Worldview Security Update – April 8, 2020
8-Apr-20

AMERICAS

Americas: As of 8 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 (14,152), Chile (5,116) and Ecuador (3,995). Significant developments in Anguilla, the Bahamas, Chile, Costa Rica, Peru, Trinidad and Tobago, and Venezuela are outlined below.

On 6 April the government of Anguilla banned all ships from operating in the territory’s waters to prevent individuals infected with COVID-19 from illegally entering the country. Security forces and cargo vessels are exempt from the ban. All of Anguilla’s air and sea ports remain closed to all passenger movements until 21 April.

In the Bahamas, a new nationwide lockdown takes effect from 2100 local time on 8 April (0100 UTC on 9 April) until 0500 local time on 14 April. Essential businesses, including all supermarkets, farmers’ markets, banks, pharmacies and gas stations, will be required to close until 14 April. Medical facilities, security services, utility services and media companies are exempt from the order. After the lockdown expires, a 24-hour curfew will be reintroduced, which allows essential businesses to resume operations. However, subsequent lockdowns — which require essential businesses to close — will occur every Friday from 2100 local time until 0500 local time on Mondays through the end of April.

In Chile, on 8 April authorities began requiring passengers to wear face masks at Santiago International Airport (SCEL/SCL) — located approximately 15 km (9 mi) northwest of the capital Santiago. The order applies to passengers boarding an aircraft as well as individuals on official airport buses, transfers and taxis. Additionally, the mandatory use of face masks applies to all individuals traveling in public transportation such as buses, metros and trains.

In Costa Rica, authorities extended the existing entry ban on non-resident foreign nationals until 30 April. Citizens, residents and tourists may still leave the country, but will not be readmitted until at least 1 May. Foreign nationals who enter the country illegally during this period will have their residency status revoked. The restrictions were previously scheduled to expire on 13 April.

In Peru, a nationwide 24-hour curfew will go into effect from 9-10 April. President Martín Vizcarra stated that the measure is intended to prevent crowds during the Easter holidays. Residents will not be allowed to leave their homes, and all businesses will be closed. Security forces will enforce the curfew.

In Trinidad and Tobago, on 6 April Prime Minister Keith Rowley extended the nationwide stay-at-home order until 30 April. The previous order was due to expire on 15 April. All restaurants have been ordered to close until 30 April, while businesses — such as supermarkets, farmers’ markets, bakeries, pharmacies, wholesale stores and hardware stores — are allowed to operate for limited hours. Additionally, all persons are now required to wear masks to cover their mouths and noses while in public places.

On 7 April the Venezuelan government imposed a nightly curfew from 1600-1000 local time (2000-1400 UTC) in the towns of San Antonio del Táchira and Ureña, located along the border with Colombia, to control the flow of Venezuelan nationals returning to the country due to the COVID-19 outbreak. Furthermore, all individuals entering Venezuela will be tested for COVID-19 and required to comply with a mandatory 14-day self-quarantine. Officials stated that they expect thousands of Venezuelans to return to the country due to the outbreak.

United States (Security threat level – 2): As of 8 April 2020, confirmed cases of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) and resulting fatalities continue to increase rapidly in the U.S., particularly in the northeastern region of the country. In New Jersey, Gov. Phil Murphy extended the statewide public health emergency on 7 April for an additional 30 days. A stay-at-home order, except for essential purposes — such as to procure food and medicine, or travel to workplaces deemed critical — has been in effect in the state since 21 March and residents have since been strongly urged to avoid all nonessential travel from 2000-0500 local time (0000-0900 UTC). New York continues to lead the country in the number of COVID-19 cases; at least 731 individuals in the state succumbed to the disease over a 24-hour period on 6-7 April. Meanwhile, in California — the state with the highest number of COVID-19 cases and fatalities in the western region — the mayor of Los Angeles issued an order on 7 April that requires patrons and workers in essential businesses, such as grocery stores and pharmacies, to wear cloth face coverings to curb the transmission of COVID-19. As of the latest reports, more than 400,000 individuals in the U.S. have contracted COVID-19 and there have been approximately 13,000 fatalities; more than 1,800 of those fatalities were recorded on 7 April.

ASIA

Asia: As of 8 April 2020, restrictions on movement remain in place throughout Asia due to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic. In Japan, the governors of Kyoto and Okinawa prefectures advised residents to limit movements. In Wuhan, China — the original epicenter of the COVID-19 outbreak — authorities lifted movement restrictions. Authorities in Mumbai, India, are expected to extend lockdown measures scheduled to end on 14 April.

In Japan, the governors of Kyoto and Okinawa prefectures on 8 April issued advisories for residents to remain at home unless visiting medical institutions, grocery shopping, or engaging in activities deemed necessary. All commercial establishments in the prefectures remain open and fully operational. Kyoto and Okinawa prefectures were not included in Prime Minister Abe Shinzo’s state of emergency declared on 7 April.

In China, at 0000 local time on 8 April (1600 UTC on 7 April) authorities lifted the lockdown imposed in the city of Wuhan, which allows residents to freely travel outside of the city. Other public health measures, such as temperature checks, remain in place throughout the city, and most businesses have yet to resume operations. Additionally, Wuhan Tianhe Airport International Airport (ZHHH/WUH) reopened for domestic commercial flights.

In Mumbai, India, authorities are expected to extend lockdown measures beyond the initial end date of 14 April. The most recent reports indicate that the city has at least 782 confirmed cases of COVID-19, including 50 deaths.

AUSTRALASIA

Fiji (Security threat level – 2): As of 0900 UTC on 8 April 2020, Tropical Cyclone Harold was located approximately 225 km (140 mi) southeast of Suva, the capital, and was moving east-southeast at 40 kph (25 mph), according to the Joint Typhoon Warning Center (JTWC). At that time, Harold was generating maximum sustained winds of 138 kph, with gusts of up to 167 kph. On its current path, Harold will pass near Tonga by 1800 UTC before continuing into the South Pacific Ocean, where it is forecast to begin dissipating by 10 April.

As Harold passed Viti Levu, Fiji’s largest island, it caused significant damage and flooding on the island. Strong winds destroyed at least nine homes in Nasinu, which is located approximately 10 km northeast of Suva. Streets throughout Suva were closed due to flooding, and power outages occurred across Viti Levu. However, there were no reported casualties in Suva or elsewhere on Viti Levu. Authorities were attempting to reestablish communication links with the worst-affected Kadavu Island, which is situated approximately 90 km south of Viti Levu.

EUROPE

Europe: As of 8 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 (146,690), Italy (135,586), France (110,070), Germany (107,663) and the U.K. (55,957). Transportation services continue to be significantly disrupted and restrictions continue to be extended across the continent as officials attempt to contain COVID-19.

On 7 April Bulgarian officials implemented additional restrictions on foreign nationals entering the country. Officials had already banned all non-EU residents as of 20 March, but the new restrictions also ban citizens of Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Spain, Switzerland and the U.K. Exemptions to the ban include permanent residents, health care workers and cargo transporters. EU member citizens, permanent residents of the EU and citizens of Montenegro, Northern Macedonia, Serbia and Turkey will be allowed to transit through the country.

Additionally, German officials announced a further restriction on travelers as of 10 April. The new restriction mandates a 14-day quarantine upon arrival to the country. Health care workers from border areas and business travelers entering the country for a short period of time will be exempt from the new measure.

In France, officials implemented the issuance of a travel certificate for individuals entering the country. Previously, a certificate was required for domestic travel, but the new document declaring travel motivations will be needed at the border or prior to boarding an aircraft, ferry or train en route to the country. The document will be required for all travelers who are exempt from previous restrictions, which include French citizens, permanent residents, health care professionals, cargo transporters and travelers transiting through the country.

Meanwhile, other governments in Europe have extended existing travel restrictions and warnings. In Denmark, officials extended border closures through 10 May, with exceptions for permanent residents, foreign nationals who work within the country and cargo transporters. The restrictions also canceled all large events through 31 August. In Sweden, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs extended its recommendation against nonessential travel to all countries through 15 June. Additionally, the Czech Republic and Latvia extended state of emergency declarations through 30 April and 12 May, respectively.

MIDDLE EAST AND NORTH AFRICA

Middle East and North Africa: As of 8 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 Egypt, on 7 April the governor of Giza governorate announced a lockdown on the village of Al-Muatamadeyah, located just west of the capital Cairo — which will remain in place until at least 21 April. While there are no expressed exceptions to the lockdown, Egyptian government officials have pledged to provide essential goods, such as food and infant formula for residents of the village, as well as medical transport for sick patients.

In Iraq, health officials announced on 7 April an extension to the existing curfew that will remain in place until at least 18 April. Officials also promised financial assistance to individuals suffering economically from the curfew, which has been in place since 16 March.

In Israel, on 8 April security forces publicly announced Operation Protected Spring to enforce the Passover lockdown, in place from 1500 local time (1200 UTC) on 8 April to 0700 local time on 9 April. Other restrictions — including a ban on intercity travel — went into effect as of 1600 local time on 7 April and will remain in place through 0600 local time on 10 April.

SUB-SAHARAN AFRICA

Sub-Saharan Africa: As of 8 April 2020, governments continue to implement 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 10,800. In Sub-Saharan Africa, the countries with the largest numbers of confirmed cases include the following: South Africa (1,749), Cameroon (685), Burkina Faso (384) and Côte d’Ivoire (349). The most recent notable developments in Ethiopia and Kenya are addressed below.

In Ethiopia, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed declared a nationwide state of emergency on 8 April, citing a rapid increase in the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the country. Ahmed stated that additional measures and restrictions will follow in the coming days as part of the emergency declaration. Ethiopia’s air and land borders have remained closed since 23 March. A number of cities and regional state governments have also closed borders and placed various restrictions on transportation, including in the federally administered city Dire Dawa, as well as in the following regional states: Afar; Oromia; Somali; Southern Nations, Nationalities, and Peoples’ Region (SNNPR); and Tigray. Health officials have confirmed at least 52 COVID-19 cases in Ethiopia to date.

In Kenya, the Health Ministry extended quarantine periods for those in government-run facilities with suspected COVID-19 cases by an additional 14 days, regardless of whether each individual tested positive. Approximately 2,000 people who entered the country between 22-25 March — before international flights were banned — were initially subject to a mandatory two-week quarantine. An unknown number of people were previously released from the government-run facilities, with orders to self-isolate at home. Individuals who remain in government-run quarantines are also required to pay for their own accommodation at the facilities. Currently, there are 179 confirmed COVID-19 cases in Kenya.

GOVERNMENT WARNINGS

Lebanon (Security threat level – 4): On 7 April 2020, the U.K. Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) issued an update to its travel advice for Lebanon to include the following:

"There are a limited number of seats available on an exceptional Middle East Airlines (MEA) commercial flight from Beirut to London on 9th April at 13:25 (local time) for British Nationals wishing to return to the UK.

"If you wish to travel on this flight, please contact MEA to book your ticket. This can be done via the telephone on +961 1 629 999 or on the internet at www.mea.com.lb. Please do not contact the British Embassy to reserve your flight. <>

"Once you have booked your ticket, please send a scan or clear photograph of the photo page of your British passport, along with a copy of your booking confirmation, to the Embassy using the following email address beirut.consular@fco.gov.uk. Please book your flight and send the requested information to the Embassy by no later than 14:00 on Wednesday 8 April."