Worldview Security Update – January 30, 2020
30-Jan-20

ASIA

China / India / Philippines (Security threat levels – 3 / 3 / 4): As of 1100 UTC on 30 January 2020, the number of confirmed global cases of novel coronavirus (2019-nCoV) had risen to more than 7,900 — an increase of more than 1,500 from the previous day — with about 100 total cases recorded outside of mainland China. Thus far, a total of 170 individuals have died from the coronavirus. At least 20 countries have now confirmed cases of the virus, including India and the Philippines, with each country reporting one case overnight from 29-30 January. Regarding the reported case in the Philippines, officials stated that the patient arrived from Wuhan on 21 January and was hospitalized in Manila on 25 January after displaying symptoms of the virus. In India, the patient is currently located in Kerala State with the expectation of attending Wuhan University, but officials have not disclosed details regarding her arrival from China. The World Health Organization (WHO) is set to reconvene on 30 January to discuss whether to declare the outbreak a public health emergency of international concern.

Countries are stepping up efforts to contain the spread of the virus. At present, Mongolia and Russia have closed their border crossings with China until further notice. Earlier in the day, authorities at Beijing Capital International Airport (ZBAA/PEK) suspended at least 545 regional flights across China; however, international flights appear unaffected by the suspension. Many airlines are curtailing or suspending flights to China. U.S. carrier United Airlines suspended several flights to Beijing, Hong Kong and Shanghai from 1-8 February, while Delta Airlines will suspend about half of its U.S.-China flights between 6 February and 30 April. In addition, British Airways and Indonesia’s Lion Air both suspended all flights to and from mainland China for an unspecified period of time. Israel’s El Al Airlines suspended its flight operations with China from 30 January to 25 March. Singapore’s Jetstar Asia suspended flights to Guiyang, Hefei and Xuzhou until 31 March. Furthermore, Egyptair announced it is suspending flights to China beginning on 1 February.

A number of countries — including France, Germany, Japan, Morocco, New Zealand, South Korea, the U.K. and the U.S. — are evacuating or have already evacuated their nationals from Wuhan. Most evacuees will remain in quarantine upon their return. Additionally the U.S. Embassy in Beijing issued an alert to U.S. nationals in China informing of additional planned evacuation flights on 3 February. Any interested citizens should contact "CoronaVirusEmergency@State.gov" with details to include the following: full name, U.S. passport number, date of birth, gender, email address, phone number and the type of Chinese visa they hold. The full text of the alert can be found here .

India (Security threat level – 3): On 30 January 2020, an unidentified gunman opened fire on protesters near Jamia Millia Islamia University in New Delhi, as demonstrations against the controversial Citizenship Amendment Act continue nationwide. According to reports, the gunman approached the demonstrators with a weapon in his hand before firing into the crowd. Security forces arrested the shooter. At least one person was injured. No other clashes were reported between rival groups or anti-government protesters and security forces.

GOVERNMENT WARNINGS

Bangladesh (Security threat level – 4): On 30 January 2020, the U.S. Embassy in Dhaka issued a Security Alert for upcoming elections in Dhaka, which reads in part as follows:

“Location: Dhaka Metropolitan Area

“Event: The Dhaka North City Corporation and Dhaka South City Corporation Mayoral elections are scheduled for Saturday, February 1, 2020. The Election Commission has imposed the following vehicle movement restrictions. These will impact vehicular and pedestrian traffic patterns citywide and within the Diplomatic Enclave.

“Dates: January 30-February 2

  • Time: 12:00am – 06:00am
  • Movement Ban: No motorcycles will be permitted in election areas. Pedestrian movement is allowed.

“Date: February 1

  • Time: ALL DAY, 24 hours
  • Movement Ban: Restaurant, entertainment, and shopping facilities will be closed. Only pedestrian movement will be allowed, even within the diplomatic enclave.

“Dates: February 1-February 2

  • Time: 12:00am-06:00am
  • Movement Ban: Auto rickshaws, taxicabs, microbuses (vans), jeeps (SUVs), pickups, cars, buses, trucks, and other passenger vehicles will not be allowed to move in the election areas. Pedestrian movement will be allowed.

“Exceptions/exemptions will be extended only to credentialed vehicles registered with the Bangladesh Election Commission.

“Diplomatic plated vehicles are also subject to vehicle movement restrictions.”

Burkina Faso (Security threat level – 4): On 30 January 2020, the U.S. Embassy in Ouagadougou issued a Security Alert, which reads in part as follows:

“Location: Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso

“Event: Starting around August 2019, there has been an increase in reports of armed robberies in Ouagadougou. Assailants typically travel on motorcycles and appear to be hooded and work in pairs. In many instances, the use of firearms, including AK-47’s has been reported. Robberies have occurred throughout the city and can occur any time.”

Côte d’Ivoire (Security threat level – 4): On 29 January 2020, the U.K. Foreign and Commonwealth Office issued updated travel advice for Côte d’Ivoire, which reads in part as follows:

“The FCO now advise against all but essential travel to within 40km of the northern border with Mali and Burkina Faso, and to the Comoé national park area in the northeast border region.

“The main threat in Côte d’Ivoire comes from Al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb (AQ-M) and its associated groups. These groups remain intent on demonstrating capability and increasing influence across the region. AQ-M mainly operates in the Sahel. The Sahel region includes Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania and Niger, but the threat may extend to other neighbouring countries in the region, including Côte d’Ivoire, due to the porous nature of the borders. There is an increased risk in the northern border areas of Côte d’Ivoire, including the Comoé national park area in the north-east.”

North Korea (Security threat level – 3): On 30 January 2020, the U.K. Foreign and Commonwealth Office updated its travel advice regarding the ongoing coronavirus outbreak to read in part as follows:

“There is an ongoing outbreak of coronavirus in China. The virus originated in Wuhan City, Hubei Province but cases have been confirmed in other parts of China and the region.

“In response, the North Korean authorities have introduced a series of travel restrictions. Tour operators have reported a government suspension of tourism into North Korea. Foreign residents in North Korea are restricted from travelling to China. The government has announced that all foreigners entering North Korea from China, or from Russia having passed through China, will be placed in quarantine under medical supervision outside Pyongyang for one month. They have also announced that all air and train routes between North Korea and China are temporarily suspended as of 31 January 2020.”

Sri Lanka (Security threat level – 4): On 30 January 2020, the U.S. Embassy in Colombo issued a Security Alert that reads in part as follows:

“Location: Colombo 03, Colombo 07, Sri Lanka

“Event: The U.S. Embassy informs U.S. citizens that the following areas in Colombo will be affected with multiple road closures and delays from January 31 through February 04 due to the National Day parade to be held in Independence square on February 04, 2020 and related activities. Vehicular movement will be restricted in the areas listed below from 6 a.m. to 1 p.m. and heavy traffic can be expected in and around the following areas.

“Road Closures

“1. The road from Library Roundabout to Horton Roundabout will be closed.

“2. F.R Senanayake Mawatha will be closed from Kannangara Mawatha junction and Dharmapala Mawatha junction.

“3. The road leading to Kannangara Mawatha from Zoysa roundabout will be closed.

“4. The road from Nanda Motors Junction towards Nelum Pokuna Roundabout will be closed.”