AMERICAS Argentina / Jamaica / Panama (Security threat levels –...
Americas: As of 7 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 (12,240), Chile (4,815) and Ecuador (3,747). Significant developments in Brazil, Colombia, El Salvador, Puerto Rico and Uruguay are outlined below.
In Brazil, São Paulo Gov. João Doria on 6 April extended the existing statewide quarantine through 22 April — defying President Jair Bolsonaro’s order from 31 March that state-level quarantine measures needed to end due to job losses. The São Paulo order — initially imposed on 21 March — requires all hotels, restaurants, bars, retail shops and gyms to close, and recommends the suspension of religious services. Essential businesses, including grocery stores and pharmacies, are set to remain open. The governor also stated that the National Guard and the military police will break up mass groupings or assemblies violating state orders. Both Doria and Bolsonaro continue to publicly spar about the right course of action for Brazilians given the COVID-19 pandemic.
In Colombia, President Ivan Duque on 6 April extended nationwide quarantine measures through 27 April. The original order — which went into effect on 24 March — suspended international flights, sealed the borders and closed schools. As part of the existing order, one person per family is allowed out to purchase essential items or engage in banking. Additionally, residents are required to wear face masks in stores, banks and on public transport. Restaurants are only allowed to offer delivery services. Additionally, the elderly are required to stay at home.
On 6 April El Salvador’s President Nayib Bukele extended the existing state of emergency through 21 April. Bukele stated that he has instructed security personnel to use an increased show of force on residents who violate the nationwide 24-hour curfew. In addition, the government will temporarily detain, isolate and test those who have had contact with COVID-19-infected individuals. Those in the mandated isolation will receive their test results within five days. If the results are negative, they may return to their home; however, if the test is positive, they will be transferred to a medical facility for treatment. Presently, El Salvador has 78 confirmed COVID-19 cases, including four deaths.
In Puerto Rico, authorities mandated additional social distancing measures on 5 April. Under the order, businesses must refuse entry to any customer who does not wear a face mask. Additionally, from 10-12 April only fuel stations and pharmacies will be allowed to operate; all other stores, including supermarkets and banks, will remain closed. Residents may only leave their homes during that period to seek medical attention or an essential service.
In Uruguay, on 6 April the Australian Aurora Expeditions cruise line company announced a COVID-19 outbreak on its cruise ship Greg Mortimer, which is anchored approximately 25 km (15 mi) off the country’s coast. According to Aurora Expeditions and Uruguayan officials, 81 people on board tested positive for COVID-19, 45 people tested negative and 90 other test results are pending. Cruise line and Uruguayan authorities stated that they are working to evacuate passengers and crew who tested negative for COVID-19 from the ship, and repatriate them on chartered aircraft as soon as possible. The ship and its 216 passengers and crew have been at sea since leaving the Argentine port of Ushuaia on 15 March.
United States (Security threat level – 2): On 6 April 2020, South Carolina Gov. Henry McMaster issued a mandatory statewide stay-at-home order in an attempt to slow the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19). The order goes into effect at 1700 local time (2100 UTC) on 7 April and requires residents to remain in their places of residence, except to obtain necessary goods or services, to visit family or to exercise outdoors. In New York — the state with the highest number of confirmed COVID-19 cases and fatalities — Gov. Andrew Cuomo extended the ban on nonessential activities through 29 April. The New York State on PAUSE plan has been in effect since the evening of 22 March. Additionally, the stay-at-home order in Colorado has been extended through 26 April. As of the latest reports, the U.S. has recorded at least 368,500 confirmed cases of COVID-19, with more than 11,000 fatalities; approximately 1,300 of those fatalities occurred on 6 April.
Asia: As of 7 April 2020, governments continue to enact new and extend existing measures in an attempt to limit the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19). Japan declared a state of emergency for seven prefectures, while authorities in Hong Kong and the Philippines extended existing restrictions on entry and movement
On 7 April Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe declared a state of emergency for Chiba, Fukuoka, Hyogo, Kanagawa, Saitama, Osaka and Tokyo prefectures until 6 May. Under the order, residents are requested to remain home except for essential travel for work, medical care or to procure food. While the national government will not enforce movement restrictions, governors of the affected prefectures have the authority to enforce tighter social distancing measures, such as issuing stay-at-home orders and closing commercial businesses. Abe also stated that the government currently has no plans to reduce public transportation services.
Authorities in Hong Kong on 6 April extended indefinitely the closure of Hong Kong International Airport (VHHH/HKG) to foreign nationals. Travelers from mainland China, Macao or Taiwan are required to self-quarantine for 14 days in hotels or at home. However, if arrivals from those three locations traveled overseas within 14 days, they will be denied entry into Hong Kong. Transit flights remain suspended. The government previously banned foreign travelers on 25 March.
In the Philippines, on 6 April President Rodrigo Duterte extended enhanced community quarantine measures on Luzon Island — where Manila is located — until 30 April. The original quarantine order — effective as of 18 March — requires residents to remain in their homes unless carrying out functions essential to the health and well-being of their households. All public transportation services are suspended, and the land, air and sea borders to Luzon are sealed. Nonessential businesses are closed. Hotels and other similar establishments are also closed. Violators of the quarantine face both civil and criminal penalties.
Fiji (Security threat level – 2): According to the Joint Typhoon Warning Center (JTWC) Tropical Cyclone Harold was located approximately 625 km (390 mi) west of Fiji as of 0900 UTC on 7 April 2020, and was moving east-southeast at 28 kph (17 mph). At that time, Harold was generating maximum sustained winds of 204 kph, with gusts of up to 250 kph. On its current path, the storm is expected to pass near Viti Levu Island — where the capital Nadi is located, in the early afternoon hours of 8 April. Authorities issued a tropical cyclone warning for Kadavu and Ono-i-Lau islands, and warned of potential flash floods in areas along Harold’s path.
Europe: As of 7 April 2020, confirmed cases of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) have continued to significantly increase across Europe. At present, there are five countries that have surpassed 50,000 confirmed cases: Spain (140,510), Italy (132,547), Germany (103,375), France (98,984) and the U.K. (52,301). Transportation services continue to be significantly disrupted and lockdowns continue to be extended across the continent as officials attempt to contain COVID-19.
On 7 April Finnish officials announced an extension to border controls to and from the country through 13 May. The extension also included further restrictions on cross-border travel to Norway and Sweden. Travel will be restricted to essential purposes across the borders and those returning will be required to self-quarantine for 14 days.
On 6 April Romanian President Klaus Iohannis announced that he intends to extend the state of emergency by an additional month. The original order — effective beginning on 16 March — banned public gatherings and required citizens to stay at home unless engaging in essential activities such as grocery shopping, going to work, or seeking medical care. The military and police officers are expected to continue enforcing the lockdown.
In Greece, officials lifted quarantines on the villages of Damaskinia and Dragasia in the northern Greek region of Western Macedonia. The quarantines had been in effect since 16 March. Officials stated that the quarantine in the northern village of Echinos will remain in place for at least an additional week.
Additionally, on 6 April Russian officials resumed repatriation flights for Russians overseas. Officials previously suspended all international repatriation flights on 4 April to allow time to review information on Russians requesting repatriation. Officials reported that 26,000 individuals requested flights to return to the country.
Meanwhile, North Macedonian officials expanded curfew in the northern Kumanovo municipality, which includes the city of Kumanovo and surrounding towns. The curfew will be in effect from 1600-0500 local time (1400-0300 UTC) Monday through Friday and travel has been completely banned on Saturday and Sunday. Public transportation to the municipality will continue to remain restricted.
Middle East and North Africa: As of 7 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 Israel, on 7 April the country’s Cabinet approved a nationwide lockdown, which will coincide with the Jewish holiday of Passover. The lockdown includes a ban on intercity travel as of 1900 local time (1600 UTC) on 7 April through 0600 local time on 10 April. Additionally, from 1500 local time on 8 April to 0600 local time on 9 April, a curfew will prohibit people from traveling 100 m (110 yd) from their homes. The number of COVID-19 cases in Israel has exceeded 9,000, and at least one hospital in the hard-hit Tel Aviv suburb of Bnei Barak has no available ventilators.
In Kuwait, on 6 April authorities extended the nationwide nightly curfew and placed two districts under mandatory quarantine, effective immediately and until further notice. The curfew hours are 1700-0600 local time (1400- 0300 UTC). In addition, the districts of Jleeb al-Shuyoukh and Mahboula have been placed under “complete isolation” for a two-week period as of 6 April due to concerns of potential community transmission of COVID-19 among foreign workers residing in the areas. Travel into and out of the districts will be prohibited except for essential services personnel during this period. At present, health officials have recorded at least 665 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Kuwait.
In Saudi Arabia, on 6 April authorities extended the nightly curfew to 24 hours a day and ordered a mandatory quarantine for the cities of Dammam, Dhahran, Hofuf, Riyadh and Tabuk as well as for the governorates of Jeddah, Khobar, Qatif and Taif, effective immediately and until further notice. All travel to and from the areas will be prohibited except for essential services personnel; limited exemptions will be granted for exit on a case-by-case basis for adults only. Within the municipalities, residents have been ordered to remain at home and restrict outside movement to essential activities, such as to procure food and medicine or to seek medical care; residents will be allowed to leave their homes for essential purposes from 0600 -1500 local time Vehicular traffic within residential areas will be restricted to one passenger in addition to the driver at all times. All nonessential businesses have been ordered to close; essential commercial operations such as health care facilities, grocery stores and pharmacies will remain operational. Essential services personnel will be exempt from the restrictions. At present, health officials have recorded at least 2,752 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Saudi Arabia.
In Turkey, officials announced new restrictions on 6 April, mandating all people to wear face masks on public transport, markets and other gathering sites. Vehicular traffic has been limited to essential vehicles only in at least 31 cities. Additionally, officials have waived penalties for travelers who overstay their visas in the country.
Sub-Saharan Africa: As of 7 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 52 out of 54 countries and the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases has surpassed 10,200. In Sub-Saharan Africa, the countries with the largest numbers of confirmed cases include: South Africa (1,749), Cameroon (658), Burkina Faso (364) and Côte d’Ivoire (323). The most recent notable developments in São Tomé e Príncipe, Madagascar, Burundi and Côte d’Ivoire are addressed below.
In São Tomé e Príncipe, authorities recorded four cases of COVID-19 — the first confirmed cases in the country — on 6 April. Following confirmation of the cases, the government suspended air and sea connections with the smaller island Príncipe, an autonomous region of the country. In addition, the government temporarily banned all visits to the sick, the elderly and prisoners, as well as ordered the closure of all restaurants, bars, cafés, pastry shops and street caravans with the exception of those that offer home delivery. São Tomé e Príncipe had previously banned international travelers, closed all schools, canceled all public cultural, recreational, religious, sports and entertainment events, and suspended the issuance of diplomatic and service passports on 20 March. Additionally, returning nationals are required to quarantine for 14 days.
In Madagascar, President Andry Rajoelina has extended the nationwide state of emergency through at least 19 April. The measure includes a nightly curfew from 2000-0500 local time (1700-0200 UTC), during which all non-emergency vehicular traffic is prohibited. Additionally, the Analamanga, Atsinanana and Matsiatra Ambony regions — which include the cities of Antananarivo, Toamasina and Fianarantsoa, respectively — have been placed under lockdown through 19 April. All nonessential vehicular traffic is prohibited in these areas, and travel to and from the three regions is prohibited except for unspecified emergency and cargo transportation. Authorities have ordered residents to remain at home and restrict outside movements to essential activities, such as to procure food and medicine or to seek medical care. Only one resident per household is permitted outside at a time and is required to wear a face mask in public.
In Burundi, the government announced that the existing ban on international commercial flights from Bujumbura’s Melchior Ndadaye International Airport (HBBA/BKM) — the country’s only international airport — will be extended for at least an additional 14 days as of 4 April. The measure initially went into effect on 22 March. Cargo, medical evacuation, humanitarian and diplomatic flights are exempt from the suspension. Currently, Burundi has three confirmed COVID-19 cases.
Meanwhile, in Côte d’Ivoire, on 6 April dozens of protesters gathered near a COVID-19 testing site under construction in the Yopougon area of western Abidjan for a second consecutive day. Disgruntled residents in the area vandalized and attempted to dismantle the site, accusing the government of building the facility in a densely populated area, thereby increasing residents’ perceived risk of exposure to COVID-19. Ministry of Health officials dismissed these claims, stating that the facility will only be used for the testing — rather than the treatment — of COVID-19. Police officers made at least four arrests and fired tear gas to disperse the group; however, there were no reports of injuries.
"Event: Qatar Airways flight April 9, 2020
"We are currently booking passengers on a Qatar Airways flight to the U.S. via Doha on April 9 at 1:15 AM. The Embassy cannot guarantee that future flights will be available.
"The Department of State urges U.S. citizens who live in the United States to arrange for immediate return to the United States unless you are prepared to remain abroad for an indefinite period.
"The Government of Jordan announced on April 4 that borders and airports will remain closed until after Ramadan, which is expected to conclude around May 23.
"If you are a U.S. citizen and you wish to return to the U.S. on the April 9 flight, please click here to complete our travel request form. If you have already filled out a request, do not submit a new request. The Embassy will use information collected in this form to contact U.S. citizens about purchasing a seat."
To read the full text of the alert please click here.
Papua New Guinea (Security threat level – 4): On 7 April 2020, the U.K. Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) updated its travel advice to include the following information regarding COVID-19 in Papua New Guinea:
“Papua New Guinea confirmed its first case of coronavirus (COVID-19) on 20 March. A second case was confirmed in East New Britain on 6 April resulting in a lock down of the province. The Government extended the State of Emergency for two months on 6 April.”