Worldview Security Update – April 13, 2020
13-Apr-20

AMERICAS

Americas: As of 13 April 2020, governments across the Americas continue to impose restrictions, including extending states of emergency, in order to limit the spread of 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 (22,318), Ecuador (7,466), Peru (7,519) and Chile (7,213). Significant developments in Argentina, Bolivia, Guatemala, Peru, Venezuela and Puerto Rico are outlined below.

In Argentina, President Alberto Fernández on 10 April extended the nationwide quarantine until 26 April. The order requires residents to remain home except to purchase food and medicine, or to seek medical attention. However, Fernandez also added that provincial governors may submit requests to the central government to lift local restrictions. Security services are enforcing the quarantine.

In Bolivia, Interim President Jeanine Áñez is scheduled to hold a Cabinet meeting on 14 April to discuss the efficacy of current travel restrictions, public health directives and other emergency measures that have been in place since 22 March. According to officials, it is likely that the lockdown will be extended through at least the end of April; however, if the central government lifts the nationwide quarantine, similar lockdowns may be implemented for individual Bolivian departments (provinces) on a case-by-case basis.

In Guatemala, authorities on 12 April extended the nationwide state of emergency until at least 19 April, and ordered additional social distancing measures. The new orders, which went into effect on 13 April, require residents in public spaces to wear face masks and remain at least 1.5 m (5 ft) apart. Residents who are under quarantine or those who have recently recuperated from COVID-19 must also wear masks inside their homes. Security personnel will fine violators up to 150,000 Guatemalan quetzals (19,600 U.S. dollars). These new restrictions are set to expire on 19 April. A countrywide nightly curfew remains in effect from 1600 to 0400 local time (2000 to 1000 UTC).

In Peru, President Martín Vizcarra on 11 April ended nationwide gender-based movement restrictions because the order did not contribute to social distancing efforts. Under the measure, men could only leave their residences on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, while women could only leave on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays.

On 11 April authorities in Venezuela extended the national quarantine until 11 May. The order prohibits movement unless residents are purchasing food, obtaining needed medical care or are engaging in food production, transport, security, health care or media services. The National Bolivarian Police force is enforcing the quarantine.

In Puerto Rico, Gov. Wanda Vazquez on 12 April extended the island-wide lockdown and nightly curfew until at least 3 May. Under the order, residents must remain in their homes and restrict outside travel to essential activities, such as to procure food and medicine or to seek emergency medical care. Additionally, a nightly curfew remains in effect from 1900 to 0500 local time (2300 to 0900 UTC). Police officers will enforce the measures, and violators face the possibility of arrest, with up to six months in jail or a fine of 5,000 U.S. dollars.

United States (Security threat level – 2): As of 13 April 2020, the U.S. has registered the highest number of COVID-19 cases and resulting fatalities in the world. Authorities continue to employ or extend existing public health measures as part of an overall effort to limit further spread of the disease. On 9 April the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) extended a No Sail Order for cruise ships carrying more than 250 passengers in waters with U.S. jurisdiction. The ban is scheduled to remain in effect for the next 100 days, unless the CDC rescinds it or the public health emergency related to COVID-19 is annulled before then. Additionally, on 10 April Delaware Gov. John Carney extended Delaware’s state of emergency for an additional 30 days. The state of emergency initially went into effect on 12 March and has since required residents to remain in their homes, except for essential purposes such as to obtain basic supplies or health care services, or to travel to workplaces deemed critical. Meanwhile, the mayor of Los Angeles, California, extended the city’s safer-at-home order, which has exceptions similar to those of Delaware, through 15 May. As of the latest reports, at least 562,300 individuals in the U.S. have contracted COVID-19 and there have been more than 22,000 fatalities.
United States (Security threat level – 2): On 12-13 April 2020, strong storms swept through at least 10 states across the southern and mid-Atlantic regions of the U.S., with the most heavily affected states including Arkansas, Georgia, Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina and Tennessee. The storms — which brought strong winds, heavy rain and several tornadoes — destroyed hundreds of homes and buildings and disrupted power for more than 750,000 households across the affected region. In Mississippi, where 11 people were killed, Gov. Tate Reeves declared a state of emergency on the evening of 12 April following widespread damage from several tornadoes that touched down in the state throughout the day. In South Carolina, at least two aircraft parked at Walterboro’s Lowcountry Regional Airport (KRBW/RBW) sustained significant damage. In total, at least 19 people were killed and dozens more were hospitalized with injuries due to the severe weather. The National Weather Service (NWS) advised that the potential for hail, heavy winds and additional tornadoes across the eastern and mid-Atlantic regions will continue throughout the day on 13 April.

ASIA

Asia / Australasia: As of 13 April 2020, countries throughout the Asia-Pacific region continue to implement and extend restrictions to prevent further spread of COVID-19. In Australia, the government of the state of Victoria extended lockdown measures until 11 May, Bangladesh extended an international flight ban and India’s government is expected to extend the nationwide lockdown. Additional developments in the Philippines, Singapore and Vietnam are also detailed below.

In Australia, the premier of Victoria State — of which Melbourne is the capital — extended the state of emergency on 11 April until 11 May. Under the state of emergency, nonessential mass gatherings of over 500 individuals are banned, cultural institutions are closed and festivals are canceled. Public transport, food markets and workplaces remain open; however, authorities can detain individuals, restrict movement or close premises deemed necessary to protect public health. Meanwhile, on 12 April the premier of Tasmania state announced his intention to close North West Regional Hospital and North West Private Hospital in Burnie, Tasmania for 14 days due to COVID-19 outbreaks among the staff at both facilities.

On 12 April the Civil Aviation Authority of Bangladesh extended the current suspension of all international commercial flights to and from Bahrain, Bhutan, Hong Kong, India, Kuwait, Malaysia, Maldives, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Sri Lanka, Singapore, Thailand, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates and the United Kingdom until at least 30 April. The extension also applies to all commercial domestic flights.

In India, Prime Minister Narendra Modi is expected to address the nation on 14 April and will likely extend the countrywide lockdown, which expires the same day. The extension is anticipated to run for an additional 14 days. On 10 April authorities in Odisha and Punjab states extended their respective statewide lockdowns until at least 1 May, and Mumbai officials will likely extend lockdown measures in concert with the nationwide extension. Meanwhile, the government of Tamil Nadu extended the state’s lockdown through 30 April. Under the orders, schools and nonessential businesses are closed and residents may only travel to procure goods, such as food or medicine or to seek medical care. In a related development, during the evening of 10 April approximately 300 migrant workers protested a lockdown in Surat — located in Gujarat state — that prevented them from returning home. The demonstrators — who were mostly migrant workers from Odisha, located approximately 1,335 km (830 mi) east of Surat — set fire to handcarts and tires. Police officers detained nearly 80 migrant workers. A similar protest occurred in Surat on 30 March, when police officers arrested over 90 migrant workers for defying a lockdown order.

On 12 April authorities in the Philippines announced that the military and police officers will be deployed nationwide to enforce social distancing rules. Additionally, markets will only have one entry and exit point to simplify monitoring the number of people inside the premises.

In Singapore, authorities on 11 April instituted a mandatory 300 Singapore dollar (212 U.S. dollar) fine for quarantine violators. The government also directed markets to refuse entry to individuals not wearing face masks, mandated that face masks be worn on all forms of public transportation and announced the closure of all beaches to the public. The measures are part of a series of nationwide restrictions and health guidelines in effect until at least 4 May.

In Vietnam, Bamboo Airways and VietJet Air plan to resume domestic flights after the government order for social distancing expires on 16 April. Bamboo Airlines plans to resume its services between Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City on 16 April, and other routes are expected to resume on 20 April.

EUROPE

Europe: As of 13 April 2020, confirmed cases of COVID-19 have continued to significantly increase across Europe. At present, there are five countries that have surpassed 50,000 confirmed cases: Spain (169,496), Italy (156,363), France (133,672) Germany (127,854) and the U.K. (85,212). Transportation services are significantly disrupted and restrictions continue to be extended across the continent as officials attempt to contain COVID-19.

On 13 April, Slovenian officials extended a ban on commercial flights from the EU. The extension will last until at least 27 April, when the restriction will be reviewed as required by EU regulations. The restriction does not apply to cargo or humanitarian aircraft. 

On 11 April Bulgarian officials issued an order requiring all individuals to wear face masks when in public. Public places include banks, grocery stores, religious facilities, all forms of public transportation as well as public parks and other similar venues. The nationwide order is effective through 26 April.

In Spain, officials extended the duration of border control measures with France and Portugal until 0000 local time on 25 April (2200 UTC on 24 April). During this time, entry into Spain overland from France and Portugal will be restricted to Spanish citizens, permanent residents, commercial cargo and essential personnel such as health care practitioners and diplomatic staff. Additional restrictions on entry via air or seaports remain in effect until at least 22 April.

In Armenia, authorities extended the nationwide state of emergency until at least 12 May. Under the emergency, residents have been ordered to remain at home and restrict outside travel to essential activities such as to procure food and medicine or to seek medical care. Individuals are required to carry a standardized document listing outside activity as well as their passport when traveling outside. Nonessential businesses and public transportation are expected to remain closed for the duration of the emergency.

Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar announced that Ireland’s nationwide lockdown has been extended until at least 5 May. Residents will only be permitted to leave their homes to perform essential activities such as to travel to work, procure food and medicine or seek medical care. All public and private gatherings remain prohibited and travel to offshore islands is banned for non-residents.

MIDDLE EAST AND NORTH AFRICA

Middle East and North Africa: As of 13 April 2020, governments in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) continue to enforce restrictions in an effort to control the spread of COVID-19. In the region, Iran has the most confirmed cases with 71,664, followed by Turkey with 52,167, then Israel with 10,525.

In Israel, on 11 April authorities quarantined 17 mostly ultra-Orthodox neighborhoods in Jerusalem, including the Old City. Individuals in these neighborhoods may not leave their homes unless carrying out essential work or seeking medical care. Non-residents are not allowed to enter these neighborhoods. Approximately one-fifth of the country’s total confirmed cases are in Jerusalem; a majority of these cases are located in ultra-Orthodox neighborhoods, where residents have largely ignored orders to maintain social distance. Additionally, on 11 April Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ordered a temporary suspension of all inbound international flights until authorities arrange the details on how to transfer arriving passengers to government-designated quarantine facilities for isolation purposes. The order is intended to ensure arriving travelers comply with a requirement to undergo 14-days of self-quarantine upon entry into the country. Reports suggest that confusion between commercial carriers and guidance from Israeli authorities resulted in some passengers failing to self-isolate on arrival. It is unknown when flights will resume.

In Egypt, on 11 April riot police officers deployed tear gas to disperse demonstrators gathered in the village of Shubra Al-Bahou in Daqahliya governorate, located northeast of the capital Cairo, to protest the funeral of a patient who died of COVID-19. A number of village residents gathered at the cemetery to protest against the internment due to concerns that the virus could spread throughout the community. Security forces arrested at least 12 protesters. At present, health officials have recorded more than 2,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Egypt.

In Iran, on 11 April authorities partially reopened government offices and authorized businesses to resume operations as part of a nationwide relaxation of restrictions and other measures enacted to combat COVID-19. Outside of Tehran, government agencies resumed limited operations and nonessential businesses may reopen to the public. State facilities and private businesses in Tehran will remain closed until at least 18 April as health officials assess whether to lift restrictions in effect.

In Jordan, on 10 April the Jordanian military arrested the owner of Roya TV and its general manager after the TV station aired a news segment in which laborers complained about their inability to work due to a lockdown in the country. Military authorities ordered the executives to remain in detention for 14 days. The news segment depicted a crowd in a poor area of Amman complaining about the lack of work and food.

In Saudi Arabia, on 11 April King Salman extended the 24-hour curfew and mandatory quarantine for Dammam, Dhahran, Hofuf, Riyadh and Tabuk until further notice. The curfew rules also apply to the provinces of Jeddah Taif, Qatif and al-Khobar. Entry or exit from these areas is prohibited. Residents may leave their homes to purchase food or seek medical needs between 0600 and 1500 local time (0300 to 1200 UTC) and may only travel within their own neighborhoods. All nonessential businesses are closed.

In Turkey, on 12 April the interior minister announced his resignation following widespread criticism over the two-day mandatory curfew in Ankara, Istanbul and 29 other municipalities. Officials announced the curfew with little advance notice on 10 April at 2200 local time (1900 UTC) and it lasted until 0000 local time on 13 April. The haphazard implementation of the curfew caused widespread traffic disruptions and roadway congestion occurred across the 31 municipalities. Additionally, local media reported long lines at banks, grocery stores, pharmacies and other businesses as residents rushed to procure supplies. Furthermore, the curfew announcement had an adverse effect on other disease control measures, such as social distancing, and the wearing of gloves and face masks, as thousands of people ignored the measures en masse. In his resignation, Soylu took responsibility for disruptions and reiterated a claim that officials had not anticipated problems given that most businesses would be closed.

SUB-SAHARAN AFRICA

Sub-Saharan Africa: As of 13 April 2020, governments continue to implement public health measures and restrictions across the African continent, where the number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 has surpassed 14,600. In Sub-Saharan Africa, the countries with the largest number of confirmed cases include the following: South Africa (2,173), Cameroon (820), Côte d’Ivoire (574), Ghana (566) and Niger (529). The most recent notable developments in Ethiopia, Gabon, Kenya, Republic of Congo and Tanzania are outlined below.

In Ethiopia, more than 1,200 health professionals began door-to-door health screening across the capital Addis Ababa on 13 April. Screening will take place in all 117 districts of the city — which has an estimated population of more than 3 million people — beginning with those deemed by health officials as most vulnerable to the spread of COVID-19. The campaign is part of an effort to trace potential cases of COVID-19 in order to prioritize testing for the virus. Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed declared a state of emergency in Ethiopia on 8 April and several regional state governments have declared lockdown measures, but officials have not formally declared a lockdown for Addis Ababa. 
In Gabon, on 10 April the government announced the implementation of new measures — including a 15-day confinement period for the greater Libreville area. Affected areas include Libreville city and the suburbs Owendo, Akanda, Ntoum and Pointe Dénis. The measures began at 0000 local time on 12 April (2300 UTC on 11 April) and are scheduled to end on 27 April. Under the new measures, residents are only permitted to leave their homes for essential purposes, such as obtaining food or seeking health care. Authorities previously banned all domestic and international flights, closed all land, sea and air borders except for freight shipments, prohibited all cultural gatherings, closed all schools, limited passenger capacity on public transportation and limited non-essential movements within and between cities. Currently, there are a total of 57 confirmed COVID-19 cases in Gabon.

In Kenya, the government announced new public health measures as of 10 April. Under the new measures, individuals who use public or private transportation are required to wear face masks. Additionally, all individuals are required to maintain physical distance of at least 1 m (3 ft) from others. Violators face fines of up to 20,000 Kenyan shillings (190 U.S. dollars), up to six months in prison or both. The government previously banned all international flights, restricted all road, rail and air movement within several counties, and instituted a nightly curfew from 1900-0500 local time (1600-0200 UTC). Thus far, Kenya has 208 confirmed COVID-19 cases.

In the Republic of Congo, Air France Flight AF373V — operating as an emergency evacuation flight for French nationals departing the country — was struck by gunfire at the gate upon arrival to Agostinho-Neto International Airport (FCPP/PNR) in Pointe-Noire on 11 April. Reports indicate that an on-duty police officer fired at least two rounds at the aircraft before other airport security personnel arrested him. No crew or passengers were aboard the Airbus A330-200 — registration F-GZCK — at the time of the incident, although the aircraft sustained light damage to the fuselage. The aircraft was scheduled to operate to Central African Republic’s Bangui M’Poko International Airport (FEFF/BGF) at 1000 local time (0900 UTC). The flight was postponed for 24 hours as a replacement aircraft was dispatched. Air France officials have filed a formal complaint with airport authorities and an investigation into the incident and the shooter’s motive are ongoing.
In Tanzania, the Civil Aviation Authority on 11 April announced a suspension of all scheduled and non-scheduled international passenger flights into and out of the country effective immediately and until further notice. The announcement was issued as a Notice to Airmen (NOTAM) and stated that while commercial cargo flights are exempt from the suspension, flight crews must be quarantined at government-designated facilities at their own expense for the duration of their stay in the country. Currently, there are at least 46 confirmed COVID-19 cases in Tanzania.

GOVERNMENT WARNINGS

Egypt (Security threat level – 4): On 13 April 2020, the U.K. Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) updated its travel advice for Egypt to include the following:  

"There are a limited number of seats available on an Air Cairo flight departing from Cairo to London Heathrow on Thursday 16 April. Bookings can be made on the Air Cairo website ."
Saudi Arabia (Security threat level – 3): On 12 April 2020, the U.S. Embassy in Riyadh issued a Health Alert with information on repatriation flights. The alert reads in part as follows:

"Location: Saudi Arabia

"Event: The U.S. Mission to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has arranged with Saudi authorities and Saudia Airlines to offer limited commercial flights from the Kingdom to the United States during the period that regular commercial service is suspended to help contain the COVID-19 virus.

"Saudia Airlines has announced additional flights to the United States departing the Kingdom this week:

  • On Tuesday, April 14, SV 23 is scheduled to depart Jeddah’s King Abdulaziz International Airport (JED) at 9:30 AM and arrive at New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport at 3:30 PM EST.
  • On Friday, April 17, SV 23 is scheduled to depart Riyadh’s King Khalid International Airport (RUH) at 9:00 AM and arrive at New York’s John F. Kennedy Airport at 3:30 PM EST. On Friday, April 17, SV 35 is scheduled to depart Jeddah’s King Abdulaziz International Airport at 10:30 AM and arrive at Washington-Dulles International Airport at 4:50 PM EST.

"Booking Instructions:

"Booking for these flights will be conducted exclusively throughSaudia’s call center, which can be reached at 014 847 9748 and 014 849 9531 within the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia or by WhatApp at 055 673 3500.?Tickets will be available to U.S. citizens, Lawful Permanent Residents of the United States (LPRs), and other foreign nationals. All travelers must be appropriately documented to enter to the United States."

To read the full text of the alert please click here .