Worldview Security Update – August 12, 2020
12-Aug-20

AMERICAS

Chile / Lesser Antilles / Panama (Security threat levels – 2 / 1 / 3): On 12 August 2020, health officials in Chile stated that they are evaluating whether the capital Santiago and its adjacent community Estación Central — which have recorded the fewest number of COVID-19 cases in the country this week — will enter the government’s multi-stage reopening plan. Both communities have remained under quarantine for more than 100 days. Health officials note that both communities have large transitory populations, a situation that makes any future decisions in their regard vital to curbing the spread of COVID-19 in other Chilean communities.

In Lesser Antilles, Antigua and Barbuda’s minister of health warned on 11 August that inbound travelers may be denied entry into the country if they do not have proof of a negative COVID-19 RT-PCR test taken within seven days prior to their flight. This requirement also applies to transit passengers. Additional measures are in place at airports, including temperature screenings and travel history checks as well as the completion of a Health Declaration Form. 

In Panama,  the minister of health announced on 11 August that barber shops, beauty salons, retail establishments, some public and private construction companies, and vehicle sales lots will be allowed to resume services beginning on 17 August. Retail establishments will only be allowed to provide curbside and door service, while beauty salons and barber shops must operate at 50% capacity. Construction projects that will be allowed to resume include bridges, roads and the Tocumen International Airport (MPTO/PTY) expansion project. Movement restrictions based on gender and identification numbers remain in place, and a 24-hour weekend curfew for the provinces of Panama and Panama Oeste remains in effect. Similarly, a weekday curfew from 1900 until 0500 (0000 UTC until 1000) is also in effect. 

United States (Security threat level – 2): On 11 August 2020, officials in the northeastern states of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut declared that inbound travelers to the tri-state area from the states of Washington, New Mexico, Rhode Island, Ohio and Alaska are no longer required to self-quarantine for 14 days upon entry. Conversely, travelers from the U.S. Virgin Islands, South Dakota and Hawaii are now required to observe the self-quarantine period. Currently, 31 states — as well as Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands — are designated as high-risk locations for COVID-19 transmission. Additional guidance regarding the COVID-19 Travel Advisory issued by the New York state government, which contains a list of designated locations, is available here .

ASIA

India (Security threat level – 3): At approximately 1900 local time (1330 UTC) on 11 August 2020, violent protests broke out in the eastern Kaval Byrasandra area of Bengaluru (Bangalore), the state capital of Karnataka. Police officers deployed live ammunition, tear gas and baton charges to disperse several thousand demonstrators after they set fire to vehicles outside the DJ Halli police station as well as a legislator’s home. Demonstrators initially gathered at – and vandalized — the home of a legislator whose relative allegedly made a social media post that protesters believed was insulting to the Prophet Mohamed. Protesters then marched to the DJ Halli police station to demand that police officials arrest the man who had made the social media post. The demonstrators also reportedly damaged shops in Pulakeshinagar, Bharatinagar, Commercial Street and Tannery Road areas. Authorities imposed a curfew in the immediate area of the rioting and limited the number of people allowed at public gatherings. Police officers had the situation under control by 0000 local time on 12 August. At least three people were killed in the violence and 60 police officers were injured. Authorities arrested 149 people.

EUROPE

Belarus (Security threat level – 3): During the evening of 11 August 2020, hundreds of demonstrators gathered in at least 25 cities, including Brest, Grodno and the capital Minsk, to protest the results of the 9 August presidential election for a third consecutive night. Police officers deployed tear gas, rubber bullets and stun grenades to disperse demonstrators in Minsk. Multiple video reports showed police detaining demonstrators and attacking residents, journalists and cars near protest sites. Security personnel quickly broke up gatherings and did not allow demonstrators into the city’s central squares. Authorities also conducted arrests at Pushkinskaya metro station, the site of a demonstrator’s death on 10 August and a central rallying point for protesters. In Brest, officers used live fire against protesters, wounding one person.

Authorities have detained at least 6,000 people nationwide, including 1,000 people, during the night of 11 August, since the demonstrations began on 9 August. More than 200 people have been severely injured in ensuing violence. Internet services across the country have been disrupted during the demonstrations.

United Kingdom (Security threat level – 3): At approximately 0940 local time (0840 UTC) on 12 August 2020, a passenger train traveling from Aberdeen to Glasgow derailed near Carmont village, located nearly 8 km (5 mi) from the city of Stonehaven. The ScotRail train, with 12 people on board, was returning to Stonehaven after encountering a landslide. The train then reportedly hit another landslide and three passenger carriages of the six-car train left the track and skidded down an embankment. Images showed huge plumes of smoke rising from the crash site after at least one of the carriages caught fire. The operator was killed in the crash and there were reports of other serious injuries; additional fatalities are likely. Approximately 30 emergency vehicles, including air ambulances, were deployed to rescue those involved in the crash. Heavy rainfall in Stonehaven and elsewhere in Scotland overnight on 11-12 August has caused significant flash floods and mudslides.

MIDDLE EAST AND NORTH AFRICA

Jordan / United Arab Emirates (Security threat levels – 3 / 2): On 12 August 2020, Jordanian officials announced that the border crossing with Syria will be closed from 13 to 20 August, after authorities traced a spike in COVID-19 cases to individuals crossing the border.

Meanwhile, on 12 August United Arab Emirates authorities lifted a requirement for returning residents to apply for a resident entry permit from the General Directorate of Residency and Foreigners Affairs (GDRFA) or the Federal Authority for Identity and Citizenship (ICA) before entering the country. However, returning residents must submit a negative COVID-19 PCR test before boarding their flights to the country and may be subject to additional testing and self-quarantine upon arrival.

SUB-SAHARAN AFRICA

Niger (Security threat level – 5): On 11 August 2020, authorities instituted a state of emergency for the Tillabéri region — which surrounds but does not include the capital, Niamey — and suspended access to the Kouré Giraffe Reserve, located approximately 60 km (35 mi) southeast of Niamey. The decision follows an attack by unknown assailants in which six French nationals and two local nationals were killed at the Kouré reserve on 9 August. The state of emergency allows authorities to impose curfews and also bans the use of motorcycles — a common mode of transport that was used during the 9 August attack. Niamey is not under the state of emergency. A previous state of emergency only encompassed regions of Tillabéri to the north and west of the capital.

South Sudan (Security threat level – 5): During the weekend of 8-9 August 2020, security forces and armed civilians engaged in gunbattles in Tonj county in Warrap (Warab) State — located approximately 675 km (420 mi) northwest of the capital Juba — during a disarmament exercise. The conflict began when armed youths from Greater Tanj engaged security forces as the latter attempted to collect weapons from the populace. At least 127 individuals were killed, including 45 security personnel and 82 civilians, and 32 security personnel were wounded.

Analyst Comment: Residents in Warrap are unlikely to disarm without assurances from the government that security forces will protect the population as well as prevent attacks against cattle herds and stem cattle rustling. Cattle herding is the primary source of income for most residents in the region.

GOVERNMENT WARNINGS

Burkina Faso (Security threat level – 4) : On 11 August 2020, the U.S. Embassy in Ouagadougou issued an alert that reads in part as follows:

"The three-year anniversary of the August 13th attack on a popular restaurant in Ouagadougou is this Thursday.

"U.S. Embassy Ouagadougou reminds all American citizens that security measures in Burkina Faso remain heightened due to crime and ongoing threats posed by transnational terrorist organizations and individuals inspired by extremist ideology throughout Africa.

"Terrorist organizations may attempt to conduct attacks on anniversaries or other dates they deem historically significant or symbolic. Extremists continue to focus on security forces personnel and infrastructure, as well as civilians and places of gathering. This includes, but is not limited to, places of worship, schools, markets, restaurants, etc."

Philippines (Security threat level – 4): On 11 August 2020, the U.K. Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) issued an update regarding the use of face shields aboard public transportation, which reads in part as follows:

“From 15 August, the wearing of face shields while on public transport is mandatory. This includes but is not limited to trains, buses, jeepneys, taxis, boats and ships. The order also includes aeroplanes. You should check with your airline in advance whether they will provide a shield or whether you need to bring your own. Luzon (Batangas), Visayas – Region 7, Cebu City, Lapu-Lapu and Mandaue as well as the municipalities of Consolacion and Minglanilla in Cebu Province and Zamboanga within Mindanao are subject to General Community Quarantine (GCQ) until 15 August.”