Worldview Security Update – July 13, 2020
13-Jul-20

AMERICAS

El Salvador / Peru / Venezuela (Security threat levels – 4 / 3 / 5): On 10 July 2020, authorities in El Salvador delayed the implementation of a plan to lift coronavirus-related restrictions due to a recent surge in COVID-19 infections. Phase 2 of the four-phase plan is now scheduled to begin on 21 July. Phases 3 and 4 are postponed until 18 August and 15 September, respectively. Restrictions on business activities and movement will remain in place, including on operations at El Salvador International Airport (MSLP/SAL), which will remain suspended until at least 18 August. However, commercial cargo and humanitarian flights will continue to operate. Officials may announce further postponements, depending on the epidemiological situation in the country.

In Peru, the government on 10 July revised requirements for the issuance of travel permits (salvoconductos), which authorize individuals to travel between regions despite movement restrictions and curfews. Authorities now only issue permits to travelers coming from or transiting through regions of the country under lockdown for repatriation purposes. For example, a foreign national traveling to the Grupo 8 Air Force Base in the Callao district of Lima from elsewhere in Peru to board a repatriation flight is eligible to receive a travel permit; however, travelers must already have flights booked. Currently, all repatriation flights out of Peru depart from the airbase, and special restrictions are in place due to the facility’s status as a military installation. Additional details regarding those restrictions are available here .

In Venezuela, the government on 10 July extended the nationwide coronavirus-related state of emergency until at least 10 August; the measure was set to expire on 11 July. Under the extension, local and nationwide restrictions on business activities, movement and public gatherings remain in place including a ban on inter-state travel, the closure of academic institutions, a face mask requirement when outside the home and a flexible scheme on non-essential businesses in which specific economic sectors may operate on certain “flexible weeks” and only essential businesses may operate during “lockdown weeks.”

ASIA

Afghanistan (Security threat level – 5): At approximately 1100 local time (0630 UTC) on 13 July 2020, a vehicle-borne improvised explosive device (VBIED) detonated in front of the provincial headquarters of the National Directorate of Security in the town of Samangan (also called Aybak) in Samangan province. Reports indicate that a number of assailants launched an attack against security forces, and heavy gunfire was reported in the area. Local authorities stated that there were at least 11 fatalities, and that 63 casualties were transported to nearby hospitals, but their conditions remain unknown. The Taliban claimed responsibility for the attack.

Overnight on 12-13 July, dozens of suspected Taliban insurgents launched separate attacks against Afghan military checkpoints in the Arghanjkhwa district of Badakhshan province and the Imam Sahib district in Kunduz province. Afghan security forces repulsed both attacks after almost nine hours of fighting. At least 13 Afghan soldiers and police officers were killed and 11 were wounded in the attacks.

Asia: As of 13 July 2020, governments throughout the Asia-Pacific region continue to enforce and amend coronavirus-related policies in order to prevent the spread of COVID-19. In Afghanistan, travelers departing aboard Emirates and flydubai flights are now required to provide a negative COVID-19 test before boarding. In India, multiple states maintain restrictions on movement. In the Philippines, authorities plan to impose a lockdown on the City of Navotas, which is part of the Metro Manila area. In Hong Kong, the government announced new restrictions in response to a spike in cases.

In Afghanistan, all travelers departing Kabul’s Hamid Karzai International Airport (OAKB/KBL) aboard Emirates or flydubai flights are required to present a negative COVID-19 test certificate issued within 96 hours of departure in order to board their flight. Travelers can take a test and obtain documentation from one of the following five approved testing laboratories in Kabul: Afghan-Japan Hospital, French Medical Institute for Mothers and Children, National Military Hospital, National Public Health Lab and the National Veterinary Lab. Meanwhile, passengers entering Afghanistan via air or land borders may be subject to health screenings, including temperature checks on arrival. However, reports indicate that not every arrival is screened. Travelers who undergo testing and have a temperature higher than 38 degrees Celsius (100.4 degrees Fahrenheit) may be placed in isolation at a hospital in Kabul, and quarantined for 14 days if they test positive for COVID-19.

In India, authorities in a number of states have extended or plan to impose lockdown restrictions over all or part of their respective territories. During the lockdowns, residents must remain in their homes and restrict outside travel to essential activities. Inter-state and inter-city movement will be restricted, public transportation will be suspended or operate at reduced capacity and nonessential businesses will be closed.

In Arunachal Pradesh state, the ongoing lockdowns in place in the capital city Itanagar and the towns of Banderdewa, Naharlagun and Nirjuli have been extended until at least 20 July.

In Assam state, the current lockdown in Guwahati and the Kamrup metropolitan district has been extended through1900 local time on 19 July.

In Bihar state, lockdowns lasting between three and seven days are in effect in 17 of the state’s 38 districts, including in the state capital Patna from 10 to 16 July.

In Karnataka state, Bengaluru — the state capital — will enter a comprehensive lockdown from 2000 local time on 14 July to 0500 local time on 22 July.

In Meghalaya state, the capital city Shillong is under lockdown until 15 July, while the ongoing lockdown in the state of Nagaland has been extended until at least 31 July.

Meanwhile in Odisha state, the district of Malkangiri is under lockdown until 19 July, and at least 11 other districts remain under weekend lockdowns and have a nightly curfew from 2100 to 0500 local time until further notice.

Finally in West Bengal state, a lockdown is in place for more than 230 containment zones in multiple districts until at least 16 July.

In the Philippines, the mayor of the City of Navotas — located in Metro Manila approximately 15 km (9 mi) northwest of central Manila — announced plans on 13 July to impose a 14-day lockdown over the city due to a recent surge in new COVID-19 infections. Authorities will notify residents 24 hours before the lockdown takes effect, which is expected to begin on either 15 or 16 July. During this time, residents must remain in their homes and restrict outside travel to essential activities such as to obtain food and medicine, seek medical treatment or travel to and from work. Travel to and from the city for work purposes will be permitted for residents working outside the city as well as non-residents working within the city limits. Authorities also plan to increase the fines levied against violators of the restrictions. At least 200 additional Philippine National Police officers will deploy to the city to augment the local police force and ensure public compliance with the order.

In Hong Kong, authorities announced new measures that will go into effect on 15 July in response to a spike in COVID-19 cases. Face masks will be mandatory aboard public transportation; public gatherings will be limited to four people, down from the current limit of 50; entertainment venues such as bars, cinemas and gyms will closed for up to seven days; and inbound travelers who have been to high risk areas will be required to provide a negative COVID-19 test before they board their flight. Authorities stated that they will provide a list of countries considered high risk later. Violators of the mask order will be subject to a maximum fine of 5,000 Hong Kong dollars (644.91 U.S. dollars).

EUROPE

Finland / Spain / Georgia (Security threat levels – 2 / 3 / 3): On 13 July 2020, Finland’s government amended entry requirements for foreign travelers from the EU and Schengen Zone, as well as for citizens and residents of a number of other countries. Border restrictions and mandatory quarantine requirements are now lifted for travel between Finland and Austria, Belgium, Cyprus, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Liechtenstein, Malta, the Netherlands, Slovakia, Slovenia and Switzerland. Restrictions have already been lifted for Denmark, Estonia, Iceland, Latvia, Lithuania and Norway.

In addition, travel between Finland and a subset of third countries on the European Council’s “green list” will be permitted for essential purposes including work, provided the number of COVID-19 infections in a country does not exceed 8 per 100,000 people. Under this provision, travel between Finland and the following countries may resume: Algeria, Australia, Georgia, Japan, New Zealand, Rwanda, South Korea, Thailand, Tunisia, Uruguay and China (subject to confirmation of a reciprocity agreement between China and the EU). Travel from the following green list countries will remain prohibited because the number of COVID-19 infections exceeds the Finnish government’s criteria: Canada, Montenegro, Morocco and Serbia.

Border restrictions between Finland and Bulgaria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, France, Luxembourg, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Spain, Sweden and the U.K. as well as all other third countries will remain in place until at least 11 August, subject to review and approval from Finnish authorities. Additional details are available from the Finnish Border Guard here .

In Spain, as of 13 July face masks are required for anyone over 6 years of age in all indoor and outdoor public spaces in the Aragón and Andalusia regions in response to spikes in COVID-19 cases. Violators of the order in the Aragón region are subject to a maximum fine of 100 euros (115 U.S. dollars). Meanwhile, in the Andalusia region, individuals exercising outdoors, or those who have respiratory problems, mental health conditions or disabilities are exempt from the requirement.

In Georgia, the government has revised its entry requirements for foreign travelers into the country. Foreign nationals or residents of Estonia, France, Germany, Latvia and Lithuania on direct flights are now permitted to enter the country. Citizens and residents from other countries — including those with Georgian residence permits — remain prohibited from entering Georgia, except for business travelers who apply for and obtain an entry permit authorizing their travel. The application is available here . Eligible travelers will be required to undergo either a 14-day mandatory quarantine on arrival or take a COVID-19 test every 72 hours when in the country; the traveler will be responsible for all costs associated with either option. Georgia’s air and land borders remain closed to most foreign nationals until at least August, with the exception of citizens or residents of neighboring countries for the purposes of repatriation.

MIDDLE EAST AND NORTH AFRICA

Middle East and North Africa: In Algeria, the government on 10 July 2020 imposed a total ban on inter-provincial travel between the 29 provinces — including the capital Algiers — currently under a nightly curfew from 2000 to 0500 local time (1900 to 0400 UTC) through 17 July. In addition, the governor of Algiers announced that all public transportation services will be suspended on Fridays and Saturdays until further notice. Authorities have indicated this suspension may be applied to the other 28 provinces under curfew restrictions in the coming days.

In Jordan, the government announced that regular commercial international flights will remain suspended through at least 24 July. Previously, the government had stated that such operations would remain suspended until 14 July.

In Lebanon, the government extended the “general mobilization” until 2 August but lifted the nightly curfew on 10 July. Businesses such as academic institutions, cinemas and theaters and outdoor playgrounds must remain closed, and movement restrictions and public health regulations remain in place. Large public gatherings remain banned and individuals are required to wear face masks when outside their residences.

The Palestinian Authority extended the existing state of emergency in the West Bank through at least 4 August. The accompanying lockdown in the West Bank is scheduled to end on 14 July, but may be extended. Under the terms of the lockdown, many businesses are closed and residents’ movements are restricted, although certain businesses such as pharmacies and grocery stores are exempt.

SUB-SAHARAN AFRICA

Mali (Security threat level – 5): During the weekend of 10-12 July 2020, anti-government demonstrations continued daily in Bamako. The recent actions have been more coordinated and planned than prior activities, and are driven by the Mouvement du 5 Juin (M5 Movement). While the level of violence has subsided somewhat since widespread clashes broke out on 10 July, the potential for escalation remains a concern as protests are likely to continue in the near term.

As of 12 July, at least 11 people have been killed and an unknown number injured. In addition, authorities have arrested six M5 Movement leaders; however, unconfirmed reports suggest that the total may be as high as 20.

Protests continued in Bamako on 11 and 12 July when thousands of demonstrators gathered near the Monument de L’Independence, the Badalabougou district and elsewhere throughout the city, and in some cases erected roadblocks and burned tires along major roads and bridges to disrupt traffic. On 12 July protesters reportedly vandalized a building belonging to President Ibrahim Boubacar Keïta’s Rally for Mali party and clashed with security forces outside the residence of the president of the Constitutional Court. Sporadic clashes between protesters and riot police — including the deployment of tear gas and the use of live ammunition — occurred elsewhere throughout the weekend.

Shortly after 0000 local time/UTC on 12 July President Keïta announced the “de facto dissolution” of Mali’s Constitutional Court in an effort to end the ongoing protests. Keïta stated he would revoke the government decrees providing for the appointment of judges on the court, amounting to a dissolution of the body. He had previously announced plans to reform the court on 9 July. Court reforms are a key demand of the protesters and opposition politicians.

On 10 July thousands of anti-government protesters gathered outside the National Assembly and other government buildings in Bamako to demand the resignation of President Keïta. Protesters stormed the National Assembly building and temporarily occupied the state-owned television complex, disrupting the broadcast. Additionally, authorities reportedly shut down social media platforms in the country. The demonstrators also blocked transit on the Fahd bridge. Clashes between protesters and riot police left at least three people dead and an unknown number injured. There were also reports of protests and associated clashes in the cities of Kayes, Sikasso and Segou.

Sub-Saharan Africa: As of 13 July 2020, international flights in Gabon have resumed on a limited basis through Léon Mba Libreville International Airport (FOOL/LBV). Passengers are required to wear a mask and abide by coronavirus-related rules, including not leaving the airport after check-in. Arriving passengers must present a negative RT-PCR test taken within five days prior to their flight and must self-isolate for 14 days upon entry.

In the Gambia, the government extended the current national state of emergency through at least 15 July; however, restrictions on businesses and places of worship that officials eased during June will not be re-imposed. Existing restrictions on movement and public gatherings as well as the closure of air and land borders and academic institutions remain in place. Furthermore, all travelers eligible to enter the country by air or overland must undergo a 14-day mandatory quarantine in a government-designated facility at the expense of the government.

In Sierra Leone, the government amended existing coronavirus-related restrictions on 10 July. The nightly curfew is now in place from 2300 to 0500 local time/UTC. As of 13 July, religious facilities such as churches and mosques are permitted to reopen Meanwhile, operations at Freetown’s Lungi International Airport (GFLL/FNA) are expected to resume on July 22.

GOVERNMENT WARNINGS

Bulgaria (Security threat level – 3): On 11 July 2020, the U.S. Embassy in Sofia issued a Security Alert, which reads in part as follows:

“Various political groups are currently protesting and counter-protesting in and around the Council of Ministers. It is anticipated that recurring protests and counter-protests in the area will continue until at least July 16, 2020.

“U.S. citizens are recommended to avoid the areas impacted by ongoing protest activity at and around the Council of Ministers on Saturday, July 11, 2020, which are likely to continue until at least 11pm. For the July 11th protests, a sizeable number of participants are expected, to include counter-protest groups, and there is a possibility of violence. Protest groups may also attempt to march to Eagles Bridge and the Palace of Justice. Road closures and a significant police presence around the Council of Ministers will lead to heavier than normal traffic delays throughout downtown Sofia area until at least July 16, 2020. Please note that road closures and protest locations can change.”

The full text of the alert can be found here.
Sudan (Security threat level – 5): On 13 July 2020, the U.S. Embassy in Khartoum issued a message for U.S. citizens regarding COVID-19 restrictions, which reads in part as follows:

"Flights: Effective Monday, July 13, 2020, the Government of Sudan has partially re-opened Khartoum International Airport to international flights. As of July 13, 2020, Sudan has authorized limited international flights to/from Egypt, Turkey, and the United Arab Emirates. All domestic flights continue to be suspended.

"Please note that airlines and/or countries may require proof of a negative COVID-19 test. We encourage all passengers to check with their airline regarding testing and other requirements.

"For those traveling to Sudan, U.S. citizens of Sudanese origin will be subject to COVID-19 testing upon arrival. All other nationals, including U.S. citizens, must possess a certified negative polymerise chain reaction (PCR) test taken within 72 hours of their arrival.

"Curfew: Effective Wednesday, July 8, 2020, the Government of Sudan has moved to a 6:00pm to 6:00am curfew in Khartoum. This curfew will remain in effect until further notice. All persons are able to move freely, including across bridges, from 6:00am to 6:00pm local time. Public transportation will begin operating on July 8, 2020 in response to the loosened restrictions. From 6:00pm to 6:00am, movement, including across bridges, is restricted.

"We strongly recommend that all persons comply with the new curfew the government put in place. All persons in Sudan, regardless of nationality, are subject to the curfew as well as all local laws. If you are detained or arrested, the U.S. government can neither secure your release nor act as your legal representative. All U.S. Embassy personnel are required to comply with the curfew."

The full text of the alert is available here .