Worldview Security Update – August 26, 2020
26-Aug-20

AMERICAS

British Virgin Islands (Security threat level – 1): On 26 August 2020, authorities imposed a nationwide nightly 1700-0500 local time (2100-0900 UTC) curfew until 9 September in an effort to contain the spread of COVID-19. During the first seven days of the curfew, only essential services will be allowed to operate, including supermarkets, pharmacies, banks, gas stations and medical services. Additionally, the ferry service to the island of Anegada is suspended during the entire curfew period.

United States (Security threat level – 2): On 25 August 2020, demonstrators gathered for a third consecutive day in front of the Kenosha County Courthouse in Kenosha, Wisconsin, a city located approximately 40 mi (65 km) south of Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Demonstrations earlier in the day were largely peaceful and dispersed just prior to the previously imposed 2000 local time (0100 UTC on 26 August) curfew. At 2100 local time, police officers deployed pepper balls in an attempt to disperse remaining demonstrators. Protesters launched fireworks at police officers and attempted to push over a fence in front of the courthouse. Subsequently, police officers deployed tear gas and drove an armored vehicle into the crowd to disperse the protest, driving the crowd toward Sheridan Road.

At approximately 2345 local time, an armed individual shot and killed two people and wounded another along Sheridan Road near the site of the protests. Reports indicate that the assailant engaged in an argument with some demonstrators prior to the shooting. Authorities are still searching for the shooter. Since local protests began, armed groups — what police officials have described as “vigilante militia” — have appeared in the city claiming their intention is to protect local businesses from damage and looting. The Kenosha County Sheriff stated that he was unsure whether the suspect was linked to any such group.

Elsewhere, confrontations occurred at anti-racism protests occurred in Portland, Oregon, and Louisville, Kentucky, during the evening of 25 August without reports of casualties at either event. Police officers arrested at least 64 people in Louisville.

United States (Security threat level – 2): As of 0700 local time (1200 UTC) on 26 August 2020, Hurricane Laura was located approximately 280 mi (450 km) south-southeast of Lake Charles, Louisiana, and about 290 mi southeast of Galveston, Texas, according to the U.S. National Hurricane Center. At that time, the storm was moving northwest at 15 mph (24 kph) and was generating maximum sustained winds of 115 mph (185 kph) with higher gusts. Laura, currently a Category 3 storm, is forecast to intensify into a Category 4 storm prior to landfall.

On its current path, the storm is projected to make landfall along the Texas-Louisiana border overnight on 26-27 August. During 26-29 August, Laura is expected to produce 5-10 in (125-255 mm) of rainfall with isolated maximums of 15 inches across parts of the northwestern Gulf Coast from western Louisiana to eastern Texas and into much of Arkansas. Widespread flash flooding and isolated river flooding is expected along with a dangerous storm surge. Swells generated by the storm are currently creating hazardous surf conditions from the west coast of Florida to Louisiana and are forecast to reach the Texas coast and northeastern Mexico later on 26 August. Tornados are likely on 26 August in Louisiana, southeast Texas and southwestern Mississippi, and additional tornados are possible on 27 August in Louisiana, Arkansas and western Mississippi.

In Texas, authorities in the cities of Galveston and Port Arthur have issued mandatory evacuation orders, as have officials in Orange County and Jefferson County, areas encompassing more than 385,000 residents. Brazoria and Chambers counties have issued voluntary evacuation orders, along with the cities of Seabrook, Nassau, and Baytown. In Louisiana, the parishes of Calcasieu, Cameron, Grand Isle, Jefferson, Lafourche, Port Fourchon and Terrebone issued mandatory evacuation orders for all or part of their respective populaces. The parishes of Acadia, Baytown, Beauregard, Iberia, Jefferson, Lafayette, Orleans, St. Landry, St. Martin and St. Mary have issued voluntary evacuation orders.

ASIA

North Korea / South Korea (Security threat levels – 3 / 2): As of 0900 UTC on 26 August 2020, Typhoon Bavi was located approximately 325 km (205 mi) southwest of Kunsan, South Korea, and was moving north at 22 kph (14 mph), according to the Joint Typhoon Warning Center. At that time, Bavi was generating maximum sustained winds of 175 kph, with gusts of up to 213 kph. On its current path, the storm is now forecast to make landfall in North Korea’s North Pyongan province on 27 August and forecast to produce heavy rainfall in the western areas of the country, including the capital Pyongyang. On South Korea’s Jeju island, winds from Bavi toppled trees, ripped off signboards and knocked down a traffic sign. Authorities canceled more than 330 flights at Jeju International Airport (RKPC/CJU) ahead of the storm. Typhoon warnings are in effect for most of the country. The capital Seoul is also expected to receive heavy rainfall and potentially damaging winds.

South Korea (Security threat level – 2): On 26 August 2020, thousands of doctors affiliated with the Korean Medical Association (KMA) and the Korean Intern Resident Association (KIRA) began a three-day strike to protest government plans to reform the country’s health sector. At least 3,549 health clinics out of 32,787 nationwide were closed, and several hospitals in Seoul reduced their hours and delayed pre-scheduled surgeries. Despite the strike, COVID-19 patients are receiving care. Authorities have ordered the doctors to return to work, and those failing to comply risk losing their licenses and face fines of up to 30 million South Korean won (25,250 U.S. dollars) or a three-year prison sentence. It remains unknown how many doctors complied with the order.

EUROPE

Sweden (Security threat level – 2): Sweden’s Foreign Ministry is set to lift its advisory against nonessential travel to Bulgaria, the Netherlands and Romania starting on 27 August 2020. Additionally, the ministry extended its recommendation to avoid all non-essential travel to other EU and Schengen Area countries with high rates of COVID-19 until 9 September and to countries outside of the EU and Schengen Area until 15 November. A full list of designated locations can be found here .

MIDDLE EAST AND NORTH AFRICA

Iraq (Security threat level – 5): On 26 August 2020, unidentified militants attacked a convoy carrying employees of the U.N. Assistance Mission in Iraq (UNAMI), using an improvised explosive device (IED). The attack occurred near the remote village of Shakhouli, located on the road between the cities of Erbil and Mosul. The explosion injured two UNAMI employees, with no reported fatalities. No group has claimed responsibility for the attack. It is not clear if the UNAMI convoy was the intended target of the attack.

Analyst Comment: While IED attacks occur frequently in Iraq, attacks on U.N. personnel are exceedingly rare. Individuals working with the U.N. mission or other international organizations should monitor the situation closely and remain cognizant that militant groups may not consider their organization’s neutrality when conducting attacks.

SUB-SAHARAN AFRICA

Namibia (Security threat level – 2): On 26 August 2020, the government announced plans to allow foreign travelers to enter the country beginning on 1 September. Hosea Kutako International Airport (FYWH/WDH) in the capital Windhoek is expected to resume international commercial flight operations. Inbound travelers will be required to submit proof of negative results from a COVID-19 test taken within 72 hours prior to travel, and remain at their first destination for a minimum of seven days. After the first seven days in country, tourists will be exempt from existing movement restrictions affecting Namibian citizens, whom are not permitted to travel between towns. According to the Environment Minister, the decision to allow foreign travelers will be reviewed on a bi-weekly basis and amended as necessary. The move — which follows a recent spike in confirmed COVID-19 cases in Namibia — is aimed at bolstering the tourism sector, which accounts for approximately 10% of the country’s GDP.

GOVERNMENT WARNINGS

Egypt (Security threat level – 4): On 25 August 2020, the U.K. Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) issued an update to its travel advice, which reads in part as follows:

"From 1 September, all persons (including those who hold Egyptian nationality) arriving from overseas, to any part of Egypt, will be required to present a negative PCR test certificate on arrival. The Egyptian authorities have advised that PCR tests must be conducted no more than 48 hours prior to arrival in Egypt. Children under the age of 6, of all nationalities, are exempt from providing negative PCR test certificates. No other exemptions have been confirmed. COVID-19 entry requirements may change at short notice. You should check with your airline to confirm time frames for undertaking PCR tests and what proof of testing needs to be presented before you travel."

Kuwait (Security threat level – 2): On 26 August 2020, the U.S. Embassy in Kuwait City issued a Message for U.S. citizens, which reads in part as follows:

"As a reminder, tourist visas of foreign nationals were automatically extended through August 31, 2020. There is currently no mechanism in place to extend their validity beyond that date. The Embassy is aware of this issue and is engaging the Kuwaiti government.

"Individuals who are in Kuwait on a tourist visa will face penalties if departing after August 31. Please note that visas are not currently being issued upon arrival at the airport nor available electronically in advance for individuals seeking to return to Kuwait."

To read the full text of the message please click here.
Namibia (Security threat level – 2): On 25 August 2020, the U.S. Embassy in Windhoek issued a Security Alert regarding attacks on cyclists, which reads in part as follows:

"The U.S. Embassy in Windhoek advises U.S. citizens that there have been four attacks in the last six weeks on cyclists on the new detour road towards Kuferberg Landfill Road off of Highway C26 in Windhoek. Reports of four men attacking cyclists with stones and knives have been reported to police, but there have been no arrests. The most recent attack was on a middle-aged man who was robbed and stabbed on the new section of the road on the hill incline. In this incident, which took place at 17:30, robbers even stole the man’s shoes. U.S. government personnel are now prohibited from the Kupferberg Landfill Road until further notice."

The full text of the Alert is available here .

Tunisia (Security threat level – 3): On 26 August 2020, the U.K. Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) issued an update to its travel advice, which reads in part as follows:

"All travellers will have their temperature checked on arrival in Tunisia. No testing will be carried out on arrival, but from 26 August travellers resident in all countries, including the UK, need to provide evidence of having taken a coronavirus PCR test that is negative no more than 72 hours before departure.

"Quarantine requirements vary depending on the prevalence of the epidemic in travellers’ country of residence. Travellers from the UK need to self-quarantine for 14 days on arrival."