Worldview Security Update – August 19, 2020
19-Aug-20

AMERICAS

Bahamas (Security threat level – 2): On 18 August 2020, authorities imposed a lockdown on New Providence island, which includes the capital Nassau, and extended an ongoing lockdown on Grand Bahama island until 25 August, due to a rise in the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases on the islands. During this period, individuals may only leave their residences to procure basic necessities such as food and medicine. Essential services, including grocery stores, gas stations, pharmacies and water depots, will continue to operate. International flights and water vessels are not permitted to enter New Providence without permission from relevant officials. Domestic flights between New Providence and other islands are also banned.

Mexico (Security threat level – 4): Hurricane Genevieve weakened into a Category 3 storm on the afternoon of 18 August 2020. As of 0600 local time (1200 UTC) on 19 August, Genevieve was located approximately 260 km (160 mi) south of the southern tip of the Baja California Peninsula, and was traveling north-northwest at 15 kph (9 mph), according to the U.S. National Hurricane Center. At that time, the storm was generating maximum sustained winds of 185 kph, with higher gusts. Genevieve is forecast to remain at its present strength and shift northwest by the afternoon of 19 August, passing southwest of the Baja California Peninsula overnight on 19-20 August. The storm is forecast to produce rainfall between of 50-100 mm (2-4 in), with isolated maximums of up to 150 mm, across southern portions of the Baja California Peninsula. While the storm is not forecast to make landfall, hurricane conditions are possible along a portion of the Baja California Peninsula from Los Barriles to Todos Santos, while tropical storm conditions are expected from Cabo San Lazaro to La Paz. Additionally, 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 20 August.

The Mexican government has issued a Hurricane Watch for the southern Baja California Peninsula from Los Barriles to Todos Santos. A Tropical Storm Warning is in effect from Los Barriles to Puerto Cortes. A Tropical Storm Watch is in effect from Los Barriles to La Paz and from Cabo San Lazaro to Puerto Cortes.

ASIA

China (Security threat level – 3): At approximately 0600 local time on 19 August 2020 (2200 UTC on 18 August), Typhoon Higos made landfall near the city of Zhuhai in Guangdong province. Prior to landfall, approximately 65,000 people were evacuated from the area, and schools and some businesses were closed. In Meizhou, downed trees caused power outages throughout the city. Localized flooding also occurred in areas of Hong Kong. There are no reports of casualties.

EUROPE

France / Finland / Spain (Security threat levels – 3 / 2 / 3): On 19 August 2020, authorities in Finland announced that they will amend travel advisories to several destinations beginning on 24 August due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The destinations include Cyprus, Denmark, Germany, Greece, Iceland, Japan, Norway, Malta and San Marino. From that date onward, authorities advise against all travel to the aforementioned countries and recommend that individuals arriving in Finland from these countries self-quarantine for 14 days. Additionally, inbound travelers with COVID-19 symptoms may be ordered to enter quarantine.

In France, a face mask requirement in areas of central Lyon from 1000-2300 local time (0800-2100 UTC) will be in effect from 22 August until 31 October. In addition, the requirement will be in effect from 1800-0200 local time in areas along the banks of the Saone and Rhone rivers in Lyon.

Multiple cities in Spain are reimposing measures to curb the spread of COVID-19 as the country experiences the most significant increase in infections in Europe during the last 14 days. Officials in the autonomous community of Galicia, located in northwestern Spain, announced on 19 August that health authorities will conduct a large-scale COVID-19 screening of members of the population between the ages of 18 and 40 in the port city of A Coruña. Additionally, officials in the region of Castilla-La Mancha, located in central Spain, quarantined a town in Albacete municipality. Separately, a court endorsed on 18 August a quarantine in the city of Aranda de Duero, located approximately 160 km (100 mi) north of the capital Madrid, until 21 August. Health officials reported 5,114 new infections on 18 August, marking the total number of cases in the country at 364,196.

Germany (Security threat level – 3): On 19 August 2020, prosecutors announced that multiple traffic collisions in southern Berlin caused by one motorist the previous day were being treated as a terrorist attack. During the evening of 18 August, a vehicle collided with at least six vehicles in three separate locations along a portion of the A100 beltway in southern Berlin. According to reports, the suspect appeared to shout an Islamist slogan after one collision and claimed to be carrying explosives as a warning to keep away following another. Authorities responded to the scene and took the man in custody without confrontation; no explosive material was recovered. It remains unknown if the suspect is affiliated with or inspired by any militant groups. The crashes prompted officials to temporarily shut down a portion of the roadway, causing significant traffic disruptions through the evening. At least six people were injured, one of whom suffered life-threatening injuries.

MIDDLE EAST AND NORTH AFRICA

Lebanon (Security threat level – 4): On 18 August 2020, authorities announced plans to impose a nationwide lockdown from 21 August until 6 September amid concerns of a resurgence in COVID-19 infections across the country. The lockdown includes a nightly curfew from 1800 to 0600 local time (1500 to 0300 UTC). Additionally, all nonessential businesses, including bars, cafes, gyms and shopping centers — as well as public spaces such as beaches — will be closed. Grocery stores may operate from 0600 to 1700 local time and restaurants from 0600 to 1800 local time for delivery services only. All public and private gatherings will be prohibited. Beirut International Airport (OLBA/BEY) will remain operational; however, travelers will only be permitted to travel between the airport and their residence or place of accommodation. Essential services personnel, including aid and medical workers — as well as diplomats, journalists and security forces — will be exempt from the restrictions.

SUB-SAHARAN AFRICA

Mali (Security threat level – 5): As of 19 August 2020, the situation in Mali remains volatile following a military uprising and subsequent arrests and resignations of President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita, Prime Minister Boubou Cissé, and several other senior officials, as well as the dissolution of parliament on 18 August. Representatives of the rebellion — the self-designated National Committee for the Salvation of the People — closed the country’s air and land borders and imposed a nationwide nightly curfew from 2100-0500 local time beginning on 19 August until further notice. Previously, the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) condemned the mutiny and suspended Mali from the bloc until constitutional order is restored within the country; the bloc had also closed its land and air borders with Mali on 18 August — including for all economic, commercial and financial transit — and threatened to impose sanctions against the insurrection leaders. The international community, including the U.N., the African Union, the EU, France and the U.S., have likewise condemned the military mutiny.

The process for establishing a replacement government remains unknown and no potential successors to Keita have been put forward. The military appears nominally in charge of the country’s government, but the degree of support for the detained senior leaders currently remains unknown; the possibility of factions developing among the mutineers cannot be ruled out. In a televised speech, leaders of the mutiny called on opposition figures, civil society activists and religious leaders to join discussions over the formation of a transitional governing body as well as subsequent credible and democratic elections. The group also promised to restore stability and hold elections within a “reasonable” time. At present, no opposition groups have indicated their willingness to engage in the proposed discussions, and Keita had previously attempted to offer concessions during anti-government protests that began in June. Despite ongoing uncertainty, a spokesperson for the National Committee for the Salvation of the People stated that all international agreements — including those that allow the United Nations Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA) operation — will be respected.

The June 5 Movement (M5) has called for additional demonstrations to celebrate Keita’s resignation. Although the group denied any involvement in the ongoing situation, M5 had been demanding Keita’s resignation during ongoing, sometimes violent protests since June, and had refused to consider any concessions short of the president leaving office.