Worldview Security Update – August 28, 2020
28-Aug-20

AMERICAS

Chile (Security threat level – 2): On 28 August 2020, truck drivers entered day two of an "indefinite" nationwide strike to protest the increasing incidence of violence affecting the restive province of Araucania and what union members perceive as the government’s slow response in providing additional security to the region. Members of the union National Confederation of Chilean Cargo Transport (CNTC) have blocked Route 68 near the city of Casablanca in the province of Valparaíso. Additionally, trucks are stationed along Route 78 — also known as the Autopista del Sol — outside of the capital Santiago; the route leads to the coastal city of San Antonio. Truck drivers have also blocked other major roads across the country. Union officials representing the drivers are calling on the government to modernize the police forces by strengthening its intelligence capabilities and passing an anti-terrorism bill in Congress. Government officials concede that improved security is needed for the region and express concern that if the strike persists, deliveries of food and medical supplies will be hindered amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

The region of south-central Chile has experienced a protracted conflict between the indigenous Mapuche and the Chilean government. During recent months, attacks on transport providers and factories have spiked in the province of Araucania, which is home to 1.7 million indigenous Mapuche. Overnight on 27-28 August, a large arson attack was reported in Araucania near Termas de Tolhuaca, Curacautín, against a property owned by a prominent political family that includes a former congressman and a regional prosecutor.

Dominican Republic (Security threat level – 3): On 26 August 2020, lawmakers approved President Luis Abinader’s request to extend the country’s existing coronavirus-related state of emergency until 18 October. The mandate has been renewed seven times since 19 March. Nightly curfews remain in effect nationwide, with stricter curfews implemented in areas with higher COVID-19 case numbers. High-risk areas, which include the regions of Santo Domingo, the Distrito Nacional, Puerto Plata and La Romana, have a nightly curfew during 1900-0500 local time (2300-0900 UTC) Monday through Friday and 1700-0500 local time on Saturday and Sunday. Lower-risk areas, which include the regions of Monte Cristi and Samaná, have a nightly curfew during 2000 to 0500 local time (0000 to 0900 UTC).

United States (Security threat level – 2): On 28 August 2020, recovery efforts are underway in southwestern Louisiana and parts of eastern Texas following the passage of Hurricane Laura the previous day. In Louisiana, Lake Charles and nearby areas sustained the most severe damage, with hundreds of homes and buildings destroyed in the region. Images also show a number of structures inundated in floodwaters. Lake Charles Regional Airport (KLCH/LCH) sustained significant damage, including the destruction of aircraft hangars. As of last report, a stretch of Interstate 10 near the city of Lake Charles remains shut down in both directions after a chlorine leak at a nearby Biolab chemical facility — located in the Westlake suburb — sparked a large-scale blaze on 27 August. Authorities have advised residents in the area to stay indoors and turn off their air conditioning. More than 523,800 customers in Louisiana and an additional 191,500 customers in eastern Texas are currently experiencing power outages following the storm. Reports indicate that it could take several days for electricity to be fully restored in the region. There were a total of six storm-related fatalities in Louisiana.

Laura has since weakened into a tropical depression and was located approximately 95 mi (155 km) west-northwest of Memphis, Tennessee — and about 175 mi west-southwest of Paducah, Kentucky, as of 0400 local time (0900 UTC) on 28 August. As of that time, Laura was moving northeast at 13 mph (20 kph) and had maximum sustained winds of 30 mph (45 kph), with higher gusts. On its current forecast path, the tropical depression will track toward the east-northeast at the same speed during the day on 28 August and slightly accelerate during the weekend of 29-30 August as it moves into the northwestern Atlantic Ocean.

The storm is forecast to produce an additional 1-3 in (25-75 mm) of rain, with isolated maximums of up to 5 inches, through the night of 28 August in northeastern Arkansas, northern Mississippi, northern Alabama, western and Middle Tennessee, southeastern Missouri, and western and central Kentucky. Southern areas of Alabama, Louisiana and Mississippi are expected to receive 1-2 inches of rain, with isolated maximums of up to 4 inches. In parts of the central and southern Appalachians and mid-Atlantic states, 1-2 inches of rain, with isolated maximums of up to 3 inches, are expected on 29 August. The heavy rain could cause isolated flash floods in the aforementioned areas. Tornadoes are expected across parts of the mid-south and the Tennessee Valley areas from the afternoon into the nighttime hours of 28 August.

ASIA

Asia: As of 28 August 2020, governments throughout the Asia-Pacific region continue to amend coronavirus-related restrictions. In South Korea, authorities imposed additional measures in the capital Seoul to limit an ongoing outbreak of COVID-19. In Japan, foreign residents will be allowed to return as of 1 September. In Malaysia, the prime minister extended an existing recovery movement control order (MCO) through the end of 2020. In Myanmar, the government extended a ban on commercial passenger flights.

On 28 August South Korea’s Prime Minister Chung Sye-kyun extended current nationwide Level 2 restrictions until at least 6 September, while officials in the capital Seoul will impose additional restrictions during the same period. During that time, all cafes and coffee shops in Seoul must operate takeout or delivery services only, while restaurants and other eateries must close for dine-in services during 2100-0500 local time (1200-2000 UTC). Academic institutions, nightclubs and places of worship remain closed, and face masks must be worn in all public spaces of the city. In addition, public gatherings of more than 10 people are banned until at least 13 September.

In Japan, officials announced on 28 August that re-entry restrictions for foreign residents will be lifted beginning on 1 September. Returning residents will be required to provide negative results on a COVID-19 PCR test taken with 72 hours prior to travel to Japan. Authorities introduced the entry ban on foreign travelers from most countries on 3 April, which included permanent residents.

In Malaysia, on 28 August Prime Minister Muhyiddin Yassin extended the nationwide recovery movement control order (MCO) through 31 December; the order was scheduled to end on 31 August. Under the order, foreign tourists are banned and entertainment venues remain closed such as nightclubs.

In Myanmar, as of 27 August the government has extended a ban on all international commercial passenger flights through 30 September. Tourist visas are being withheld until further notice. However, business visas may still be issued on a case-by-case basis, and prospective travelers should submit a request to the nearest Myanmar Embassy.

EUROPE

Slovakia / Ukraine / United Kingdom (Security threat levels – 2 / 4 / 3): Beginning on 1 September 2020, the Slovakian government will require travelers from Belgium, Croatia, France, Malta, the Netherlands and Spain to self-quarantine for 14 days upon arrival in Slovakia or present a negative result from a COVID-19 PCR test after isolating for at least five days following their entry. Slovakia’s Health Ministry advised individuals against travel to Greece and other areas in Europe, which include Prague, the Czech Republic’s capital; Vienna, Austria’s capital; and Tayside, Scotland, as well as northwestern England in the U.K. Additionally, indoor gatherings in Slovakia will be allowed to have no more than 500 people, while outdoor gatherings will be limited to a maximum of 1,000 people.

On 27 August the Ukrainian government announced that it will close its borders to most foreign nationals from 0000 local time on 28 August (2100 UTC on 27 August) until at least 0000 local time on 28 September. Close relatives, permanent residents, students, diplomats, transportation and cargo crew and transit passengers will be exempt from the restriction. All foreign nationals allowed to enter must show proof of health insurance with COVID-19 coverage effective for their duration of stay; transit passengers with a layover of 48 hours or less are exempt from this requirement. Travelers eligible to enter Ukraine remain subject to quarantine requirements based on Ukraine’s color-coded system, whereby travelers from countries designated as being in the green zone will not be required to self-isolate. Those from a red zone must either undergo a 14-day quarantine — with progress tracked through the Dii Vdoma mobile app — or show proof of a negative RT-PCR COVID-19 test taken within 48 hours prior to arrival to obtain an exemption.

The U.K. government removed Czech Republic, Jamaica and Switzerland from its travel corridor list. As a result, travelers from these countries arriving in the U.K. beginning at 0400 local time (0300 UTC) on 29 August will be required to self-isolate for 14 days; in addition, the U.K. Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) advises against all nonessential travel to the three countries. Meanwhile, travelers arriving in the U.K. from Cuba will no longer need to self-quarantine.

MIDDLE EAST AND NORTH AFRICA

Lebanon (Security threat level – 4): As of 28 August 2020, the Lebanese army remains deployed in the Beirut suburb of Khaldeh, located approximately 14 km (9 mi) south of the capital, following a night of sectarian unrest. Reports indicate that clashes occurred between a Sunni Muslim group called Arabs of Khaldeh and supporters of the Shiite militant group Hizballah over the display of a Shiite religious banner commemorating the Ashura holiday at a local supermarket. At least two people were killed and 10 others were injured during the fighting; the supermarket reportedly sustained heavy damage.

SUB-SAHARAN AFRICA

Malawi / Nigeria / Gambia (Security threat levels – 3 / 5 / 3): On 28 August 2020, authorities in Malawi announced that international commercial flights into and out of the country will resume on 1 September. Limited commercial flights will be permitted to operate initially, and all arriving travelers must show proof of negative results of a COVID-19 test taken within 10 days prior to their travel date. They may also be subject to self-quarantine requirements. All departing travelers must also show proof of a negative COVID-19 test taken within 10 days of their travel date. In addition, schools are set to begin reopening in phases nationwide from 1 September.

In Nigeria, on 28 August government officials delayed plans to resume international commercial flights until 5 September due to logistical concerns. International flights were set to resume on 29 August. Aviation officials indicated that Lagos’ Murtala Muhammed International Airport (DNMM/LOS) and Abuja’s Nnamdi Azikiwe International Airport (DNAA/ABV) will each operate four daily flights when the airports reopen.

In Gambia, President Adama Barrow extended the current state of emergency until at least 18 September. Under the extension, the nationwide nightly curfew during 2200-0500 local time/UTC will remain in place. Nonessential businesses, places of worship and schools will remain closed. Markets and grocery stores may operate from 0600-1400 local time only and must close on Sundays. Residents are required to wear a face mask in all public spaces, including aboard public transportation, and must comply with social distancing measures. Violators of the curfew or other health measures may face a fine of up to 5,000 Gambian dalasi (95 U.S. dollars).

GOVERNMENT WARNINGS

Brazil (Security threat level – 3): On 27 August 2020, the U.S. Embassy in Brasilia issued an alert regarding the extension of entry restrictions for foreign travelers to Brazil, which reads in part as follows:

“Effective August 26, Brazil extended the restrictions on entry of foreigners by land (unless for transit) and sea, through at least September 24. The entry of foreign visitors traveling by air is currently permitted.

“The August 26 decree changes previous requirements and now stipulates that foreign travelers entering Brazil by air, for a short stay of up to 90 days, must present proof of purchase of health insurance, in English or Portuguese, that is valid in Brazil for the entire period of the trip with minimum coverage of 30,000 Brazilian reais to an airline agent prior to boarding. Failure to provide this could result in the denial of entry by Brazilian authorities.”

The full text of the alert is available here .