AMERICAS Argentina / Jamaica / Panama (Security threat levels –...
Americas: As of 21 April 2020, 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. Nonessential businesses remain closed throughout the region, and residents are only allowed to leave their homes to obtain essential goods and services. Currently, the countries with the most confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the region are Brazil (40,814), Peru (16,325), Chile (10,507) and Ecuador (10,128). Significant developments in the British Virgin Islands, Colombia, the Dominican Republic and Haiti are outlined below.
In the British Virgin Islands, the government on 19 April extended a nationwide 24-hour curfew until 26 April. During the extended lockdown, all businesses, including supermarkets, pharmacies and banks, will remain closed. Meanwhile in Colombia, President Iván Duque on 20 April extended the nationwide quarantine until 11 May. The construction and manufacturing industries are allowed to reopen before the quarantine expires.
In the Dominican Republic, as of 20 April, security personnel in Santo Domingo are actively detaining residents who leave their homes without gloves and masks. Arrests have taken place at security checkpoints in place at the city’s entrances, which are located at kilometer 9 of the Duarte highway, kilometer 12 of Independence Avenue, in Pintura, on Yolanda Guzmán Street in the National District and at Duarte and 17 bridges in the National District. Authorities ordered all residents to wear masks in public areas on 16 April. Additionally, on 19 April authorities in Haiti extended the ongoing nationwide state of emergency until 19 May.
Asia: As of 21 April 2020, countries throughout the Asia-Pacific region are maintaining restrictions on travel. Most governments are enforcing mandatory social distancing measures as well as closures of nonessential businesses, and imposing orders that only allow residents to leave their homes for essential goods and services. The most recent notable developments in Hong Kong, Singapore, India and Indonesia are addressed below.
On 21 April Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam announced the decision to renew social distancing measures until 7 May. Meanwhile, Singapore extended its partial lockdown until 1 June and the country’s National Environment Agency (NEA) issued orders effective on 22 April requiring residents visiting four supermarkets associated with the NEA — the Geylang Serai Market and the Chong Pang Market at Block 104/105 Yishun Ring, as well as the markets at Block 20/21 Marsiling Lane and Block 505 Jurong West Street 52 — to only visit the supermarkets on designated days based on their national identity card number in an effort to reduce the daily volume of customers at those locations.
In India, authorities allowed some farms, factories, shops and other businesses to reopen in rural areas. A number of small businesses reopened in the state of Uttar Pradesh. Approximately 4,000 factories in various sectors, including the automotive, chemical, engineering, packaging, plastics and textiles sectors, restarted operations in Gujarat.
On 21 April Indonesian President Joko Widodo ordered a ban on travel during Ramadan beginning on 24 April. The practice, locally known as “mudik,” is a popular Ramadan tradition in the country, during which residents visit their home villages.
Europe: As of 21 April 2020, confirmed cases of COVID-19 continue to increase across Europe. At present, there are five countries that have surpassed 100,000 confirmed cases: Spain (204,178), Italy (181,228), France (156,493), Germany (147,065) and the U.K. (125,856). Transportation services remain disrupted and restrictions continue to be extended across the continent as officials attempt to contain COVID-19.
On 21 April French officials announced a suspension of all international flights outside the Schengen Area. The cancellation affects all flights between France and countries that are not a member of the passport-free Schengen Area, which comprises 26 European countries. Officials did not indicate how long the flight suspension will last, but stated that repatriation flights will continue.
On 20 April German officials in the southern state of Bavaria announced that masks covering both the mouth and nose will be required beginning on 27 April. All masks — including homemade masks and scarves — are allowed, as long as they cover both the nose and mouth. Masks are also required in the states of Saxony and Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania beginning on 20 and 27 April, respectively.
In Lithuania, authorities announced an extension to the current nationwide quarantine. Officials advised residents to continue sheltering in place and restrict outside movement to essential activities. The measure follows an extension to existing border restrictions on Latvia and Poland as well as a ban on entry for all foreign travelers until 27 April.
Additionally, authorities in Poland began easing a limited number of movement restrictions. Nonessential businesses will be permitted to reopen with strict social distancing protocols and restrictions on occupancy. In addition, national forests and public parks have reopened for limited recreational activities and exercise — such as cycling and running — and places of worship may resume in-person services with reductions in the number of congregants permitted to ensure adequate social distance. Furthermore, minors below the age of 13 will be permitted to leave their homes without adult supervision as long as they observe public health guidelines, including the use of face mask at all times when in public.
Meanwhile, Serbian officials also announced an easing of restrictions. Small businesses and marketplaces are expected to resume operations on 21 April. The 24-hour lockdown for people over the age of 65 will also be eased to allow them to leave their homes for 30 minutes three days a week. Additionally, airports are expected to resume limited operations between 4-11 May. Officials stated that the restrictions will be reestablished if the number of cases increases significantly.
France (Security threat level – 3): On 21 April 2020, police officers clashed with protesters in the northern Paris suburb of Villeneuve-la-Garenne. Police officers fired rubber bullets and deployed tear gas after the protesters burned garbage bins and vehicles and set off fireworks. Police officers arrested at least nine people, but there were no reports of injuries. Additional clashes between protesters and police officers occurred in the suburbs of Asnières-sur-Seine, Aulnay-sous-Bois and Nanterre. The violence initially began on 20 April, when a resident crashed a motorcycle into the door of an unmarked police car. Protesters allege that police officers deliberately caused the crash and have used extreme tactics to enforce lockdown measures intended to combat COVID-19.
Middle East and North Africa: As of 21 April 2020, governments in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region continue to impose new restrictions ahead of the holy month of Ramadan — set to begin on the evening of 23 April — in an effort to control the spread of COVID-19. The most recent notable developments in Egypt, Kuwait and Saudi Arabia are outlined below.
In Egypt, on 21 April officials in the governorate of Giza, located just outside of Cairo, ended the quarantine of the village of al-Mutamadiya. Authorities had initially imposed the quarantine on 7 April.
Kuwaiti officials on 20 April extended the closure of all government institutions until at least 28 May. Additionally, during the month of Ramadan, the nationwide daily curfew will be extended to 16 hours per day and will remain in effect from 1600 to 0800 local time (1300-0500 UTC).
In Saudi Arabia, on 21 April officials announced new restrictions for the holy month of Ramadan. Officials announced a nightly curfew in all cities and regions not otherwise under a curfew for the duration of the holy month. The curfew will begin daily at 1700 local time and last until 0900 local time (1400-0600 UTC). Additionally, individuals in areas under a preexisting curfew — including Riyadh, Jeddah, Mecca, Medina, Dammam, Dhahran, Taif, al-Khobar and Hofuf — will be allowed to leave their homes for essential reasons, including obtaining health care and purchasing food, from 0900 to 1700 local time, and they are only allowed to conduct such activities within their own residential neighborhoods. Residents of areas under complete quarantine — including the city of al-Qatif — residents are forbidden from leaving their homes at any time.
Additionally, officials stated that worship activities will remain suspended at the country’s two holy mosques — the Prophet’s Mosque in Medina and al-Haram Mosque in Mecca — during the month of Ramadan.
Sub-Saharan Africa: As of 21 April 2020, the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Africa has increased to more than 23,500 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 (3,300), Cameroon (1,163) Ghana (1,042), and Côte d’Ivoire (879). The most recent notable developments in Benin, Burkina Faso and Nigeria are outlined below.
In Benin, on 20 April the government extended public health measures through at least 10 May. Under the existing health measures, all schools and religious worship houses are closed and all individuals are required to wear face masks within designated health cordon zones in southern Benin. The government also advised individuals to wear face masks in areas outside of the health cordon zones.
In Burkina Faso, on 20 April the government announced that it has reduced the hours of its indefinite nightly curfew, which now remains in effect from 2100-0400 local time/UTC. The curfew — initially imposed on 21 March — previously ran from 1900-0500 local time. Additionally, authorities have announced that beginning on 27 April all individuals will be required to wear a fabric face mask while in public.
In Nigeria, on 20 April the minister of aviation announced a two-week extension to the suspension of all international commercial flights through at least 7 May. Meanwhile, the governor of Lagos state announced that all residents will be required to wear a face mask while in public starting on 27 April. Officials stated that local manufacturers are producing more than 1 million masks, which will be distributed to Lagos residents in the coming days.
Algeria (Security threat level – 4): On 21 April 2020, the U.K. Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) updated its travel advice for Algeria, to read in part as follows: "The 22 April flight from Algiers to London Gatwick for stranded British nationals and their direct dependents is now full. We are exploring another flight from Algiers to London on 26 April, which if confirmed would be the last until normal commercial services resume. British nationals and their dependents will have priority, but space may be available for those of other nationalities normally resident in the UK. The cost of the flight is £279 per person.
"If you applied to the SportsBreaks website for the 22 April flight and are currently on stand-by, you do not need to re-apply. You will receive an email from the travel agency and your application will automatically be moved to the 26 April flight.
"If you have not made a previous application and wish to register to travel on the 26 April flight, visit the SportsBreaks website as soon as possible.
"Tickets will not be on sale at the airport."
Barbados (Security threat level – 1): On 20 April 2020, the U.K. Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) issued updated travel advice for Barbados, which reads in part as follows: “A daily curfew operates from 6pm to 6am local time. Outside of these hours movement continues to be restricted to purchase food or medicine, to seek medical treatment visits to hardware stores and banks, or to work in an essential service. Persons are allowed out for essential shopping and to go to the bank on specific days and times as set by the government of Barbados. The schedule is determined by the first letter of a person’s surname. Persons should carry picture ID otherwise to gain entry to premises. Long queues have been reported and it would be sensible for people to take with them a bottle of water and an umbrella to shield them from the sun. In addition, some premises are only allowing people wearing face mask to enter the premises.”
"Event: Flooding and power outages throughout Djibouti; Embassy closed for consular services on April 21
"Djibouti is experiencing flooding throughout the country, a result of heavy early morning rainfall. Due to flooding and power outages, the U.S. Embassy in Djibouti will be closed for consular services on Tuesday, April 21. Expect flooding, heavy rain, landslides, and difficult travel conditions to persist throughout the country."
Egypt (Security threat level – 4): On 20 April 2020, the U.K. Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) issued an update to its travel advice for Egypt, which reads in part as follows:
“Air Cairo is operating a flight from Cairo to Frankfurt on Sunday, 26 April. Bookings can be made on the Air Cairo website while availability lasts. You will be responsible for making your own arrangements for onward travel to the UK.”
“Some airlines are still operating international flights from Tel Aviv Ben Gurion Airport. Israir Airlines continues to operate a number of one-off flights to European destinations including a direct flight to London on the 27th of April. For further information please check their website in Hebrew only. Please check the FCO travel advice for any country you plan to transit, as you may need to show proof of onward travel or complete additional documents."