Worldview Security Update – August 21, 2020
21-Aug-20

AMERICAS

Honduras / Mexico / Nicaragua (Security threat levels – 4 / 4 / 4): According to the National Hurricane Center, as of 0800 local time (1200 UTC) on 21 August 2020, Tropical Depression 14 was located approximately 255 km (160 mi) east of Honduras’ Roatán Island and was moving west-northwest at 19 kph (12 mph). At that time, the storm was generating maximum sustained winds of 55 kph with higher gusts. On its current path, the storm is projected to move toward the northern coast of Honduras on 21 August before crossing Mexico’s Yucatán Peninsula on the evening of 22 August. The depression is expected to become a tropical storm later on 21 August and be near or at hurricane strength by the evening of 22 August as it reaches the Yucatán Peninsula. The storm is forecast to drop 75-150 mm (3-6 in) of rain in the eastern areas of the Mexican states of Quintana Roo and Yucatán, with isolated areas receiving as much as 250 mm. Areas in eastern Honduras and the Cayman Islands are projected to receive 50-100 mm of rain, while northeastern Nicaragua is expected to receive 25-50 mm of rain. Tropical storm conditions are expected to affect the Yucatán coast by the afternoon of 22 August.

A Hurricane Watch is in effect from the town of Punta Herrero to Cancun in Mexico. A Tropical Storm Warning is in effect in Nicaragua from the city of Puerto Cabeza northward; in Honduras from the city of Punta Castilla westward and the Bay Islands; and in Mexico from Punta Herrero to Cancun.

Mexico (Security threat level – 4): On the morning of 21 August 2020, authorities in Baja California Sur state warned that additional rainfall in the state following the passage of Hurricane Genevieve could lead to landslides and flooding. The storm brought an estimated 150 liters per sq. m (4 gallons per sq. ft) of rain to coastal areas of the state. While intermittent power outages have affected approximately 80,000 users in Los Cabos, the Federal Electricity Commission estimates that 90% of power will be restored during the morning of 21 August. Military personnel are currently deployed in the cities of Comondú, La Paz and Los Cabos to provide emergency services. Genevieve did not come ashore but produced hurricane conditions for portions of the Baja California Peninsula during 19-20 August before weakening and moving farther west away from the shore.

Puerto Rico (Security threat level – 2): Beginning on 23 August 2020, an island-wide lockdown will be in effect every Sunday until 11 September due to a spike in the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases. As part of the Sunday lockdown, residents can only leave their homes for essential activities such as to procure food or receive medical care. Monday through Saturday, restaurants may open from 0500 to 2200 local time (0900 to 0200 UTC) at 25% capacity. A face mask requirement is in effect for public areas, and residents and commercial entities found violating the mandate are subject to fines of 100 U.S. dollars and 500 U.S. dollars, respectively. Additionally, businesses violating the order must close for 30 days. A nightly curfew from 2200 to 0500 local time remains in effect until further notice.

ASIA

China / Singapore (Security threat levels – 3 / 1): On 21 August 2020, Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam announced that the government will launch a voluntary, free COVID-19 testing scheme on 1 September. Test centers will be established throughout the city and will operate from 0800-2000 local time (0000-1200 UTC). Residents must make appointments online in advance, and are required to provide their name, phone number and identity card number. Individuals who test negative will receive an SMS notification with their results, while health officials will contact those who test positive to discuss treatment and quarantine procedures.

In Singapore, officials announced that beginning on 1 September, travelers from New Zealand and Brunei will no longer be required to self-isolate upon arrival. Instead, they will be required to take a COVID-19 test. If the result is negative, they will be granted entry; if the test is positive, they will be required to undergo treatment and quarantine at their own expense. However, travelers from New Zealand and Brunei must have remained in those locations for 14 consecutive days prior to arrival in Singapore in order to enter. The government also announced that general travel to both countries will be allowed from 1 September.

CARIBBEAN

Caribbean: Shortly before 0900 local time (1300 UTC) on 21 August 2020, Tropical Depression Thirteen strengthened to become Tropical Storm Laura, with maximum sustained winds of 75 kph (45 mph) and higher gusts. As of that time, Laura was located approximately 375 km (230 mi) east-southeast of the northern Leeward Islands and was moving in a westerly direction at a speed of 33 kph. On its current forecast track, the tropical storm will pass near or north of the northern Leeward Islands later on 21 August. The tropical storm will then pass near or north of the British and U.S. Virgin Islands on 22 August, after which it will pass near or north of Hispaniola island — which encompasses Haiti and the Dominican Republic — on the night of 22 August. Laura is forecast to produce 75-150 mm (3-6 in) of rain over Puerto Rico and the British and U.S. Virgin Islands through 23 August. The heavy rainfall could cause flash floods and an increased threat for landslides. An additional 25-75 mm of rain, with isolated maximums of up to 125 mm, is expected in the northern Leeward Islands, the Dominican Republic, Haiti, the Turks and Caicos Islands and southeastern areas of the Bahamas.

A Tropical Storm Watch is currently in effect for the following areas: Anguilla; Antigua and Barbuda; the British and U.S. Virgin Islands; Puerto Rico, Vieques and Culebra; Saba and St. Eustatius; St. Kitts and Nevis; St. Maarten, St. Martin and St. Barthelemy. Areas in southeastern Bahamas and the Turks and Caicos Islands are under the same watch.

EUROPE

Europe: On 20 August 2020, German authorities announced that travelers from Croatia’s Sibenik-Knin and Split-Dalmatia counties are now subject to mandatory COVID-19 tests and quarantines upon arrival until further notice. Separately, officials removed Luxembourg as well as Romania’s Ialomita, Mehedinti and Timis counties from the list of high-risk locations. The full list can be accessed here .
In the U.K., beginning at 0400 local time (0300 UTC) on 22 August, the government will require individuals arriving from Austria, Croatia and Trinidad and Tobago to self-isolate for 14 days upon entry. The requirement is enacted for travelers from countries in which the COVID-19 infection rate exceeds 20 cases per 100,000 people over a seven-day period — the U.K. Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) now advises against all nonessential travel to the three countries. Conversely, those arriving in the U.K. from Portugal will no longer need to self-quarantine and the FCO canceled its advice to avoid nonessential travel to Portugal. Meanwhile, the Scottish government has added Switzerland to the quarantine requirement list.

MIDDLE EAST AND NORTH AFRICA

Egypt / Kuwait (Security threat levels – 4 / 2): On 20 August 2020, officials at EgyptAir — the country’s state-owned flagship carrier — announced that all passengers on domestic and international flights must now present a negative COVID-19 PCR test taken within 72 hours prior to arrival before boarding. The decision is an expansion on rules that previously required only foreign nationals to present a negative PCR test, unless they were flying to Matrouh, Red Sea or South Sinai governorates.

In Kuwait, on 20 August authorities announced that the nationwide nightly curfew will end at 0300 local time (0000 UTC) on 30 August. However, authorities have imposed a ban on social gatherings across the country, including in public and private venues, except for those which only include members of one’s own household.

SUB-SAHARAN AFRICA

Mali (Security threat level – 5) : On 21 August 2020, the National Committee for the Salvation of the People (CNSP) — the ruling military junta — declared the reopening of the country’s borders. The CNSP closed the borders on 18 August following the uprising against former President Ibrahim Boubacar Keita. Despite the announcement, most of Mali’s neighboring countries, in particular the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) — Benin, Burkina Faso, Cabo Verde, Cote d’Ivoire, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone, and Togo — have closed their borders to the country.

GOVERNMENT WARNINGS

Chile (Security threat level – 2): On 19 August 2020, the U.S. Embassy in Santiago issued a Health Alert regarding the Chilean government’s adjustments to coronavirus-related restrictions, which reads in part as follows:
"As of August 19, the Ministry of Health has confirmed 390,037 cases of COVID-19 in Chile. The government of Chile has implemented measures to limit the spread of COVID-19. The following new measures were announced by the Chilean government on August 19:

  • Beginning Friday, August 21, the nightly nationwide curfew will begin an hour later, starting at 11:00 pm
  • The introduction of quarantines for the following comunas (begins Friday, August 21 at 11:00 pm): Ovalle (IV Region), Penco (VIII Region), Tomé (VIII Region), Punta Arenas (X Region) 
  • The upgrading of the following comunas from Phase 3 (Preparation) to Phase 4 (Initial Opening). This phase includes the partial reopening of restaurants, cinemas, and theaters (begins Friday, August 21 at 11:00 pm): Juan Fernández (V Region)
  • The upgrading of the following comunas from Phase 1 (Quarantine) to Phase 2 (Transition). This includes the removal of quarantine from Monday-Friday (begins Friday, August 21 at 11:00 pm): Los Andes (V Region), Peñalolén (RM), San José del Maipo (RM), Padre Hurtado (RM), Peñaflor (RM), Curicó (VII Region)
  • The downgrading of the following comunas from Phase 3 (Preparation) to Phase 2 (Transition). This includes the re-imposition of quarantines on the weekends and holidays (begins Friday, August 21 at 11:00 pm): Concepción (VIII Region), Talcahuano (VIII Region) o Hualpén (VIII Region)

"For a full list of measures implemented by the Chilean government, please visit our Embassy webpage on COVID-19 . This webpage is updated daily, and includes a list of all comunas currently in quarantine.
"For more information on the Chilean government’s “Paso a Paso” program, and what is permitted during each phase, please visit this website (Spanish only)."

Myanmar (Security threat level – 4): On 21 August 2020, the U.K. Foreign and Commonwealth Office update its travel advice regarding quarantine requirements, which reads in part as follows:

“Arrivals in Myanmar must enter government-arranged quarantine. You will be allotted your quarantine facility on arrival. You may have no choice but will be placed in the same government quarantine facility or hotel as all the other people on your flight. You will be provided with food, for which you will be charged.

"The standard quarantine period for new arrivals is 28 days (21 days in a government-arranged facility, followed by 7 days of home quarantine). However, foreign nationals can, through contacting their nearest Myanmar Embassy, request permission to undergo a shorter quarantine period. In this case, the quarantine requirements are as follows:

  • Complete 7 days home quarantine prior to the date of travel. This must be verified by an employer’s or doctor’s declaration, or a self-declaration. During these 7 days you may only leave your place of quarantine to take a COVID test.
  • Provide evidence of a negative COVID test result.
  • Complete 7 days quarantine in a government facility or government approved hotel on arrival in Myanmar (allocated on arrival).
  • Undertake a COVID test after 7 days (through the National Health Laboratory, at a cost is MMK 200,000). If you test negative, you must complete a further 7 days of home quarantine, and will then be able to leave quarantine. If you test positive, you will be transferred to a designated government hospital for COVID patients. You will be required to remain for 28 days in hospital, after which you can leave if you have tested negative for COVID for two consecutive weeks prior.

"The government of Myanmar can extend quarantine periods for a number of reasons, even for those who have been granted permission to undergo a shorter quarantine period. This includes if any person on a flight tests positive for COVID-19.
"If hospitalised with coronavirus, patients are obliged to use a government facility even if they have private insurance. Patients in government hospitals are generally expected to make their own arrangements for bringing in food and other essential supplies. Lone travellers will not be allowed out of isolation to purchase food or make phone calls.

"These arrangements are subject to change and at short notice. Confirmation should be sought from the Myanmar Embassy in London well in advance of your departure."
Pakistan (Security threat level – 5): On 20 August 2020, the U.S. Consulate General in Lahore issued a Security Alert regarding Muharram celebrations, which reads in part as follows:

“Event: Muharram and Ashura.

“The Islamic religious month of Muharram begins on August 21. There will reportedly be approximately 300 religious processions in Lahore during the month of Muharram. August 29 and 30 are expected to be the peak days for processions in Lahore. During this period, U.S. citizens traveling or residing in Lahore can expect frequent traffic disruptions and road closures to accommodate religious processions. Increased police presence, additional check points, and partial suspension of cellular service in and around procession routes are expected.

“U.S. citizens are encouraged to avoid unnecessary travel and avoid large crowds in the vicinity of the Civil Secretariat, Anar Kali, Old Anar Kali, Shadman, Islampura, Shahdara, Badshahi Mosque, Mughalpura, Lal Pull, Bahar Shah Rd., Sanda, Chburchi and the Walled City (Motchi gate, Kashmiri bazar, Kotwali, Rang Mahal, Urdu bazar, Data Darbar and the Lower Mall area) during the August 29-30 time period.

“There have been incidents of sectarian violence in proximity to these processions in the past.”