Worldview Security Update – April 14, 2020
14-Apr-20

AMERICAS

Americas: As of 14 April 2020, a number of governments across the Americas continue to implement and enforce restrictions intended to prevent the spread of COVID-19, with many extending their current states of emergency. Most countries in the region remain under lockdown or quarantine measures, and affected countries continue to extend restrictions. Currently, the countries with the most confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the region are Brazil (23,723), Peru (9,784), Ecuador (7,529) and Chile (7,525). Significant developments in Chile, the Dominican Republic, Mexico, Peru and the Turks and Caicos Islands are outlined below.

In Chile, on 13 April the government lifted some quarantine measures on five municipalities in the Santiago metropolitan area, including Lo Barnechea, Providencia, Vitacura and the southern zones of Ñuñoa and Santiago. Four other local communities remain under quarantine measures — including a nightly curfew — until further notice, including Las Condes, Puente Alto, the area in Santiago north of Blanco Encalada Avenue, and the area in Ñuñoa north of Grecia Avenue. Government officials on 22 March imposed the nationwide nightly curfew from 2200 and 0500 local time (0200 and 0900 UTC).

In the Dominican Republic, authorities on 13 April postponed the general election to 5 July from 17 May, and extended the state of emergency until 30 April. The extension closes the country’s border, imposes a nightly curfew from 1700 to 0600 local time (2100 to 1000 UTC), restricts daily movements and suspends all public events until 30 April.

In Mexico, Sonora state authorities on 13 April implemented strict “stay at home” measures until 30 April. Residents may only leave their homes to purchase necessities such as food and medicine, to seek medical care, to visit a bank, or to provide care for elderly or dependent children. They must also wear a mask when in public. In addition, only one person is allowed to be in a vehicle at any time. Security personnel will fine violators of new measures, and will arrest confirmed COVID-19 patients found violating self-isolation measures.

On 13 April the government of Peru announced fines for people who violate the country’s mandatory quarantine measures. Police officers may fine individuals up to 4,300 Peruvian sols (1,270 U.S. dollars) depending on the degree of their offence. There is an ongoing nationwide nightly curfew from 1800-0500 local time (2300-1000 UTC). Furthermore, only one member of a household at a time is allowed to leave their residence outside of curfew hours in order to obtain food or medication, or to visit banks from Monday-Saturday. No residents are allowed to leave their homes on Sundays. Separately, police officers in Lima arrested a Chinese national on 12 April for illegally conducting rapid COVID-19 tests at people’s homes. The suspect confessed to carrying out rapid tests for COVID-19 with test kits that were stolen from the Directorate of Integrated Health Network of Lima Sur, where the individual worked. According to authorities, the man conducted the tests for monetary gain.

In the Turks and Caicos Islands, the government on 11 April extended the nationwide lockdown until 4 May. The order prohibits residents from leaving their homes except to obtain food or medical supplies. Essential businesses, including supermarkets, take-out food vendors, pharmacies and medical facilities, continue to operate. All airports and seaports remain closed to inbound regional and international travel. Outbound flight and vessel operations are exempt from the restriction, as are all cargo, courier and medical evacuation flights. Only nationals and residents of the Turks and Caicos Islands are allowed to enter the territory.

ASIA

Asia: As of 14 April 2020, governments throughout Asia continue to impose restrictions on movement in an effort to limit the spread of COVID-19. In South Asia, India, Nepal and Sri Lanka extended orders intended to enforce social distancing and limit nonessential travel.

On 14 April Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi extended the ongoing nationwide lockdown until 3 May. Under the order, Modi advised residents to continue practicing social distancing measures and avoid leaving their homes except to obtain essential supplies, such as food and medicine. In addition, all nonessential businesses will remain closed, and the ban on domestic and international flights is set to remain in effect. Modi warned that more stringent penalties will be enforced to ensure that residents comply with the measures, but did not provide specific details. Additionally, the prime minister indicated that if a district or area experiences a significant decrease in the number of daily cases, the measures may be lifted as early as 20 April.

In Nepal, the government on 14 April extended the ongoing nationwide lockdown until 27 April. Residents may only leave to procure essential goods, such as food or medication. Additionally, all flights are suspended until 30 April. While the land border with India remains closed until further notice, the main Tatopani border crossing with China’s Tibet Autonomous Region reopened on 8 April.

Sri Lankan officials extended the nationwide 24-hour curfew following the Sinhala and Tamil New Year on 14 April. The curfew in the districts of Colombo, Gampaha, Kalutara, Puttalam, Kandy and Jaffna will remain in place until further notice due to their status as High Risk Zones. In all other districts, the curfew — which will remain in place until further notice — is set to be lifted at 0600 local time (0030 UTC) on 16 April and re-imposed at 1600 local time the same day. Additionally, officials extended the “work from home” period through 20 April.

EUROPE

Europe: As of 14 April 2020, confirmed cases of COVID-19 have continued to increase across Europe. At present, there are five countries that have surpassed 50,000 confirmed cases: Spain (172,541), Italy (159,516), France (137,877) Germany (130,072) and the U.K. (89,571). Transportation services are significantly disrupted and restrictions continue to be extended across the continent as officials attempt to contain COVID-19.

On 13 April French President Emmanuel Macron announced an extension to the nationwide lockdown until at least 11 May. Beginning on 11 May, restrictions on schools will be gradually lifted while restaurants will remain closed. Borders with non-European countries are expected to remain closed until further notice.

Additionally, officials in Austria and Spain partially lifted existing restrictions. In Austria, non-essential shops that have sales areas of less than 400 sq. m (4,300 sq. ft) will be allowed to reopen on 14 April, as will hardware and gardening stores, while larger shops are expected to reopen on 1 May. In Spain, non-essential employees in industries related to construction and manufacturing also returned to work, but most businesses and public spaces are expected to remain closed until at least 26 April.

In Albania, officials announced that weekday curfew hours will be shortened while weekend curfew hours will be extended. Under the new curfew, residents are permitted to leave their homes from 0500-1730 local time (0300-1530 UTC) — as opposed to 0500-1300 local time — to obtain essential goods, food and medicine. Meanwhile, weekend curfews will be extended from 1730 local time on Fridays to 0500 local time on Mondays.

MIDDLE EAST AND NORTH AFRICA

Middle East and North Africa: As of 14 April 2020, governments in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region are continuing to enforce restrictions on movement in the area. Additionally, the governments of Kuwait and Bahrain are working to repatriate their citizens overseas.

In Bahrain, on 13 April officials stated that the national air carrier Gulf Air has started operating direct flights between Bahrain and Iran in an effort to repatriate Bahraini nationals currently stranded in Iran. Officials did not provide details on the flights, but Gulf Air has conducted similar flights to repatriate Bahraini nationals from Egypt, Oman, Turkey and the United Arab Emirates.

In Israel, officials deployed 9,000 additional police officers to enforce a curfew during the end of the Passover holiday, which began at 1700 local time (1400 UTC) and will last until 16 April. Security forces have set up at least 44 checkpoints between Israeli cities to prevent inter-city travel, and patrols will also be increased within cities to enforce social distancing.

In Kuwait, on 13 April officials announced that they will begin repatriating Kuwaiti citizens who are abroad beginning on 19 April. There are approximately 50,000 Kuwaiti nationals living overseas, and Kuwaiti authorities are planning for a phased return of Kuwaiti nationals currently abroad. During the first phase from 19- 21 April, officials will help repatriate Kuwaitis located in Egypt, Turkey, and the member states of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC). During the second phase from 23 April to 7 May, officials will repatriate Kuwaiti nationals located elsewhere in the world.

In Sudan, on 13 April officials announced a three-week lockdown for Khartoum state, which encompasses the capital city Khartoum and the city of Omdurman; the order will go into effect on 18 April. During the lockdown period, grocery stores, pharmacies and other essential businesses will be allowed to operate during specific hours; authorities stated that they will announce further details regarding the order in the coming days. A nationwide curfew has been in place across Sudan since 24 March and all long-distance public transportation within the country has been suspended since 26 March.

SUB-SAHARAN AFRICA

Sub-Saharan Africa: As of 14 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 15,400. In Sub-Saharan Africa, the countries with the largest numbers of confirmed cases include the following: South Africa (2,415), Cameroon (848), Côte d’Ivoire (626) and Ghana (566). The most recent notable developments in Cameroon, Nigeria, Somalia, South Africa and Uganda are outlined below.

In Cameroon, the government on 13 April announced a series of new public health measures, including mandating that all individuals wear face masks in public places. In addition to face masks, the government also implemented new rules concerning local production of medicines, protective masks and hand sanitizers, the establishment of specialized treatment centers for COVID-19 patients in all regional capitals, as well as increased screening and awareness-raising campaigns. The new measures are scheduled to go into effect no later than 20 April. Authorities has previously implemented measures that included air, land and sea border closures; suspensions of school and sports competitions; and restricted hours for restaurants and bars. The aforementioned restrictions remain in effect until further notice.

In Nigeria, on 13 April President Muhammadu Buhari announced a two-week extension to lockdown measures currently in place for the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) — where Abuja is located — as well as in Lagos and Ogun states. The measure was set to expire on 13 April, but will now remain in place through 27 April. Authorities have advised residents to shelter in place and restrict outside movements to essential activities only, such as to procure food and medicine or to seek medical care. All nonessential businesses and workplaces are closed for the duration of the lockdown. In addition, interstate travel between these areas, as well as intercity travel within the states, is prohibited, except for that undertaken by essential personnel, or in cases of medical emergency. Health officials have thus far confirmed more than 340 cases of COVID-19 in Nigeria, the majority of which have been reported in Abuja and Lagos.

In Somalia, on 13 April officials announced that they will begin to enforce a nightly curfew in the capital Mogadishu from 2000-0500 local time (1700-0200 UTC) beginning on 15 April and continuing until further notice. Hospitals and pharmacies are exempt from the curfew. All other businesses must close during curfew hours, at which time all non-emergency pedestrian traffic is also banned.

In South Africa, residents of Mitchells Plain — Cape Town’s largest suburb — clashed with police officers over food aid on 14 April, amid the nationwide lockdown prompted by COVID-19. Residents threw stones at police officers and burned tires in streets during the confrontation. There were no reports of injuries or arrests. 

In Uganda, President Yoweri Museveni extended the nationwide lockdown until 5 May. The initial 14-day lockdown, which includes a nightly curfew, was set to expire on 14 April. Under the terms of the lockdown, nonessential businesses are closed, the movement of private vehicles is restricted and public transportation is suspended. Currently, there are 54 confirmed COVID-19 cases in Uganda.

GOVERNMENT WARNINGS

Jordan (Security threat level – 3): On 14 April 2020, the U.K. Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) issued an update to its travel advice for Jordan, which reads in part as follows:
"We are working with other embassies and Qatar Airways to arrange a commercial flight departing Jordan on Monday 20 April.

"The flight will be to Doha with onward travel to the UK. If you are interested in purchasing a ticket for this flight, please send an email to cons.amman@fco.gov.uk by 23:59 hours on Wednesday 15 April and include the following information:

  • a copy of your passport biodata and visa stamp pages

a contact telephone number."