Worldview Security Update – July 22, 2020
22-Jul-20

AMERICAS

Colombia / Dominican Republic / Honduras (Security threat levels – 4 / 3 / 4): On 21 July 2020, Colombia’s national government rejected a request by the city’s mayor for a 14-day more restrictive lockdown of the capital Bogotá to contain a spike in cases of COVID-19. According to Colombia’s health minister, a lockdown would not have positive effects as the city has shown stability in its mortality rate, confirmed cases and intensive care unit (ICU) occupancy. Following the national government’s decision, the mayor of Bogotá adjusted the schedule of rotational quarantines in neighborhoods with high numbers of COVID-19 cases. During the lockdown periods, one person per household is allowed to leave their residence for groceries and medication, nonessential businesses are closed, and a nightly curfew is in effect during 2000-0500 local time (0100-1000 UTC). The Ciudad Bolívar, San Cristóbal, Rafael Uribe Uribe, Chapinero, Santa Fe, Usme, Mártires and Tunjuelito neighborhoods remain under quarantine until 26 July. The Antonio Nariño, Bosa, Fontibón, Kennedy and Puente Aranda neighborhoods will be under quarantine from 23 July to 6 August, while Suba, Engativá and Barrios Unidos will be under quarantine during 6-14 August.

In the Dominican Republic, nightly nationwide curfews commenced on 21 July. The 15 provinces with the highest COVID-19 case numbers — which include Distrito Nacional, where Santo Domingo is located, and the provinces of Puerto Plata and La Romana — have a nightly curfew in effect from 1900 to 0500 local time (2300 to 0900 UTC) Monday through Friday and from 1700 to 0500 local time on Saturdays and Sundays. The remaining provinces have a nightly curfew in effect from 2000 to 0500 local time. Curfew hours are subject to change based on the government’s evaluation of each province’s epidemiological status. Additional information outlined by the government of the Dominican Republic, which includes a list of provinces with their respective curfew hours, is available (in Spanish) here .

In Honduras, authorities have extended the nationwide 24-hour curfew until at least 2300 local time on 26 July (0500 UTC on 27 July). Under the curfew, residents are permitted to leave their homes on certain days based on the last digit of their national ID or passport number during 0900-1700 local time (1500-2300 UTC). Authorized businesses — including banks, gas stations, hotels, hardware stores, hospitals, pharmacies and supermarkets — are allowed to operate during 0700-1700 local. Residents may not leave their homes on Saturdays and Sundays, during which time public transportation is suspended and all businesses are closed. Additionally, the government suspended the reopening of nonessential businesses in the municipalities of Atlántida, Choluteca, Colón, Comayagua, Distrito Central (which includes the capital Tegucigalpa), Lempira, Olancho, San Pedro Sula and Santa Bárbara; only essential businesses are permitted to operate in these areas. Outside of these municipalities, sectors authorized to reopen under phase 1 of the national reopening strategy may resume operations.

United States (Security threat level – 2): At 2212 local time on 21 July 2020 (0612 UTC on 22 July), a 7.8 magnitude earthquake struck approximately 60 mi (95 km) south-southeast of Perryville, Alaska, and about 530 mi south-southwest of Anchorage, according to the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS). The quake occurred at a depth of 17 mi. The National Tsunami Warning Center issued a tsunami warning for coastal areas situated within 185 mi from the epicenter — including Kodiak, Alaska, the Alaska Peninsula, and the Aleutian Islands archipelago — prompting hundreds of residents to evacuate their homes and flee to higher ground. The tsunami warning was in place for more than two hours until officials determined that the tsunami was no longer a threat. Strong shaking was reported in communities throughout the Alaskan islands, and tremors could be felt as far away as Anchorage. There have been at least 11 recorded aftershocks ranging from magnitudes 3.9 to 6.1, according to the USGS. There were no reports of significant damage or injuries.

United States (Security threat level – 2): On 21 July 2020, officials in the northeastern U.S. states of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut expanded an existing 14-day self-quarantine requirement to include individuals traveling from the following 10 states: Alaska, Delaware, Indiana, Maryland, Missouri, Montana, North Dakota, Nebraska, Virginia and Washington. Minnesota was removed from the list of designated states, whereas Alaska and Delaware — which were previously removed — have been re-added to the list, which currently contains a total of 31 states. States that record “a seven-day rolling average, of positive [COVID-19] tests in excess of 10%, or number of positive cases exceeding 10 per 100,000 residents” will be added to the list. Conversely, states that no longer meet the criteria will be removed from the list.

The New York state government maintains the list of 31 designated states and provides additional guidance regarding the COVID-19 Travel Advisory, which is available here .
Analyst Comment: Health officials in the U.S. recorded at least 60,000 new COVID-19 cases for a seventh consecutive day, and on 21 July more than 65,000 new cases were registered and the death toll exceeded more than 1,000. COVID-19 case numbers have risen sharply over recent weeks in populous western and southern states, including California, Florida and Texas. More than 3.9 million cases, with at least 142,080 fatalities, have been reported in the country, according to the latest statistics. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) maintains that the real number of coronavirus infections in the country is significantly higher — between 2 to 13 times higher — than the registered number of cases. U.S. President Donald Trump on 21 July warned that the pandemic will likely worsen and urged residents to employ sanitary measures, wear face coverings and practice social distancing.

ASIA

China (Security threat level – 3): On the afternoon of 22 July 2020, an Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 777 caught fire at Shanghai Pudong International Airport (ZSPD/PVG). The aircraft reportedly arrived from Brussels, Belgium, and was preparing for a cargo flight to São Paulo, Brazil, when the fire broke out. The blaze destroyed the aircraft, but there were no reports of casualties. Authorities have launched an investigation to determine the cause of the fire. Flight operations at the facility remained unaffected.

Malaysia / Thailand / Japan (Security threat levels – 3 / 3 / 1): In Malaysia, commencing on 24 July all inbound travelers, including Malaysian nationals, will be required to quarantine for 14 days at designated facilities upon arrival and be responsible for all associated costs. Currently, travelers who test negative for COVID-19 upon arrival may quarantine at home for two weeks. Authorities stated that the policy change is associated with multiple reports of individuals who breached home quarantine orders, resulting in at least three clusters of local transmissions.

In Thailand, the government has extend an existing nationwide state of emergency through 31 August. The measure was set to expire on 31 July. During the state of emergency, the government retains the authority to limit public gatherings and impose additional restrictions with little advance notice. Authorities at the Center for COVID-19 Situation Administration (CSSA) announced that they had approved in principle to allow specific foreign nationals to enter the country, including business representatives, diplomats, migrant workers, medical tourists and film crews. However, implementation of rules for entry will be addressed by other government agencies. Conversely, officials have continued allowing businesses previously classified as being at high risk of COVID-19 transmission to reopen. The previous day authorities extended existing visas for all foreign travelers through 26 September and suspended a requirement for foreign nationals to report their address every 90 days.

In Japan, Prime Minister Abe Shinzo announced on 22 July that foreign residents will be allowed to re-enter the country. However, it remains unknown if the order takes immediate effect. The government is also engaged in negotiations with at least 12 countries in the Asia-Pacific region — including China, Taiwan, Vietnam, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand — to ease travel restrictions.

EUROPE

Austria (Security threat level – 2): On 21 July 2020, authorities mandated the use of face masks in banks, retail outlets, places of worship and supermarkets, effective 24 July; a place of worship must close if a member of the congregation tests positive for COVID-19. Additionally, travelers from areas with high numbers of COVID-19 cases — which currently include Albania, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Kosovo, Montenegro, Northern Macedonia and Serbia — must present a negative PCR test result from a certified laboratory.

MIDDLE EAST AND NORTH AFRICA

Israel (Security threat level – 3): On 21 July 2020, police officers clashed with demonstrators outside Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s official residence in Jerusalem. Reports indicate that several thousand demonstrators gathered outside Netanyahu’s residence to protest his handling of the country’s economy, which is performing poorly due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Police officers used water cannons and horse-mounted units to disperse the protesters and arrested at least 34 people on charges ranging from disorderly conduct to assaulting the officers. There were no reports of casualties.

Jordan / Oman (Security threat levels – 3 / 2): On 21 July 2020, Jordanian officials extended the country’s ban on regularly scheduled commercial flights until at least 4 August. The ban does not include repatriation flights and reports indicate that Turkish Airlines and Qatar Airways will continue to conduct repatriation flights.

In Oman, authorities are set to impose a nationwide lockdown from 25 July to 8 August due to a recent surge in new COVID-19 cases. A nationwide nightly curfew from 1900 to 0600 local time (1500 to 0200 UTC) will also be in effect, during which time residents must remain in their homes and all businesses and public spaces will be closed. Residents must wear a face mask outdoors and comply with social distancing measures in businesses and on public and private transportation. In addition, travel between governorates and provinces will be restricted. Police officers will set up checkpoints to prevent unauthorized movement and authorities will increase patrols in urban areas during curfew hours. All public and private gatherings will be prohibited. The lockdown period will overlap the Muslim Eid al-Adha holiday, which runs from 30 July to 3 August in Oman.

SUB-SAHARAN AFRICA

Sub-Saharan Africa: On 22 July 2020, Kenya Airways announced plans to suspend direct flights to the U.S. and China once international flights resume in August. Travelers originating in the U.S. and China will have to transit to Kenya via Europe or the Middle East. According to airline officials, total routes have been halved and the frequency of flights to certain destinations reduced in order to contend with lower demand amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

In Zimbabwe, additional nationwide coronavirus-related restrictions were implemented on 22 July due to a recent surge in new COVID-19 cases. Officials are set to impose a nationwide nightly curfew from 1800 to 0600 local time (1600 to 0400 UTC). In addition, all nonessential businesses may operate only during limited hours from 0800 to 1500 local time daily. Unemployed residents are required to remain in their homes and restrict outside travel to essential activities, such as to procure food and medicine or to seek medical care. All public gatherings are prohibited. These measures are expected to last until further notice, and violators will reportedly face severe punishments, although specifics were not provided. Critics of the new restrictions allege President Emmerson Mnangagwa was using the COVID-19 pandemic as a pretext to stifle dissent and prevent protests scheduled for 31 July.

GOVERNMENT WARNINGS

Barbados (Security threat level – 1): On 22 July 2020, the U.K. Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) issued updated travel advice for Barbados, which reads in part as follows: 

“The Government of Barbados advises that all travellers present a COVID-19 negative test result on arrival that meets their entry requirements whenever possible. You should check the protocols to confirm and understand all requirements. The test should be a COVID-19 PCR antigen test, undertaken at an accredited laboratory no more than 72 hours in advance of your flight’s departure. All passengers are also required to submit an Embarkation/Disembarkation (ED) card 24 hours prior to travel, to which they should upload their negative test result.

“If you arrive in Barbados without a qualifying negative test, you will be subjected to a mandatory test on arrival and will be required to quarantine until the result is received.”

Cayman Islands (Security threat level – 1): On 22 July 2020, the U.K. Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) issued updated travel advice for the Cayman Islands, which reads in part as follows: “Airports in the Cayman Islands are closed to all inbound and outbound international passenger flights until further notice. Only people, who have been pre-authorised may enter the Cayman Islands at this time and they are subject to mandatory quarantine for a period of 14 days in a government facility.”
China (Security threat level – 3): On 21 July 2020, the U.K. Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) issued updated travel advice for Hong Kong regarding changes to entry requirements, which reads in part as follows:

“From 25 July, travellers arriving from high-risk destinations (i.e. Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, Nepal, Pakistan, the Philippines and South Africa) will be permitted to spend quarantine in a hotel, provided that they can provide confirmation, in English or Chinese, of a room reservation in a hotel in Hong Kong for no less than 14 days, starting on the day of their arrival. However, travellers from these destinations will also be required to provide a letter, certified by a laboratory or health institution, verifying that they have undergone, and received a negative test result for COVID-19 no more than 72 hours prior to their departure. The letter should bear the name and identity card or passport number of the traveller. Travellers will also be required to provide a letter, in English or Chinese, issued by the relevant authority of the government of the place in which the laboratory or healthcare institution is located, certifying that the laboratory or healthcare institution is recognised or approved by the government.”

The full announcement from the Hong Kong government can be found here .

Philippines (Security threat level – 4): On 21 July 2020, the U.K. Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) issued updated travel advice regarding entry requirements, which reads in part as follows:

“From 1 August 2020, foreign nationals with long-term visas will be permitted to enter the Philippines subject to the following conditions:

  • Must have valid and existing visas at the time of entry. However, no new entry visa will be accepted;
  • Have made a booking with an accredited quarantine facility; and be subject to Covid-19 testing requirements.

“Foreign nationals wishing to enter the Philippines must hold a visa under the following categories, otherwise they risk being turned away at the port of entry:

  • a non-immigrant visa issued under Section 13 of the Immigration act (Section 13 series visa: a,b,c,d,e,g);
  • those who acquired resident status under Republic Act 7919 or Alien Social Integration Act (RA 7919 visa);
  • those who availed of Executive Order 324 or Alien Legalization Program (EO 324 visa);

and native-born foreign nationals (Native-born visa).”