Worldview Security Update – April 29, 2020
29-Apr-20

AMERICAS

Americas: As of 29 April 2020, a number of governments across the Americas continue to implement and enforce restrictions intended to prevent the spread of COVID-19. In the Bahamas, Prime Minister Hubert Minnis on 27 April extended emergency measures, including a nationwide 24-hour curfew from Monday-Friday and complete lockdown during weekends, until 30 May. In the Dominican Republic, authorities on 28 April extended the current state of emergency, including the nationwide curfew from 1700 to 0600 local time (2100 to 1000 UTC), until 17 May. Additionally, Jamaican Prime Minister Andrew Holness on 28 April extended the 24-hour curfew in St. Catherine Parish until 0600 local time (1100 UTC) on 1 May; residents may only leave their homes to obtain essential goods and services until then.

In Chile, the Ministry of Health adjusted city-level quarantine measures on 28 April. According to the new order, three municipalities within the Santiago metropolitan region — the northern area of La Pintana, southern area of San Ramón, and all of Estación Central — as well as the cities of Angol and Victoria within the region of La Araucanía, will enter quarantine at 2200 local time on 30 April (0200 UTC on 1 May), and will remain so until further notice. Conversely, the ministry indicated that the quarantine will be lifted in the municipalities of Temuco and Osorno on 30 April. Additionally, the following areas remain under quarantine until further notice: urban area of Arica, Ñuñoa (north), Santiago (north), San Bernardo (northeast), Puente Alto (west), as well as the communities of El Bosque, Independencia, Pedro Aguirre Cerda, Punta Arenas and Quinta Normal.

ASIA

Mongolia / Vietnam (Security threat levels – 1 / 3): On 28 April 2020, Mongolia’s State Emergency Commission (SEC) extended the ban on all international commercial aircraft through 31 May in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Separately, the government is arranging chartered flights to evacuate Mongolian nationals from other countries, including Germany and South Korea; upon return, those citizens will undergo mandatory 21-day quarantines. Meanwhile in Vietnam, authorities in the capital Hanoi ordered nonessential businesses to only open after 0900 local time (0200 UTC) to prevent high volumes of customers during the morning rush hour. The government previously lifted mandatory closures for a number of nonessential businesses on 23 April.

EUROPE

Greece / France (Security threat levels – 3 / 3): On 28 April 2020, French Prime Minister Edouard Philippe outlined plans to ease coronavirus-related restrictions. Beginning on 11 May residents will no longer be required to carry a permission slip to travel, unless traveling more than 100 km (60 mi) from home. Face masks will be required on the Paris Métro and in secondary schools, and public gatherings of up to 10 people will be allowed. Additionally, beaches, movie theaters and restaurants remain closed until further notice, while religious services remain suspended until at least June. Philippe stated that specific restrictions are likely to across departments.

Meanwhile, Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis outlined a three-part plan for easing restrictions, scheduled from 4 May to mid-June. Beginning on 4 May small retail shops and hair salons will be allowed to resume operations, while residents will be allowed to move freely within their prefectures. Officials stated that they will review the reopening every 24 hours and make any modifications necessary to prevent a significant increase in new COVID-19 infections.

MIDDLE EAST AND NORTH AFRICA

Lebanon (Security threat level – 4): On 28 April 2020, anti-government demonstrations intensified across the country, with major protests occurring in the capital city Beirut, the northern city of Tripoli and the southern city of Sidon. Demonstrators used Molotov cocktails to attack at least 12 major banks across the country. In Beirut, large crowds of demonstrators marched along al-Hamra Street, as well as in the Mar Elias neighborhood. Protesters threw stones at security forces, and blocked major thoroughfares in the city, including the main highway between Beirut and southern cities.

Meanwhile in Tripoli, demonstrators vandalized at least two major banks. Outside the home of former Prime Minister Najib Miqati, security forces deployed tear gas against protesters, who responded by throwing rocks. In Sidon, protesters threw at least six Molotov cocktails at a branch of Lebanon’s central bank. The extent of the damage to the building is unknown, although it was unoccupied at the time. Additional protests occurred in Nabatieh, the Bekka Valley, and Akkar. A total of at least 80 security personnel and 30 protesters were injured during the nationwide demonstrations.

Turkey / Jordan (Security threat levels – 4 / 3): On 29 April 2020, authorities in the southernmost Jordanian city of Aqaba announced that public and private beaches in the Aqaba Special Economic Zone, including Aqaba Marine Park, will open from 0800-1700 local time (0500-1400 UTC). Visitors are required to maintain 2 m (6 ft) distance between one another to mitigate the threat of transmitting COVID-19.

On 28 April officials with Turkey’s flag air carrier, Turkish Airlines, canceled all scheduled domestic and international flights until at least 28 May, at which point, airline management plan to reevaluate the possibility of resuming flights. All international flights to and from Turkey have been suspended since 27 March in an attempt to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

SUB-SAHARAN AFRICA

Sub-Saharan Africa: On 28 April 2020, Malawi’s High Court issued an injunction that indefinitely blocks implementation of the government’s proposed three-week nationwide lockdown. President Peter Mutharika initially announced the lockdown on 14 April, and the Human Rights Defenders Coalition subsequently challenged the measure in the High Court, arguing that the measure did not include adequate economic protection for the country’s poorest residents. Following the court’s ruling, the government announced a direct mobile cash transfer program, under which the poorest households will receive monthly payments of up to 35,000 Malawian kwacha (approximately 45 U.S. dollars) beginning on 1 May.

In South Africa, officials will implement a nationwide nightly curfew from 2000 to 0500 local time (1800 to 0300 UTC) beginning on 1 May. The nightly curfew will remain in place until further notice. Concurrently, the country is also expected to transition to a Level 4 lockdown, which will permit some nonessential businesses to reopen and approximately one-third of the workforce to return to workplaces. Furthermore, public transportation is scheduled to resume with limitations on occupancy, and residents are required to wear face masks when in public.

In Uganda, officials increased restrictions on trucks transiting the country, which include limiting vehicles to one driver and banning drivers from overnighting in hotels, lodges or residences. Drivers may only stop for rest in designated locations, such as truck stops. Previously, trucks could carry up to three crew members. Several of East Africa’s busiest cargo routes run through Uganda, and trucks carry goods from ports in Kenya and Tanzania primarily to Burundi, Rwanda, South Sudan and eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo.

GOVERNMENT WARNINGS

Sierra Leone (Security threat level – 4): On 29 April 2020, the U.S. Embassy in Freetown issued a Security Alert, which reads in part as follows:

“Location: Freetown, Sierra Leone

“Event: A violent confrontation has been reported near Pademba Road Prison (approximately 1.5 km east of the National Stadium) today, April 29. Expect increased police presence in the area and traffic congestion.”

Analyst Comment: Protests and rioting broke out among inmates at Freetown’s Pademba Road Prison on the morning of 29 April following confirmation of the first case of COVID-19 at the facility. Inmates reportedly set fire to at least one building, and there were reports of gunfire heard in the vicinity of the prison. Police officers reportedly quelled the unrest by the early afternoon hours and authorities have not confirmed details regarding any potential casualties at this time.