Worldview Security Update – July 23, 2020
23-Jul-20

AMERICAS

Chile (Security threat level – 2): On 22 July 2020, Chilean senators voted to approve a controversial bill that would allow citizens to withdraw 10% of their pension savings amid increasing unrest in the capital Santiago. The bill — approved by a 29-13 vote with one abstention — will return to the lower house Chamber of Deputies where it is likely to pass a final vote. The Chamber of Deputies first approved the bill on 15 July after a night of episodic unrest and large protests in Santiago in support of the proposed legislation. Overnight on 14-15 July, coordinated attacks occurred against police stations in the neighborhoods of Huechuraba, Cerro Navia, Estación Central, Maipú and Peñalolén. Overnight on 22-23 July, pockets of unrest were also reported in the neighborhoods of Pudahuel, La Florida, Puente Alto, Cerro Navia, Macul, Peñalolén, Maipú and Central Station, although the motives for these events remain unclear. Officials noted that at least seven individuals were detained overnight on 22-23 July. 

Analyst Comment: More protests in urban centers are likely if President Sebastian Piñera attempts to stymie the bill’s passage. Piñera opposes the pension bill, although he was unable to sway legislators to vote against the measure. The president has the power to veto the bill, which would send the measure back to Congress and likely spark a new wave of anti-government protests across Chile. The country’s pension system — which has been critiqued for low payouts — was at the center of Chile’s widespread unrest in late 2019.

Lesser Antilles / Barbados (Security threat levels – 1 / 1): As of 0800 local time (1200 UTC) on 23 July 2020, Tropical Storm Gonzalo was located approximately 1,470 km (910 mi) east of the southern Windward Islands and was traveling west at 19 kph (12 mph), according to the U.S. National Hurricane Center. At that time, the storm was generating maximum sustained winds of 100 kph with higher gusts. On its current path, the storm is expected to strengthen to become a hurricane later on 23 July and approach the Windward Islands late on 24 July or early on 25 July. The storm is forecast to bring strong winds and heavy rainfall between 50-125 mm (2-5 in), with isolated maximums of up to 205 mm, to Barbados and the Windward Islands. The heavy rains could cause flash flooding in the affected areas. At present, a Hurricane Watch is in effect in Barbados and St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

Panama (Security threat level – 3): On 21 July 2020, authorities announced new movement restrictions for the provinces of Chiriquí, Colón and Bocas del Toro. The three provinces will be under total quarantine — during which residents are not permitted to leave their homes — on Saturdays and Sundays, while Monday through Friday a nightly curfew from 1900 to 0500 local time (2300 to 0900 UTC) remains in effect. Since 1 July, COVID-19 case numbers have grown in Chiriquí, Colón and Bocas del Toro by 98%, 121% and 71%, respectively.

ASIA

China / Turkmenistan / India (Security threat levels – 3 / 3 / 3): On 23 July 2020, authorities in Hong Kong stated that they will require residents returning from the U.S. and Kazakhstan to quarantine in hotels instead of at home and provide proof that they are not infected with COVID-19 prior to boarding a flight back to Hong Kong as of 29 July. Additionally, authorities imposed a requirement for residents to wear masks in all indoor public sites — effective immediately.

In Turkmenistan, authorities have implemented a series of restrictions to prevent an outbreak of COVID-19 in the country, according to reports on 22 July. Large shopping malls, marketplaces, theaters, parks and sporting venues have been closed since 2 July and are not set to reopen until 1 August. Cafeterias, fast food outlets and restaurants may offer delivery services only. Authorities also urge residents to wear face coverings while outdoors due to weather concerns. Quarantine areas have been established in some areas of the country and industrial facilities are shut down. While authorities maintain that COVID-19 is not present in the country, anecdotal reports indicate that it is relatively widespread.

In India, authorities in the central Madhya Pradesh state are set to place the state capital Bhopal under lockdown from 2000 local time (1430 UTC) on 24 July through 3 August amid a notable increase in COVID-19 cases. Under the order, residents may only leave their homes for essential purposes, such as to obtain food or seek medical treatment. Additionally, travel outside of the city will not be permitted. Additionally, a 14-day statewide lockdown went into effect in the northeastern Manipur state on 23 July. Residents will only be able to leave their homes for essential purposes. On 22 July authorities in Indian-administered Kashmir imposed a lockdown in every district of Kashmir Division except for Bandipora until 27 July.

EUROPE

Portugal (Security threat level – 2): According to reports from 20 July 2020, the government has been issuing fines to passengers arriving from the U.S. or countries outside of the EU and passport-free Schengen Zone without an RT-PCR COVID-19 test administered within 72 hours prior to arrival in Portugal. Inbound travelers without a negative test face fines ranging from 500 euros (approximately 575 U.S. dollars) to 2,000 euros, and airlines transporting passengers without a test face fines of up to 3,000 euros. Fines do not apply to airports in the autonomous regions of Madeira and Azores.

SUB-SAHARAN AFRICA

Democratic Republic Of The Congo (Security threat level – 4): On 22 July 2020, President Felix Tshisekedi lifted an existing coronavirus-related state of health emergency, which had been in place since 24 March. Effective immediately, shops, banks, restaurants, bars and other nonessential businesses are permitted to reopen with social distancing and other health measures in place. Schools and universities are scheduled to reopen on 3 August, while religious facilities, stadiums and airports are expected to reopen on 15 August. All international borders are also scheduled to reopen on 15 August. Tshisekedi warned citizens that the lifting of the state of health emergency does not indicate that the pandemic is over, and urged all individuals to continue practicing social distancing, handwashing, wearing face masks in public and monitoring temperatures, among other precautions.

GOVERNMENT WARNINGS

Chile (Security threat level – 2): On 22 July 2020, the U.S. Embassy in Santiago issued a Health Alert regarding adjustments to existing city-level quarantine measures, which reads in part as follows:

"As of July 22, the Ministry of Health has confirmed 336,402 cases of COVID-19 in Chile. The government of Chile has implemented measures to limit the spread of COVID-19. The following new measures were announced by the Chilean government on July 22:

  • Extension of quarantine for Gran Santiago as well as six nearby comunas until Friday, July 31
  • Extension of quarantines for the following additional comunas until Friday, July 31: Iquique (I Region), Alto Hospicio (I Region), Pozo Almonte (I Region), Tocopilla (II Region), Mejillones (II Region), Calama (II Region), Antofagasta (II Region), San Felipe (V Region), Los Andes (V Region), Valparaíso (V Region), Viña del Mar (V Region), San Antonio (V Region), Quillota (V Region), San José de Maipo (RM), Calera de Tango (RM), Peñaflor (RM), Talagante (RM), El Monte (RM), Melipilla (RM), Curacaví (RM), Tiltil (RM), Rancagua (VI Region), Graneros (VI Region), Machalí (VI Region) and Curicó (VII Region)
  • Lifting of sanitary cordons for the comunas of Lota and Coronel beginning Friday, July 24 at 10:00 pm

"For a full list of measures implemented by the Chilean government, please visit our Embassy webpage on COVID-19. This webpage is updated daily."

Czech Republic (Security threat level – 2): On 23 July 2020, the U.K. Foreign and Commonwealth office (FCO) issued updated travel advice for the Czech Republic, which reads in part as follows: 

“There are few social distancing restrictions in Prague. It is mandatory to cover your mouth and nose when on the Prague Metro and in all Czech airports, and you should adhere to social distancing of 2m where possible when in public.

“Outside of Prague, there are some localised restrictions in place in response to local outbreaks of Coronavirus.”

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

“Entry or transit through the Turks and Caicos Islands is permitted as of 22 July 2020. Anyone arriving to the Turks and Caicos Islands is required to obtain pre-travel authorisation via the Turks and Caicos Islands Assured Portal . This requires evidence of a negative COVID-19 test from a reputable facility taken less than five days prior to arrival in the Turks and Caicos Islands, proof of health/travel insurance with COVID-19 cover and a completed health screening questionnaire. All visitors will be required to wear masks on arrival to the Turks and Caicos Islands.”