesses and preventing pedestrians and vehicles from traveling on the streets. Earlier in the day, security forces dispersed crowds of people who had gathered for Friday prayers at mosques throughout the city. Officials have yet to formally declare a lockdown in Mogadishu, although on the previous day the city’s mayor called on residents to stay indoors and to pray at home.

In South Africa, President Cyril Ramaphosa announced on 9 April that the country’s lockdown has been extended for an additional two weeks until 1 May. Under the terms of the lockdown, all nonessential businesses are closed and individuals are only allowed to leave their homes for essential purposes, such as buying food or seeking medical care. The South African National Defense Force and the South African Police Service have been enforcing the lockdown. Ramaphosa stated that the lockdown has been effective in suppressing the spread of the virus, and defended the extension as necessary, given that South Africa remains the most affected country in the region.

GOVERNMENT WARNINGS

Chile (Security threat level – 2): On 9 April 2020, the U.S. Embassy in Santiago issued a Health Alert regarding flights to the U.S. and quarantine measures in Chile, which reads in part as follows:

"The government of Chile has implemented 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. U.S. citizens who are considering returning to the United States are urged to make travel arrangements while commercial flights are still available. The Department of State is not currently organizing an evacuation of American citizens from Chile. The Embassy strongly encourages those who wish to return to the U.S. to explore commercial flight options now, as there is no guarantee that the U.S. government will be able to arrange evacuation flights. Please note that evacuation flights are not free of charge. Learn more about evacuation flights here .
"… A quarantine is in effect for the following neighborhoods (comunas) in Santiago: Santiago Centro, Providencia, Ñuñoa, Las Condes, Vitacura, and Lo Barnechea.
"This quarantine will be lifted on Monday, April 13, at 5:00 am with the following exceptions:

  • Santiago Centro: the part of the comuna north of Avenida Matta and Avenida Blanco Encalada will remain under quarantine
  • Ñuñoa: the part of the comuna north of Avenida Grecia will remain under quarantine
  • Las Condes: the entire comuna will remain under quarantine

"Beginning Thursday, April 9 at 10:00 pm, a quarantine will be in effect for the western half of the comuna of Puente Alto (as divided by Avenidas Vicuña Mackenna and Concha y Toro)…"
The entire U.S. Embassy Health Alert is available here .