Worldview Security Update – April 6, 2020
6-Apr-20

AMERICAS

Americas: As of 6 April 2020, a number of governments across the Americas continue to impose restrictions, including extending states of emergency, in order to limit the spread of the coronavirus disease (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 (11,281), Chile (4,471) and Ecuador (3,646). Significant developments in Brazil, the Dominican Republic, Guatemala, Guyana, Mexico, Peru and St. Kitts and Nevis are outlined below.

In Brazil, on 4 April authorities in the northeastern state of Paraíba extended social distancing measures imposed across the state’s 223 municipalities until at least 19 April. The state order advises residents to self-isolate in their homes and restrict outside travel to essential activities such as to procure food and medicine or seek emergency medical care. Nonessential businesses and public gathering places, such as shopping centers, remain closed. On 3 April the federal government extended the closure of Brazil’s land borders with Argentina, Bolivia, Colombia, Guyana, French Guiana, Paraguay, Peru, Uruguay and Venezuela to foreign nationals for 30 days. However, exemptions to the closures include Brazilian nationals, permanent residents and diplomats, as well as cargo and cross-border humanitarian activities. Additionally, foreign nationals who seek to cross the Brazilian border to embark on an international flight back to their country of residence are allowed to enter with authorization from the federal police.

In the Dominican Republic, the government introduced new travel restrictions on 4 April prohibiting travel between municipalities. Police officers and General Directorate of Traffic Safety and Ground Transportation (DIGGESETT) agents deployed throughout the country to enforce the restrictions. Cargo and essential supply deliveries are exempt from the order.

In Guyana, on 3 April authorities extended travel restrictions and other emergency measures until 3 May. All residents are required to stay in their homes, except to procure food and medicine, or to seek emergency medical care. A nationwide nightly curfew is in effect from 1800-0600 local time (2200-1000 UTC). Public gatherings of any kind are prohibited. Nonessential businesses remain closed and essential businesses — such as grocery stores, pharmacies and banks — are only permitted to operate from 0600-1700 local time. Religious facilities are closed except to perform essential services, such as funerals, although no more than five attendees are permitted. Public transportation services remain operational, but cannot exceed 50% occupancy in order to allow for appropriate social distancing. Furthermore, Timehri’s Cheddi Jagan International Airport (SYCJ/GEO) and Georgetown’s Eugene F. Correia International Airport (SYEC/OGL) remain closed for international commercial flight operations. Essential services personnel and commercial cargo operations are exempt from the aforementioned restrictions.

In Mexico, officials announced on 5 April that Mexican army and navy personnel will deploy to the city at a date to be determined in order to strengthen the city’s security posture during the public health emergency. While there have been no reports of heightened unrest in the capital region since the public health epidemic announcement on 31 March, officials are preparing and taking precautions due to the city’s status as the national capital and major transportation hub for domestic and international travel. In addition, a number of measures were implemented, including the suspension of all public, private and nonessential businesses until at least 30 April. Essential businesses — such as grocery stores and pharmacies — are exempt from the order and remain open.

In Peru, new movement restrictions went into effect on 3 April, and will remain until at least 12 April. Under the orders, men can only leave their homes on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, while women can only leave their homes on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. No movements are allowed on Sundays, as all banks, markets, pharmacies and shops are closed. The nightly curfew from 1800-0500 local time (2300-1000 UTC) remains in effect. Security forces are enforcing the measures. Individuals traveling to airports for flights on prearranged transport are exempt from the restrictions.

In St. Kitts and Nevis, authorities extended the country’s state of emergency and nationwide 24-hour curfew on 4 April until 0600 local time (1000 UTC) on 8 April. After the curfew expires, residents will be permitted to leave their homes to obtain food and medicine on 8 and 9 April from 0600 to 1900 local time. Only essential personnel — such as security, utilities, emergency and medical workers — will be allowed to travel during the curfew hours. While the curfew is expected to end on 8 April, it is likely that the measure will be extended due to the rising number of COVID-19 cases in St. Kitts and Nevis. To date, there are 10 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in St. Kitts and Nevis.

United States / Canada (Security threat levels – 2 / 2): As of 6 April 2020, the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) continues to spread rapidly in the U.S. and confirmed cases of COVID-19 are expected to escalate notably through this week. On 4 April a senior U.S. health official stated that the death toll from COVID-19 is expected to exacerbate in the worst-affected areas in the country, including in New York City, Detroit and the state of Louisiana. Meanwhile, authorities continue to impose measures in an attempt to slow further spread of the virus. On 3 April the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommended individuals wear cloth face coverings while visiting public venues — where social distancing measures are difficult to maintain — such as grocery stories and pharmacies, particularly in areas with a high rate of community-based transmission of COVID-19. Additionally, at least 41 states have issued stay-at-home orders for their residents, except for essential purposes such as procuring food, medicine and health care services; most recently, on 3 April Alabama (from 1700 local time on 4 April until 1700 local time on 30 April) and Missouri (from 0001 local time on 6 April to 24 April) issued such orders. As of the latest reports, the U.S. has recorded approximately 338,000 confirmed COVID-19 cases and the death toll is expected to exceed 10,000 later on 6 April.

In Canada, on 4 April authorities in Ontario — where Toronto is located — issued a province-wide emergency alert regarding the COVID-19 outbreak for a second time advising residents to stay home and limit outside movements to essential activities — such as procuring food and medicine or to seek medical care — as part of an effort to combat the spread of COVID-19. The advisory applies to all residents except those employed in essential sectors, such as health care or municipal services. All nonessential businesses and outdoor gathering sites such as recreational facilities and parks remain closed through 13 April. Officials issued the first alert on 27 March, notifying travelers entering Ontario of a requirement to self-quarantine for 14 days upon arrival in the province. At present, Ontario has recorded at least 4,466 confirmed cases of COVID-19; there are 15,940 confirmed cases in Canada.

ASIA

Asia: As of 6 April 2020, governments throughout Asia continue to implement movement controls in response to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic. Japan is expected to declare a state of emergency for seven prefectures on 7 April, while lockdown orders were extended in the Philippines and Malaysia. Thailand also extended a ban on inbound international flights. Additional details are available below.

In Japan, Prime Minister Abe Shinzo is expected to declare a state of emergency as early as 7 April for Tokyo, Chiba, Kanagawa, Saitama, Osaka, Hyogo and Fukuoka prefectures, which will likely remain in effect until at least 6 May. The declarations will allow authorities to implement local stay-at-home orders and enforce mandatory closures for all nonessential businesses and schools.

In Thailand, officials extended the ban on all inbound international flights to the country, effective 0001 local time on 7 April (2701 on 6 April) until 2359 local time on 18 April. Thai nationals abroad have been requested to remain in place until 15 April. From 6-30 April, entry and exit bans are in effect for all travelers in Songkhla province. Only individuals working in essential sectors — such as energy, finance, medicine or consumer products — will be permitted to enter the province.

In the Philippines, on 6 April a total lockdown for Rizal province — located approximately 15 km (9 mi) east of Metro Manila on Luzon Island — went into effect until further notice. Residents are prohibited from leaving their homes with the exception of essential workers who are required to carry an identification card. In addition, nonessential travelers will be prohibited from entering the province. Security forces have implemented strict penalties — such as arrests and fines — for those not complying with the rules. Commercial cargo and essential services personnel will be exempt from the restrictions. On 16 March authorities implemented a lockdown for all of Luzon Island, which is set to expire on 12 April if it is not extended.

In Singapore, authorities placed two residential facilities for foreign workers — the S11 Dormitory at Punggol and the Westlite Toh Guan dormitory — under mandatory quarantine and ordered all residents to self-isolate for 14 days after health officials recorded a cluster of COVID-19 cases in the communities. Authorities will conduct health screenings to monitor the workforce and isolate symptomatic individuals. Workers employed in essential services will be moved to separate lodging facilities, and all salaries will continue to be paid. Similar measures are expected to be implemented for other worker dormitories in the short-term and may be announced with little advance notice.

The state of Western Australia implemented border restrictions as of 5 April until further notice to limit the spread of COVID-19. All travelers attempting to enter the territory will be required to fill out an official arrival form. The order does not pertain to medical, government, security or transportation workers. Residents of Western Australia entering the state will be required to self-quarantine for 14 days.

In Kyrgyzstan, authorities in the capital Bishkek implemented a nightly curfew from 2000-0700 local time (1400 and 0100 UTC) until 15 April. Individuals who violate the curfew order — with the exception of medical and security personnel or those with emergencies — will be detained until the end of the nationwide lockdown, which is also set to expire on 15 April. In addition, residents in Bishkek are required to carry an ID and a written copy of the following information: full name, telephone number, reason for leaving the house, time of leaving, expected time of return, home address, destination address.

Malaysia’s government ordered all foreign nationals entering the country to undergo mandatory quarantine at a government center for 14 days under the existing Movement Control Order (MCO). Under the MCO, all foreign nationals are banned from entering the country, except diplomats, permanent residents or expatriates working for an essential service. Foreign nationals are granted entry to transit within Kuala Lumpur International Airport (WMKK/KUL), but will be prohibited from transferring between the main building (Terminal 1) and the low-budget airline facility (Terminal 2).

AUSTRALASIA

South Pacific Islands / Vanuatu (Security threat levels – 1 / 1): According to the Joint Typhoon Warning Center (JTWC), as of 0900 UTC on 6 April 2020, Tropical Cyclone Harold was located approximately 220 km (135 mi) north-northwest of Port Vila, Vanuatu, and was moving east-southeast at 20 kph (13 mph). At that time, Harold was generating maximum sustained winds of 250 kph, with gusts of up to 305 kph. Over the past weekend, Harold strengthened to a Category 5 storm from a Category 2 storm, causing widespread damage across Vanuatu and the Solomon Islands. On its current path, the storm is expected to pass north of Vanuatu’s capital Port Vila on 7 April. The storm is predicted to bring heavy rainfall, which has the potential to cause additional flash flooding and large swells near the ports.

Thus far, significant damage has been reported in Vanuatu’s northern Sanma province. The storm destroyed multiple buildings throughout the province and in the country’s second largest city, Luganville. In addition, heavy winds and rains damaged the province’s electrical lines causing widespread power outages. Meanwhile, on 4 April a ferry — traveling from Honiara to West Are’are — capsized approximately 120 km off the shore of Honiara as the storm passed over the Solomon Islands. All 27 passengers aboard the vessel were presumably killed.

A Red Alert — advising residents to shelter in place — has been issued in the Sanma, Torba, Penama and Malampa provinces while a Yellow Alert has been issued for Shefa province, which includes Port Vila. Harold is expected to dissipate by 9 April.

EUROPE

Europe: As of 6 April 2020, confirmed cases of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) have increased significantly across countries in Europe. At present, there are four countries that have surpassed 50,000 confirmed cases: Spain (135,032), Italy (128,948), Germany (100,132) and France (93,780). Transportation services continue to be significantly disrupted and lockdowns and curfews have been applied and extended across the continent as officials attempt to contain COVID-19.

In Spain, officials on 4 April announced a second extension to the nationwide state of alarm and associated lockdown measures imposed on 14 March. The extension — expected to remain in place through at least 26 April — requires residents to remain indoors. In Greece, authorities announced an extension to the nationwide lockdown and movement restrictions until 0600 local time (0300 UTC) on 27 April. The measures were initially in effect from 23 March to 11 April. All citizens have been ordered to remain at home with the exception of those needing essential goods or individuals who are unable to work from home. The nationwide curfew remains in effect and residents traveling within the country need to carry an identification card. Additionally, an islandwide curfew was implemented on the island of Mykonos. The nightly curfew from 2000-0800 local time (1700 to 0500 UTC) will be imposed through 20 April.

Additionally, Ukrainian officials are set to impose increased restrictions as of 6 April. These restrictions include a ban on gatherings of more than two people, a ban on residents under the age of 14 in public spaces without an adult and a requirement for residents to wear a face mask in public. Residents are still under a nationwide lockdown set to continue through at least 24 April.

In Slovakia, officials announced restrictions on movement within the country, which are expected to be in effect from 8-13 April. Exemptions from the ban include travel to and from work, essential goods shopping and seeking medical attention.
France (Security threat level – 3): On 4 April 2020, a knife attack occurred in the town of Romans-sur-Isère in the Drôme department, located approximately 100 km (60 mi) southeast of Lyon. A man attacked people in several shops in the city’s downtown area before police officers apprehended him. The assailant killed two people and injured five others. Counterterrorism officials stated that they discovered terror-related materials during an investigation and arrested two others in connection with the attack.

MIDDLE EAST AND NORTH AFRICA

Iraq (Security threat level – 5): On 6 April 2020, at least five missiles struck near an oil field in the al-Burjisia area near the southern city of Basra. The missiles reportedly targeted a U.S. oil field service company operating in the area. The attack caused some material damage, but there were no casualties. Security forces later discovered a rocket launcher with 11 unused missiles on the nearby Zubair-Shuaiba road and defused them.

Middle East and North Africa: As of 6 April 2020, governments across the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region are continuing to revise and extend restrictions in an effort to control the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19).

In Jordan, authorities on 5 April deployed drones in an effort to further ensure that all residents were complying with the mandatory 24-hour curfew. Only workers with special governmental permission are allowed to travel during the curfew. In addition, officials noted that security forces will also use surveillance cameras to monitor the movement of people and ensure compliance with the curfew. Thus far, at least 1,600 people have been arrested for violating travel restrictions.

In Lebanon, new restrictions went into effect on 6 April in an effort to curb further spread of COVID-19; the restrictions are in effect until further notice. Under the new measures, private cars, public vehicles and commercial trucks have permission to operate based on license plate numbers. Vehicles with license plate numbers ending in an odd number will be permitted to travel on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, while vehicles with plate numbers ending in an even number will be permitted to travel on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays; no one is allowed to travel on Sundays. Essential workers — including medical as well as security and diplomatic personnel — are exempt from the restrictions. At present, there have been 541 confirmed COVID-19 cases in the country.

In Bahrain, Gulf Air on 4 April announced the resumption of transit flights through Bahrain International Airport (OBBI/BAH) following the suspension of such travel on 26 March. However, only Bahraini nationals and legal permanent residents may enter the country. All authorized arrivals will be subject to additional health screenings and are required to self-quarantine for 14 days upon entry.

In Iraq, the Kurdistan region instituted a lockdown as part of an overall effort to combat COVID-19 from 4 April until further notice. All residents are prohibited from leaving their homes except to perform essential activities such as procuring food and medical supplies or to seek emergency medical care. Nonessential businesses have been ordered to close during this period, although a limited number of grocery stores and pharmacies will remain open. Nonessential vehicular traffic has also been prohibited. Critical services personnel such as healthcare workers and members of the security forces are exempt from the restrictions. At present, authorities have recorded at least 961 cases of COVID-19 in Iraq.

In Saudi Arabia, authorities announced a partial quarantine and nightly curfew — which started as of 1500 local time (1200 UTC) on 4 April — in multiple neighborhoods in the city of Jeddah. Until further notice, residents of the Al-Mahjar, Ghaleel, Kilo 13, Kilo 14 North, Kilo 14 South, Qurayyat and Petromin neighborhoods may only leave their homes from 0600-1500 local time, and for essential purposes only, such as to purchase groceries or medical supplies. In addition, all entry or exit will be prohibited except for essential services personnel or in case of medical emergency. Nonessential businesses will close, with the exception of pharmacies, grocery stores, gas stations and banks. On 2 April authorities imposed similar curfews in the cities of Mecca and Medina. At present, authorities have recorded at least 2,463 cases of COVID-19 in Saudi Arabia.

In Tunisia, the parliament on 4 April approved a measure giving temporary emergency authorities to Prime Minister Elyes Fakhfakh as part of the government’s response to COVID-19. The decision confers wide authorities on the government for 60 days to unilaterally issue decrees and enact policies intended to contain the spread of COVID-19 without consulting the parliament. All major political parties supported the measure to facilitate a rapid government response to the virus. At present, health officials have recorded at least 574 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Tunisia.

In the United Arab Emirates (UAE), authorities in Dubai implemented a number of movement restrictions from 4-18 April as part of an overall effort to combat the spread of COVID-19. All residents must remain in their homes and restrict outside movements to essential activities, such as procuring food and medicine or to seek emergency medical care. Only one member of a residence will be permitted to undertake such travel at a time and is required to wear a face mask and gloves when in public. Nonessential businesses have been ordered to close and work remotely where possible. Essential services and personnel — including those employed in the health care and municipal sectors – are considered exempt from the restrictions. Violators face penalties, including fines and possible arrest.

Furthermore, Dubai has suspended all metro and tram services on both Green and Red lines until further notice. All commercial businesses operating out of Dubai Metro stations have been ordered to close in accordance with the measure, and access to metro facilities will be prohibited during the suspension. Public bus services in Dubai will remain operational and subject to compliance with social-distancing protocols. Meanwhile, authorities in Abu Dhabi announced an indefinite extension of the closure of all nonessential businesses and public gathering places, such as shopping malls, theaters and entertainment venues. The measure was to expire on 5 April. Essential businesses –such as banks, grocery stores and pharmacies — will remain operational.

In Algeria, authorities on 4 April announced an extension of nationwide curfews — in effect from 23 March — until further notice as part of an effort to combat COVID-19. The provinces (wilayas) of Ain Defla, Algiers, Bejaia, Médéa, Oran, Sétif, Tipaza, Tizi Ouzou and Tlemcen are under a nightly curfew from 1500 to 0700 local time (1400 to 0600 UTC). A separate curfew from 1900 to 0700 local time is in effect for the remainder of the country with the exception of Blida province, which remains under a 24-hour curfew and mandatory lockdown after authorities discovered a cluster of COVID-19 cases. Additional restrictions remain in effect, including a prohibition on gatherings of more than two people, a suspension of the weekly nationwide “hirak” demonstrations that had been ongoing for 12 months, a suspension of public transportation services, as well as the closure of academic institutions, nonessential businesses and public venues, such as bars and nightclubs. All land borders and international commercial flights into and out of the country have been suspended since 17 March; commercial cargo remains exempt from the restrictions. At present, health officials have recorded at least 1,320 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Algeria.

SUB-SAHARAN AFRICA

Democratic Republic Of The Congo (Security threat level – 4): Overnight on 5-6 April 2020, multiple gunmen attacked a mining site near Irumu, located in the northeastern Ituri province, approximately 100 km (60 mi) west of the Ugandan border. The attack left four people dead, including three Chinese nationals and one member of the Congolese military. Authorities have not confirmed the corporate affiliation of the three Chinese victims, or the specific mining site targeted in the attack. No group has claimed responsibility for the attack, although numerous rebel and militant groups are active in Ituri province and pose a significant threat to individuals and entities that operate in the mineral-rich area.

Sub-Saharan Africa: As of 6 April 2020, governments continue to implement varying degrees of restrictions across the African continent, where the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) has spread to at least 51 countries and the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases has surpassed 9,400. In Sub-Saharan Africa, the countries with the largest number of confirmed cases include: South Africa (1,655), Cameroon (658), Burkina Faso (345) and Côte d’Ivoire (261).

In Kenya, all road, rail and air movement to and from the counties of Nairobi, Mombasa, Kwale and Kilifi is suspended for at least 21 days. The measures are set to commence at 1900 local time (1800 UTC) on 6 April for the Nairobi Metropolitan Area and at 1900 local time on 8 April for Mombasa, Kwale and Kilifi. Authorities also extended the suspension of international commercial flights into and out of the country until at least 5 May as part of an overall effort to combat the spread of COVID-19. Evacuation and commercial cargo flight operations continue to be exempt from the restrictions. Operators of evacuation flights are required to notify aviation officials of flight plans to at least 72 hours in advance of travel. Matatu (minibus) and boda boda (motorcycle taxi) operators must adhere to social-distancing and other public health measures enacted by government authorities; operators found in violation of the directives will have their licenses revoked and vehicles impounded. At present, Kenyan health officials have recorded at least 158 confirmed cases of COVID-19.

In Tanzania, authorities on 4 April announced additional travel restrictions as part of an overall effort to combat COVID-19. Until further notice, all inbound travelers to Tanzania will be required to undergo a 14-day mandatory quarantine in government-designated facilities at their own expense. In addition, all individuals currently residing in Tanzania are advised to avoid nonessential travel abroad until further notice. Furthermore, all inbound commercial cargo vehicles must declare their final destination at the point of entry before being permitted into the country and drivers will be subject to health screenings and potential mandatory quarantine procedures. All other cargo operators must self-quarantine aboard their aircraft or vessel for the duration of stay in Tanzania. Thus far, Tanzania has recorded at least 22 confirmed COVID-19 cases.

In Senegal, officials announced an extension to the nationwide state of emergency through at least 4 May. The measure — which includes a nightly curfew from 2000-0600 local time/UTC — initially went into effect on 24 March and was set to expire on 5 April. The country’s air and land borders have been closed through 17 April, and ground travel between regions is prohibited. At present, health officials have recorded at least 226 confirmed COVID-19 cases in Senegal.

Similarly, Ghanaian President Nana Akufo-Addo announced an additional two-week extension to the closure of the country’s air and land borders, which will remain closed through at least 19 April. Akufo-Addo initially ordered the border closure — including the suspension of all international commercial flights — beginning on 22 March.

In Benin, authorities extended the country’s existing public health measures, including a health cordon around the zone composed of the municipalities of Abomey-Calavi, Adjarra, Akpro-Missérété, Allada, Cotonou, Ouidah, Sèmè-Podji and Porto-Novo as well as the closing of all places of worship, through at least 19 April. The measures were previously set to expire on 13 April.