Worldview Security Update – August 18, 2020
18-Aug-20

AMERICAS

Mexico (Security threat level – 4): As of 0700 local time (1200 UTC) on 18 August 2020, former Tropical Storm Genevieve has undergone rapid strengthening over the previous 24 hours and is now a Category 4 hurricane, according to the U.S. National Hurricane Center. At that time, Genevieve was located approximately 380 km (235 mi) west-southwest of Manzanillo, Mexico, and was traveling northwest at 26 kph (16 mph). The storm was generating maximum sustained winds of 185 kph, with higher gusts. Genevieve is forecast to strengthen considerably through 18 August and continue along its current track parallel to the southwestern coast of Mexico and the Baja California Peninsula through 20 August. While the storm is not forecast to make landfall, tropical storm conditions are expected over the southern portion of the Baja California Peninsula, including in Cabo San Lucas, by late 19 August or early 20 August. In addition, swells generated by the storm are expected to create hazardous surf and riptide conditions along coastal areas of southwestern Mexico and the Baja California Peninsula through 19 August.

The Mexican government has issued a Tropical Storm warning for the Baja California Peninsula from Los Barriles to Todos Santos. A Tropical Storm watch is in effect from Los Barriles north to La Paz and from Todos Santos north to Santa Fe.

ASIA

Asia / Australasia: As of 18 August 2020, government throughout the Asia-Pacific region continue to amend coronavirus-related restrictions in an attempt to limit the spread of the disease. In Australia’s Victoria state, authorities closed the state borders through 1 December. In the Philippines, Metro Manila and four provinces will transition to a general community quarantine (GCQ). Similarly, authorities in the Indian state of Bihar extended statewide restrictions through 6 September. Additionally, the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS) announced that air crew of Singapore-based airlines arriving from most destinations will be required to take a COVID-19 test upon return.

In Australia, on 18 August the premier of Tasmania state extended the state’s border closure until at least 1 December. The state’s borders were initially scheduled to reopen to travelers from select Australian states beginning on 7 August before authorities delayed the reopening until 31 August. State officials also plan to revise their classifications of essential travelers in the coming days. Essential travelers are permitted to enter Tasmania without having to undergo a 14-day mandatory self-quarantine, and officials have indicated that the revised list will further restrict those eligible to enter without being subject to quarantine.

In the Philippines, Metro Manila and the provinces of Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna and Rizal will be under general community quarantine (GCQ) from 19-31 August. Under the GCQ, a nightly curfew from 2200 to 0500 local time (1400 to 2100 UTC) will be in effect, during which residents may only leave their homes in an emergency. Outside of curfew hours, residents may only leave their homes to procure essential goods and services, or to work at approved offices. Those under 21 years of age or over 60 years of age must remain at home at all times. Government offices remain operational and shopping centers may operate; however, amusement, fitness and gaming establishments are closed. Mass gatherings are banned. Public transportation operates at a reduced capacity. Face masks are mandatory in most public areas; commuters aboard public transportation must wear a face mask as well as a face shield.

In India, on 17 August authorities in Bihar extended statewide coronavirus-related restrictions through 6 September. Under the order, a nightly curfew is in effect from 2200-0500 local time (1630-2330 UTC). Places of worship, entertainment venues and educational institutions will remain closed. Additionally, interdistrict and interstate bus services remain suspended.

On 17 August the Civil Aviation Authority of Singapore (CAAS) announced that beginning on 20 August crew members of Singapore-based carriers will be required to undergo COVID-19 polymerase chain reaction (PCR) testing after returning from international trips. However, crew members who are returning from China, South Korea, Taiwan and Australia, except for Victoria state, are exempt from the requirement. Crew members aboard short turnaround flights are currently prohibited from exiting the aircraft, except to conduct safety inspections, and must wear face masks and face shields at all times. Crew members with stopovers in Singapore are only allowed to travel to their accommodations via prearranged transportation.

Philippines (Security threat level – 4): At 0803 local time (0003 UTC) on 18 August 2020, a 6.7 magnitude earthquake struck in the Samar Sea approximately 50 km (30 mi) west of Calbayog City, and 190 km north of Cebu City, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. The quake registered an approximate depth of 10 km. Strong shaking occurred in coastal communities near the epicenter while moderate shaking was reported in Cebu City, Iriga City, Leyte Island and Naga City as well as in Iloilo City, located about 250 km away; moderate to light shaking was reported in most of the neighboring islands. At least one person was killed in the town of Cataingan when his home collapsed, and 16 others were injured. In addition, at least 27 people were injured in the nearby town of Palanas. A number of buildings and roadways in the area sustained light to moderate damage.

EUROPE

Italy / Switzerland (Security threat levels – 3 / 2): On 16 August 2020, Italian authorities mandated the use of face masks in all outdoor spaces between the hours of 1800-0600 local time (1600-0400 UTC) and closed nightclubs. These are the first new restrictions due to a recent rise in cases of COVID-19. The countrywide lockdown ended in May.

On 18 August Swiss authorities announced the addition of Albania, Belgium, Malta, India and Spain’s Balearic Islands to Switzerland’s mandatory quarantine list. As of 20 August, travelers from these locations are required to quarantine for 10 days upon arrival in Switzerland. Additionally, authorities removed Serbia and Singapore from the list.

MIDDLE EAST AND NORTH AFRICA

Lebanon (Security threat level – 4): On 17 August 2020, officials extended Beirut’s existing state of emergency until at least 18 September. Previously, the government had stated that the measure would be in place until at least 13 September. The military is reportedly enforcing various restrictions under the state of emergency, including neighborhood isolations and stay-at-home orders aimed at curbing the spread of COVID-19. Officials have recently registered a sharp increase in COVID-19 cases in Lebanon, with a record 456 new cases registered on 17 August.

SUB-SAHARAN AFRICA

Ghana / Nigeria (Security threat levels – 3 / 5): On 17 August 2020, Ghana President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo announced that the country’s borders will reopen on 1 September. The Ministry of Aviation, the Ghana Civil Aviation Authority, the Ghana Airports Co. Ltd. and the Ministry of Health are reportedly working together to assess readiness to reopen and implement necessary measures to do so. Borders have been closed since March in order to curb the spread of COVID-19. Other restrictions, including the closure of beaches, pubs, theaters and nightclubs, remain in effect until further notice.

In Nigeria, the government announced plans to resume international commercial flights beginning on 29 August. According to the Ministry of Aviation, international operations will be permitted to resume at Lagos’ Murtala Muhammed International Airport (DNMM/LOS) and Abuja’s Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport (DNAA/ABV). Previously, authorities had stated that operations would be permitted to resume on 19 August.

Mali (Security threat level – 5): On 18 August 2020, unidentified elements within the military reportedly took control of an army base in Kati, a garrison town located approximately 15 km (9 mi) northwest of the capital Bamako, and arrested several senior military officers. A military spokesperson confirmed that shots were fired at the Kati barrack but provided no additional details. Armored tanks and military vehicles have occupied the streets of Kati and entry and exits into the town are blocked. Meanwhile, an official at the Ministry of Internal Security confirmed the arrests of high-ranking officials. Unconfirmed reports state that the military’s chief of general staff, the minister of foreign affairs and finance and the speaker of the National Assembly were among those arrested. Furthermore, gunfire was reportedly heard near the prime minister’s office in Bamako. A French military source stated that discussion between Mali’s army command and the unidentified elements within the military that perpetrated the arrests are currently ongoing. Government employees and the Office of Radio and Television of Mali (ORTM) reportedly began evacuating Bamako in light of the unrest, and President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita has reportedly been relocated to a secure location.

Several Western governments, including the embassies of France, Norway and Spain warned their respective citizens to avoid the conflict and to stay home if possible. Additionally, the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUMSA) advised U.N. personnel to avoid the Kati zone and unnecessary road travel in Bamako until further notice. The army base in Kati — where the alleged mutiny began — was the site of the 2012 mutiny that led to a coup d’état and ousting of former President Amadou Toumani Toure. Separately, disruptive protests calling for the resignation of President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita have been ongoing in Bamako since June. Although it remains unknown whether the protests — organized by the June 5 Movement (M5) — have any link to the ongoing unrest, reports indicate that several hundred protesters are currently gathered in Bamako for a previously scheduled demonstration. The situation in Mali remains volatile due to both the ongoing unrest and M5 protests.

GOVERNMENT WARNINGS

Chad (Security threat level – 5): On 17 August 2020, the U.K. Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) issued updated travel advice regarding curfew hours in select provinces, which reads in part as follows:

“The Government has introduced a curfew from 11pm to 5am in 6 provinces (Guera, Kanem, Logone Occidental, Logone Oriental, May-Kebbi Ouest, Mayo-Kebbi Est) and the capital N’Djamena, and declared a health emergency restricting movement and public gatherings throughout the country.”

Denmark (Security threat level – 2): On 18 August 2020, the U.K. Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) issued updated travel advice for Denmark, which reads in part as follows:

“From 22 August, you must wear a face mask on public transport, including taxis and ferries. Check the Danish Health Authority’s FAQ of other situations when to use a face mask.” 

Honduras (Security threat level – 4): On 17 August 2020, the U.S. Embassy in Tegucigalpa issued updated information regarding entry and exit requirements at airports in Honduras, which reads in part as follows:

“Effective August 17, airports have resumed international commercial flights with additional biosecurity measures. All travelers entering or exiting Honduras are subject to the following requirements.

“Entering Honduras:

  • Passengers must provide negative COVID-19 test results prior to travel. Travelers must hand-carry the negative test results for a PCR or rapid test taken less than 72 hours before entry into Honduras. Passengers must show the test results at check-in.
  • All travelers must complete the immigration precheck form at https://prechequeo.inm.gob.hn . Travelers must answer all immigration, customs, and health screening questions to receive a confirmation email. Travelers must print and carry this email with them.

“Exiting Honduras:

  • All travelers must complete the immigration precheck form at https://prechequeo.inm.gob.hn . Travelers must answer all immigration, customs, and health screening questions to receive a confirmation email. Travelers must print and carry this email with them.
  • There is no COVID-19 test requirement to leave Honduras.”

The full text of the alert is available here .