Worldview Security Update – February 6, 2020
6-Feb-20





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ASIA

China / Philippines / Taiwan / Egypt / North Korea / Turkmenistan / Saudi Arabia / Kenya (Security threat levels – 3 / 4 / 1 / 4 / 3 / 3 / 3 / 4): As of 6 February 2020, at least 28,339 confirmed cases of 2019 novel coronavirus (2019-nCov) worldwide have been reported, along with 565 fatalities and 1,208 individuals who have recovered from the virus. In addition to the mandatory quarantines already in place across mainland China — including the cities of Huanggang, Wenzhou and Wuhan — the city of Nanchang in Jiangxi province, located approximately 355 km (220 mi) east of Wuhan, will undergo travel restrictions. Similarly to Huanggang, one family member per household in Nanchang may travel for necessities every two days. Public parks are closed, and restaurants may offer delivery and takeout only. Individuals entering Nanchang must notify authorities of recent travel histories, and individuals who enter or leave Nanchang will be subject to medical examinations and temperature checks.

Authorities in Atush, located in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous region, have fenced off and blocked roads and ordered the city’s 200,000 residents to remain in their homes in an attempt to slow the spread of the virus. Residents in Atush report that they are not allowed to exit their homes and are running out of food due to travel restrictions. Current information about coronavirus infections in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous region is not available as Chinese authorities have classified that information as a state secret.

Meanwhile, in the Tibet Autonomous Region, officials have closed monasteries, cultural sites, and other locations for public gathering. Tibetan authorities have also canceled cultural events and ordered pilgrims in the regional capital Lhasa to leave on 31 January. Tibetan residents outside Lhasa are not allowed to travel to the city and passengers arriving from the mainland are screened at the airport and held in quarantine for 14 days.

The spread of the virus has affected cruise travel and commercial shipping. Hong Kong authorities have quarantined the cruise ship World Dream. Thirty three crew members on the ship have developed symptoms of a respiratory infection. All but one crew member has tested negative for coronavirus. The ship remains quarantined — with all 1,800 passengers — until the remaining crew member’s test results are known. Another quarantined cruise ship, the Diamond Princess — which has been under quarantine in the Japanese port of Yokohama since 4 February — has 20 confirmed cases of coronavirus aboard. Authorities have yet to announce how and when they will disembark passengers after all coronavirus tests have been processed. Additionally, authorities in the port of Damietta, Egypt have quarantined a cargo ship originating from Shanghai. The Damietta port authority will require medical reports from every ship passing through China or originating from China.

Several governments continue to quarantine individuals traveling through China. For example, North Korea has quarantined 70 Chinese traders on the island of Pipa where the border between China, North Korea, and Russia converges. It is unknown if anyone under quarantine has symptoms of the virus. Additionally, Turkmenistan is quarantining Turkmen returning from mainland China in tent camps in Lebap province and in the village of Dushak for up to a month.

A number of countries have enacted divergent policies in an effect to help protect their citizens. Taiwan will suspend entry to foreigners who come from or have traveled through mainland China, Hong Kong, and Macao in the last 14 days. Additionally, Taiwanese authorities have suspended online visas and visas on arrival for Hong Kong passport holders. Taiwanese citizens or residents coming from these areas will be required to quarantine at home for 14 days upon their return. Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia has banned its citizens from traveling to China and will not allow any of its 13 million expatriate residents to return to the kingdom if they traveled to China. The kingdom also stated that they will penalize any Saudi citizen who defies the travel ban. Conversely, Kenyan authorities seek to evacuate over 200 Kenyan students stranded in Wuhan and quarantine them in the capital Nairobi.

Additionally, scheduled sporting events have been disrupted by coronavirus concerns. For example, Philippine authorities are canceling the Philippine National Sports Summit and the Philippine National Games to curb the spread of the virus. Furthermore, the Philippine Military Academy in Baguio City is postponing its annual homecoming activities scheduled for 15 February until 22 February in order to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

EUROPE

Italy (Security threat level – 3): On 6 February 2020, a high-speed train derailed near the town of Lodi, located approximately 50 km (30 mi) southeast of Milan. The Milan-Salerno train was en route to Bologna when the engine and at least one cabin car derailed and crashed into a freight car on a parallel track and a nearby building. At least two people were killed and 31 were injured. Officials are investigating the cause of the derailment. High-speed rail travel between Milan and Bologna has been temporarily suspended.
Turkey (Security threat level – 4): At approximately 0400 local time (0100 UTC) on 6 February 2020, flight operations at Istanbul’s Sabiha Gocken International Airport (LTFJ/SAW) resumed after approximately 10 hours following an aircraft incident at the facility. Pegasus Airlines flight PC2193 with 177 passengers and six crew members on board skidded and fell off about 30-40 m (100-130 ft) from the end of the runway upon landing at the airport shortly after 1800 local time on 5 February. The fuselage then broke into multiple pieces. Three people were killed and 179 others were injured in the crash. While the cause of the crash is under investigation, Istanbul Gov. Ali Yerlikaya suggested that the inclement weather was a contributing factor. The flight originated from Izmir Adnan Menderes Airport (LTBJ/ADB).

MIDDLE EAST AND NORTH AFRICA

Israel / Palestinian Territories (Security threat levels – 3 / 4): On 6 February 2020, two Palestinian militant attacks occurred in Jerusalem’s Old City. At the Temple Mount/ Noble Sanctuary, an Israeli Arab militant shot and injured an Israeli police officer at the holy site. Responding police officers shot and killed the assailant. No group has claimed responsibility for the attack.

Earlier, near the First Station in Jerusalem, an unidentified motorist drove a car into a group of Israeli soldiers. The soldiers were en route to the Western Wall in the Old City for a swearing-in ceremony when the driver accelerated behind them. Thirteen soldiers were injured. The driver fled the scene. Israeli authorities are investigating the incident as a terrorist attack.

Separately, reports emerged that Israeli forces are deploying reinforcements to the West Bank, following clashes that occurred between Israeli troops and Palestinian security forces in Jenin. At least one Palestinian police officer was killed in the fighting but there were no reports of Israeli casualties. Organizations with assets in Israel and the Palestinian territories should monitor the situation closely.

GOVERNMENT WARNINGS

Cameroon (Security threat level – 4): On 6 February 2020, the U.S. Embassy in Yaoundé issued a Security Alert regarding the upcoming municipal elections, which reads in part as follows:

“Location: Cameroon

“Event: Cameroon will hold municipal and legislative elections on Sunday, February 9, 2020. The Embassy is not aware of any planned demonstrations, but it is possible that large crowds could gather at polling places and other public venues. Host country security and law enforcement will likely have an increased presence during the elections and roadblocks could be encountered.”
Guatemala (Security threat level – 4): On 5 February, 2020, the U.S. Department of State issued a Security Alert that reads in part as follows.

"Location:  Municipality of Chimaltenango, Department of Chimaltenango

"Event: State of Prevention, Increased Military and Police Presence

"The Government of Guatemala has announced a State of Prevention for the Municipality of Chimaltenango.  The State of Prevention is due to the ongoing security situation in Chimaltenango where there is significant gang activity and other violent crime.  There will be an increased military and police presence in this area to conduct search warrants and arrest operations throughout the State of Prevention period."

Additional information can be found at the following link .

India (Security threat level – 3): On 6 February 2020, the U.K. Foreign and Commonwealth Office updated its travel advice for India to read in part as follows:

“On 5 February 2020 the Indian authorities announced an extension of measures designed to prevent the spread of the virus. If you’re a foreign national or an Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) card holder travelling from China to India, your existing visa (including eVisa) will no longer be valid and you will not be permitted to enter or transit India.”