Worldview Security Update – August 4, 2020
4-Aug-20

AMERICAS

Bahamas / Paraguay / Peru (Security threat levels – 2 / 3 / 3): The Bahamas began a 14-day national lockdown on 4 August 2020, due to rising numbers of COVID-19 cases. Residents may only leave their homes from 0700 to 1700 local time (1100 to 2100 UTC) on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays to procure basic necessities such as food and medicine. Workers in essential sectors may also leave their homes on Saturdays from 0700 to 1300 local time. Any citizen found outside of their homes who tests positive for COVID-19 will be fined for defying quarantine.

In Paraguay, authorities reverted the southeastern department (province) of Alto Paraná to a Phase 0 designation — the most restrictive level of coronavirus-related mandates — until at least 12 August due to an increase of COVID-19 cases in the department. Under a Phase 0 restriction, only essential services, such as banking, food delivery services, supermarkets and pharmacies, can remain open. Exemptions are also in place for funeral services. Local governments within Alto Paraná may also impose additional restrictions with little notice.

In Peru, authorities on 3 August extended the current mandate on working remotely when possible until 31 July 2021. The mandate was originally set to expire on 7 September 2020. Officials stated that more than 220,000 people are working remotely nationwide due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

United States (Security threat level – 2): Late on 3 August 2020, Tropical Storm Isaias reformed into a Category 1 hurricane and made landfall near Ocean Isle Beach, North Carolina, located about 40 mi (65 km) south-southwest of the port city of Wilmington, and about 30 mi northeast of Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, shortly after 2300 local time (0300 UTC on 4 August). Flash floods of up to several feet were reported in Garden City, North Myrtle Beach, Ocean Isle Beach and in coastal areas along the path of the storm, and at least four structure fires broke out in Ocean Isle Beach after Isaias came ashore. Isaias caused damage to homes and other structures as well as downed trees in coastal communities along its path, including Garden City and Myrtle Beach as well as the North Carolina cities of Oak Island and Southport. In addition, tornadoes were reported in Bertie County, North Carolina, where at least one person was killed. Additional tornadoes were reported in Maryland’s Carroll County — just north of Baltimore — and Virginia’s Courtland and Suffolk cities, which damaged a number of structures, uprooted trees and downed power lines. Power outages are affecting more than 360,000 homes and businesses in North Carolina and 77,000 others in Maryland, Virginia and Washington, D.C. Tornadoes remain a possibility in the region, including southeastern New York, northern New Jersey and the southern parts of the New England area, through the afternoon hours of 4 August.

Isaias has since weakened into a tropical storm and was located approximately 15 mi south-southeast of Tappahannock, Virginia, as of 0800 local time on 4 August, according to the U.S. National Hurricane Center. At that time, the storm was moving north-northeast at 33 mph (54 kph) and was posting maximum sustained winds of 70 mph with higher gusts. Isaias is forecast to accelerate and move over eastern Virginia and the Mid-Atlantic coast through the day, the New England area by the evening and into southern Canada by late night hours of 4 August. The storm is expected to weaken into a post-tropical storm overnight on 4-5 August.

The Carolinas and Mid-Atlantic states are forecast to receive 3-6 in (8-15 cm) of rain, with isolated maximums of up to 8 in. Eastern parts of New York state and most of the western New England region is expected to receive 2-4 inches of rain, with isolated maximums of up to 6 inches. Portions of northern and western Maine may receive 1-3 inches of rain. The heavy rainfall will likely cause significant flash flooding in the eastern Carolinas, Mid-Atlantic and New England area through 5 August. Storm surges of between 1-4 ft (0.3-1.2 m) above ground level are forecast to cause hazardous surf conditions from South Carolina’s South Santee River to Massachusetts’ Martha’s Vineyard.

At present, a Tropical Storm Warning is in effect across the eastern coast from Surf City, North Carolina, to Eastport, Maine, including the cities of Baltimore, Boston, New York City, Philadelphia, Raleigh and Washington D.C., as well as the Chesapeake Bay, Delaware Bay, Long Island Sound, Martha’s Vineyard, Nantucket, the tidal Potomac River and the Albemarle and Pamlico Sounds. A Storm Surge Warning is in effect from the Ocracoke Inlet, North Carolina, to the Virginia state border and the Albemarle and Pamlico Sounds.

ASIA

China (Security threat level – 3): According to the Joint Typhoon Warning Center, as of 1700 local time (0900 UTC) on 4 August 2020, Typhoon Hagupit has downgraded to a tropical depression and was located approximately 195 km (120 mi) southwest of Shanghai. At that time, Hagupit was moving north at 19 kph (12 mph) and was generating maximum sustained, winds of 56 kph with gusts of up to 74 kph. On its current path, Hagupit is forecast to continue moving north through central Jiangsu province before entering the Yellow Sea by the early hours of 5 August.

At approximately 0330 local time on 4 August, Hagupit made landfall between Wenzhou and Taizhou in Zhejian province. In Wenzhou, authorities previously evacuated approximately 200,000 people. Heavy rainfall and uprooted trees were reported in Fujian and Zhejian provinces. However, there were no reports of casualties or significant structural damage.

China / Philippines / Thailand (Security threat levels – 3 / 4 / 3): On 4 August 2020, Philippine officials in Metro Manila reimposed a nightly curfew from 2000 to 0500 local time (1200 to 2100 UTC) and banned the sale of liquor for the duration of the modified enhanced community quarantine (MECQ) from 4-18 August. Municipalities including Manila city, Quezon and Pasay will be under curfews from 2200 to 0500 local time. President Rodrigo Duterte announced on 2 August a return to the MECQ for Metro Manila and the provinces of Bulacan, Cavite, Laguna and Rizal due to a recent surge in COVID-19 cases.

On 3 August the Hong Kong government extended current social distancing requirements through 11 August; the orders were scheduled to expire on 5 August. The mandate requires individuals to wear face masks in all public areas, bans gatherings of more than two people, and allows restaurants to provide dine-in services with a maximum of two people per table during 0500-1800 local time (2100-1000 UTC). Restaurants are allowed to offer takeaway services during 1800-0500 local time. Violators of the mask requirement are subject to a 2,000 Hong Kong dollar fine (about 258 U.S. dollars).

The Civil Aviation Authority of Thailand (CAAT) on 3 August lifted an entry ban on four groups of foreign nationals, including permanent residents and their families, work permit holders, those allowed to enter under special arrangements and migrant workers. In order to enter the country, travelers must have an entry certificate issued by a Thai diplomatic mission in their home country, a negative COVID-19 test certificate and health insurance. However, the level of insurance coverage as well as the required issuance date before departure for the test certificate remain unknown. Additionally, all arrivals must quarantine for 14 days at a government-designated facility or an alternative location approved by authorities.

EUROPE

Norway (Security threat level – 2): On 3 August 2020, the government of Norway suspended cruise ships with more than 100 people aboard from disembarking at the country’s ports after an outbreak of COVID-19 was reported the previous week on a ship that disembarked at the Port of Tromsoe, located north of the Arctic Circle. At least 41 passengers and crew who were on board the cruise ship MS Roald Amundsen, operated by Norwegian company Hurtigruten, have so far tested positive for COVID-19, while hundreds more on board are self-isolating for 10 days. Officials did not note how long the suspension will be in place.

MIDDLE EAST AND NORTH AFRICA

Jordan (Security threat level – 3): On 4 August 2020, authorities postponed the planned reopening of Queen Alia International Airport (OJAI/AMM), which serves the capital Amman, until further notice. International commercial flights were scheduled to resume on 5 August to and from “green countries” with low COVID-19 infection rates. Authorities banned all international commercial flights on 17 March.

SUB-SAHARAN AFRICA

Mali (Security threat level – 5): On 3 August 2020, a U.N.-operated Antonov AN-74 (NATO reporting name: Coaler) aircraft originating from Bamako’s Modibo Keita International Airport (GABS/BKO) skidded off the runway upon landing at Gao International Airport (GAGO/GAQ). The aircraft was carrying 30 passengers, including seven Russian nationals affiliated with the U.N. Multidimensional Integrated Stabilization Mission in Mali (MINUSMA). At least 11 people were injured in the accident, but there were no reports of fatalities. There were no reports of airport disruptions associated with the accident.

GOVERNMENT WARNINGS

Dominican Republic (Security threat level – 3): On 3 August 2020, the U.S. Embassy in Santo Domingo issued an alert regarding limited health care resources to treat COVID-19 in the Dominican Republic, which reads in part as follows:

  • "News reports indicate many hospitals no longer have beds vacant for COVID-19 and are no longer able to accept new COVID-19 patients. U.S. citizens are encouraged to postpone travel due to considerations noted on our website that include the significantly reduced availability of emergency medical care as well as concerns noted in our general information on travel to the Dominican Republic.
     
  • Medical care is severely limited with many hospitals at or near full capacity, there is limited availability of ICU beds, and hospitalized patients may have an increased risk of exposure to COVID-19. U.S. citizens, including those considering travel to the D.R. for elective surgery, are encouraged to postpone travel due to considerations noted on our website that include the significantly reduced availability of emergency medical care as well as concerns noted in our general information on travel to the Dominican Republic.
  • Routine operations at U.S. Embassy Santo Domingo are still suspended due to the COVID-19 epidemic and the travel warning advising U.S. citizens against any international travel remains in effect."

The full text of the alert can be read here .

Iran (Security threat level – 3): On 4 August 2020, the U.K. Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) issued an update regarding entry requirements to Iran, which reads in part as follows:

"Entry is permitted to holders of an Iranian passport or holders of a valid visa. Please check with your local Iranian Embassy or Consulate.

"All passengers arriving into Iran by air are required to hold a valid health certificate, issued by the health authorities of the country of departure. This must contain a COVID-19 molecular test performed by an approved centre of the departure country, carried out within 96 hours of entry into Iran. Non-Iranian nationals will not be permitted entry without such a certificate. Iranian nationals without such a certificate will be directed to quarantine locations for 14 days and will incur associated medical and accommodation costs."

Namibia (Security threat level – 2): On 4 August 2020, the U.K. Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) issued an update to its travel advice for Namibia, which reads in part as follows:

"With effect from 3 August, if you’re entering Namibia you must enter quarantine in an approved facility at your own cost for a period of 7 days. A PCR-test will be taken at the end of that period, and provided that test is negative, you will be discharged."