Worldview Security Update – April 15, 2020
15-Apr-20

AMERICAS

Americas: As of 15 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 (25,684), Peru (10,303), Chile (7,917) and Ecuador (7,603). Significant developments in Bolivia, Chile, El Salvador, Mexico, Uruguay and Venezuela are outlined below.

In Bolivia, officials on 14 April extended the nationwide lockdown through 30 April. The officials noted, however, that some restrictions may be relaxed on 21 April if the situation improves, without providing specifics. Under the lockdown orders, only one person per household may travel to procure essential goods between 0700 and 1200 local time (1100 and 1600 UTC). The individual leaving the household must be between 18 and 65 years of age, and is only permitted to leave one day per week based on the final number of their ID card or passport. No movements are allowed on Saturday or Sunday. Additionally, all private and public vehicles are prohibited from operating, except to transport security or health care personnel. All air, land and sea borders remain closed until further notice.

In Chile, the minister of health on 14 April announced adjustments to city-level quarantines measures across the country. According to the announcement quarantine measures for the municipalities of Hualpén, Las Condes, Nueva Imperial, Padre Las Casas and San Pedro de la Paz are set to expire on 16 April. Meanwhile, the minister stated that due to an increase in cases during the last 15 days, two municipalities within the Santiago metropolitan region — El Bosque and the northeastern area of San Bernardo — as well as the urban area of Arica will enter quarantine at 2200 local time on 16 April (0200 UTC on 17 April) and remain so until further notice. Additionally, the areas of Punta Arenas, Osorno, Temuco, Chillán and Chillán Viejo, Puente Alto (west), Ñuñoa (north), and Santiago (north) remain under quarantine. Residents under city-level quarantine are required to remain indoors and obtain a government permit — a maximum of two per week are allotted per household — to travel in order to procure essential items such as food and medicine, or to seek medical care.

In El Salvador, authorities on 13 April ordered all residents to allow health care workers to enter their homes to evaluate sanitary condition levels. The measure will be in effect until at least 28 April.

In Mexico, as of 15 April the governors of Coahuila, Nayarit, Nuevo León, Nayarit and Tamaulipas have all banned the entry of non-residents to their states. Exemptions apply to essential and emergency workers. Security personnel are deployed to enforce these restrictions, and will issues fines to violators.

On the afternoon of 15 April Uruguayan authorities plan to evacuate approximately 25 remaining passengers aboard the Greg Mortimer cruise ship so that they can board a chartered aircraft to the U.S. The Aurora Expeditions cruise line company and the U.S. Embassy in Montevideo are coordinating the chartered flight, which will land in Miami, Florida. All non-U.S. passengers aboard the aircraft will stopover in Miami, and then take repatriation flights to their countries of origin. The cruise line reported an outbreak of COVID-19 aboard the Greg Mortimer on 6 April. The ship is anchored approximately 25 km (15 mi) off the coast of Montevideo and has been at sea since leaving the Argentine port of Ushuaia on 15 March.

In Venezuela, as of 15 April stores that sell food or medicine in the state of Carabobo — where Valencia is located — are required to close by 1400 local time (1800 UTC). The state’s governor claims that the order is in response to an increase in violations of the nationwide quarantine in recent days; for example, on 14 April hundreds of people on motorbikes crowded a gas station on the Centro Regional Highway in Valencia. To date, there have been no confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Carabobo.

United States / Canada (Security threat levels – 2 / 2): As of 15 April 2020, the U.S. continues to have the highest number of COVID-19 cases and resulting fatalities in the world, even as restrictive measures remain in place across the country in an attempt to contain further spread of the virus. At least 43 states in the country have enacted stay-at-home orders and/or associated public health measures until at least the end of April or early May. In the state of Tennessee, the stay-at-home order — which provides exceptions for essential needs such as obtaining food, medicine and basic supplies or travel to work deemed critical — has been extended until 30 April; in Minnesota, the stay-at-home order has been extended until 4 May. Meanwhile, in Travis County, Texas — where the state capital Austin is located — the stay-at-home order has been extended through 8 May. The latest reports indicate that the U.S. has registered at least 615,300 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and approximately 26,100 individuals have succumbed to the disease, with more than 2,200 of those fatalities occurring on 14 April.

In Canada, as of 15 April officials are requiring returning residents to produce credible plans to self-isolate for 14 days upon arrival at one of the four designated international airports: Montréal-Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport (CYUL/YUL), Toronto Pearson International Airport (CYYZ/YYZ), Calgary International Airport (CYYC/YYC) and Vancouver International Airport (CYVR/YVR). In addition, travelers must wear face masks before proceeding to their final destinations. Those who are unable to present a credible plan for self-isolation to authorities will be transported to a quarantine location, such as a hotel, for a period of 14 days. Separately, in Ontario province — of which Toronto is the capital — officials extended the current state of emergency by an additional 28 days, as 483 new cases of COVID-19 were reported in the province on 14 April. Restrictive measures, including the closure of nonessential businesses, restaurants and mass gathering sites, are set to continue until the state of emergency expires. The state of emergency and related measures intended for social distancing were initially enacted on 17 March in an effort to slow the spread of COVID-19. Health officials have recorded more than 7,950 COVID-19 cases and at least 411 fatalities in the province, which is the worst-affected after the neighboring province of Quebec that has 14,248 COVID-19 cases and 435 fatalities.

ASIA

Asia: As of 15 April 2020, countries throughout the Asia-Pacific region continue to maintain restrictions on entry and movement due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. In Mumbai, India, migrant workers clashed with police officers during a protest against a nationwide lockdown order. Indonesian officials in the cities of Bekasi, Bogor and Depok imposed social distancing measures. Additionally, Thailand extended a ban on all arriving international passenger flights and will reopen land border crossings in 21 provinces to allow Thai nationals to return home.

In India, thousands of migrant workers staged a protest at the Bandra railway station in Mumbai on 14 April, following the extension of the nationwide lockdown through 3 May. The workers protested against the financial repercussions of the lockdown and demanded reparations for loss of income due to the closure of thousands of businesses. In addition, the workers protested against nationwide travel restrictions and demanded to be allowed to return to their homes elsewhere in the country. Police officers deployed to the scene and used baton charges to disperse the crowds; there were no reports of injuries.

In Indonesia, the cities of Bekasi, Bogor and Depok — which are adjacent to the capital Jakarta — enacted stricter social distancing measures on 15 April. These include bans on public gatherings of more than five people, including religious events, and the mandatory use of face masks in public. Furthermore, President Joko Widodo ordered airlines to limit capacity by 50% on all flights.

On 15 April Thailand’s government extended the ban on all inbound passenger flights through 30 April. The ban — initially introduced on 4 April — was set to expire on 18 April. Meanwhile, officials announced that on 18 April land borders in 21 provinces will be re-opened to allow Thai nationals to return home. Checkpoints will be monitored across all borders and a maximum of 100 people will be allowed to enter each border crossing per day. In addition, individuals who enter the country through a border crossing will be subject to 14-day quarantine.

EUROPE

Europe: As of 15 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 (177,633), Italy (162,488), France (143,303) Germany (132,210) and the U.K. (94,847). Transportation services remain disrupted and restrictions continue to be extended across the continent as officials attempt to contain COVID-19.

On 15 April Finnish Prime Minister Sanna Marin announced that restrictions will be lifted in the southern Uusimaa region, where the capital Helsinki is located. Officials stated that roadblocks will be removed and travel to and from the region will resume. Public venues will continue to be closed until at least 13 May, and restaurants will remain closed until 31 May.

On 14 April Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic announced a nationwide weekend curfew beginning at 1700 local time (1500 UTC) on 17 April and continuing until 0500 local time on 21 April. The order is intended to restrict movement during the Easter holiday weekend for the country’s Orthodox Christian population. Residents may only leave their homes for health emergencies. In addition to the weekend curfew, the nightly weekday curfew from 1700-0500 local time will remain in place until further notice.

In Romania, President Klaus Iohannis announced an extension to the current nationwide state of emergency until 14 May. The extension maintains previous measures such as a curfew, electronic monitoring of those in self-isolation or quarantine, and a complete ban on residents over 65 years of age from leaving their homes.

Meanwhile, Italian officials began lifting nationwide restrictions on business operations. Restrictions on bookshops, children’s clothing stores and laundromats were lifted and nonessential employees in industries related to construction and manufacturing also returned to work. Officials in the Piedmont region stated that nonessential businesses will remain closed in the region, while in Sardinia officials will delay lifting restrictions until 26 April.

MIDDLE EAST AND NORTH AFRICA

Egypt (Security threat level – 4): On 14 April 2020, security forces raided an apartment building in the impoverished Cairo neighborhood of al-Amiriyya and engaged in a gunbattle with a group of suspected Islamist militants barricaded inside. Two police officers were killed in the raid, while security forces killed seven militants. There were no reports of civilian casualties. Security personnel seized weapons and explosives in the raid. Officials claim that the militants were planning attacks on Coptic Christian targets to coincide with Christian holidays.

Middle East and North Africa: As of 15 April 2020, governments in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region continue to enforce restrictions as part of efforts to control the spread of COVID-19. 

In Jordan, on 14 April security forces placed parts of Amman’s Tabarbour neighborhood on lockdown after three residents tested positive for COVID-19. In a related development, Jordanian authorities also announced that mosques will remain closed for prayers during the holy month of Ramadan.

In the United Arab Emirates, on 14 April authorities announced additional movement restrictions for labor workers in Dubai and the capital Abu Dhabi. The movement of workers in and out of the Dubai municipality will be prohibited until further notice. In addition, all labor workers residing in the Abu Dhabi region are prohibited from leaving while individuals from other regions are prohibited from entering. Workers within Abu Dhabi will only be allowed to travel within the capital and to the nearby cities of Al Ain and Al Dhafra.

United Arab Emirates (Security threat level – 2): On 14 April 2020, two aircraft — a British Airways Airbus A350 and an Emirates Boeing 777 — collided on the tarmac at Dubai International Airport (OMDB/DXB). Both aircraft sustained damage after the British Airways Airbus A350 backed into the parked Emirates Boeing 777. The British Airways flight — en route to London Heathrow Airport (EGLL/LHR) — was subsequently canceled following the incident. There were no reports of any injuries among individuals aboard either of the two aircraft.

SUB-SAHARAN AFRICA

Sub-Saharan Africa: As of 15 April 2020, the number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 on the African continent has surpassed 16,400 as governments continue to implement public health measures and restrictions in an effort to prevent further spread of the virus. 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 (638) and Ghana (636). The most recent notable developments in Chad, Malawi and Namibia are outlined below.

In Chad, the government extended the closure of airports to all passenger aircraft until at least 25 April. The closures initially went into effect on 17 March and were scheduled to last for two weeks, but have been extended several times; additional extensions are possible. Cargo aircraft are exempt. Chad has registered 23 confirmed COVID-19 cases.

In Malawi, on the evening of 14 April President Peter Mutharika declared a three-week nationwide lockdown beginning at 0000 local time on 18 April (2200 UTC on 17 April). All nonessential ground travel between Malawi’s 28 districts will be banned for the duration of the lockdown and residents have been advised to stay home except for essential purposes, such as to obtain food or seek medical care. District commissioners will issue permits to essential businesses — including banks and pharmacies — to remain open and markets will be open daily from 0500-1800 local time. Authorities advise that residents only visit establishments within the immediate vicinity of their homes. Security personnel will deploy nationwide and set up roadblocks to enforce the lockdown.

In Namibia, on 14 April officials stated that the nationwide lockdown will be extended until 2359 local time (2159 UTC) on 4 May; the lockdown was initially scheduled to end at 2359 local time on 17 April. Movement throughout the country will be restricted; however, regions will be grouped into zones to determine specific travel restrictions and penalties for violators. Most nonessential stores will remain closed as social distancing rules continue. In addition, officials also extended the work-from-home order until the end of the lockdown period. Namibia currently has 16 confirmed COVID-19 cases.

GOVERNMENT WARNINGS

North Macedonia (Security threat level – 3): On 14 April 2020, the U.K. Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) issued updated travel information for North Macedonia, which reads in part as follows: "The Government of North Macedonia has announced that there will be a nationwide curfew over the upcoming public holiday from 4 pm on Friday 17 April until 5 am on Tuesday 21 April. Police, army, health workers, pharmacies, and markets and restaurants that deliver products are exempted from the ban.

"Additional curfew measures continue for those people aged under 18 and over 67. There is a complete ban on movement of people aged under 18 except for 1pm to 3pm on Monday to Friday. For people aged above 67 years of age, there will be a complete ban from Monday to Friday apart from 10am to 12pm.

"The general curfew does not apply to members of law enforcement bodies, army members, firefighters and people in need of emergency medical assistance, or those in a life-threatening condition and people undergoing dialysis treatments. Public transportation will not be available during this time. Availability of taxis will be limited and taxi drivers will be allowed to transport people only to a healthcare facility or a pharmacy."

The full text of the advice can be found here .