Worldview Security Update – July 27, 2020
27-Jul-20

AMERICAS

Argentina / Honduras (Security threat levels – 3 / 4): As of 26 July 2020, Argentina remains under lockdown measures that vary based on province or municipality until at least 2 August. The Buenos Aires metropolitan area, the provinces of Chaco and Jujuy, and the department of San Fernando are under comprehensive quarantine restrictions that prohibit residents from leaving their homes except to perform essential activities, such as to obtain food and medicine or to seek medical care. Mandatory social distancing requirements and restrictions on travel, public and private gatherings and outdoor activities are in place throughout most of the country, and face masks are mandatory at all times when outside the home.

In Honduras, the government has extended an existing nationwide lockdown and nightly curfew until at least 2 August. The measure was set to expire at 2300 local time on 26 July (0500 UTC on 27 July) before the extension. The curfew runs nightly from 1700 to 0900 local time. In addition, all previous restrictions remain in place, including movement controls based on national ID or passport number, operating hours for essential businesses during 0700-1700 local time, lockdowns on Saturdays and Sundays, and a delay in reopening certain business sectors in several municipalities, including Tegucigalpa and San Pedro Sula.

United States (Security threat level – 2): As of 29 July 2020, U.S. air carriers American Airlines and Southwest Airlines will no longer permit travelers to claim a medical exemption in order to avoid wearing a face mask aboard company aircraft or inside airport facilities operated by the airlines. Travelers observed not wearing a face mask affixed over their nose and mouth — other than while eating or drinking — will be prohibited from flying with the airlines for the duration of the mandate. Southwest Airlines’ policy applies to all travelers over the age of 2.

United States (Security threat level – 2): As of 2300 local time on 26 July 2020 (0900 UTC on 27 July), Hurricane Douglas had weakened into a Category 1 hurricane and was located approximately 50 mi (85 km) northeast of Lihue, Hawaii, and about 100 mi northwest of Honolulu, according to the U.S. Central Pacific Hurricane Center. At that time, Douglas was generating maximum sustained winds of 90 mph (150 kph), with higher gusts, and was moving west-northwest at 16 mph. The storm is forecast to continue along this track for at least the next 48 hours before turning further westward and slightly increasing in speed. While Douglas is expected to continue gradually weakening, it will remain at hurricane strength until passing northwest of Kauai on the evening of 27 July.

Douglas is forecast to bring strong winds, potentially hazardous surf conditions and rainfall accumulations of 3-6 in (76-152 mm) with locally higher totals over Kauai and the western portions of the main Hawaiian Islands through 27 July. Due to elevated terrain om the islands, heavy rainfall and high winds may cause severe localized flash floods and landslides, and hurricane conditions are anticipated across the northern portions of Kauai.

A Hurricane Warning is in effect for Kauai County, including the islands of Kauai and Niihau. A Tropical Storm Warning is in effect for a portion of the Papahanaumokuakea Marine National Monument from Nihoa, Hawaii, northwestward to French Frigate Shoals and Maro Reef. President Donald Trump has issued an emergency declaration for Hawaii and directed federal agencies to assist state and local authorities in coordinating disaster response efforts.

United States (Security threat level – 2): On 24 July 2020, the governor of Massachusetts issued a new travel order requiring all inbound travelers to observe a mandatory self-quarantine for 14 days upon arrival in the state. The mandate, which goes into effect on 1 August, also requires travelers to complete and submit a Massachusetts Travel Form . The order provides exceptions from both requirements to individuals traveling from states deemed low risk; a list of states currently designated as such is available here . The designation is subject to change based on the following two criteria: “average daily [COVID-19] cases per 100K below 6 AND positive test rate below 5%, both measured as 7 day rolling average.” Additionally, exemptions exist for those transiting through the state, commuting for work or school, for essential workers, for those seeking medical treatment and for military personnel. Any traveler with negative results from a COVID-19 PCR test obtained within 72 hours prior to arrival in Massachusetts is exempt from the quarantine requirement, a violation of which could result in a fine of up to 500 U.S. dollars The Massachusetts state government maintains detailed guidance regarding the new travel order, which is available here .

United States / Mexico (Security threat levels – 2 / 4): As of 0400 local time (0900 UTC) on 27 July 2020, Tropical Depression Hanna was located approximately 105 km (65 mi) north of Fresnillo, Mexico, and was moving west at 7 kph (5 mph), according to the U.S. National Hurricane Center. At that point, the storm was generating maximum sustained winds of 35 kph (25 mph), with higher gusts. On its current forecast track, Hanna is expected to continue tracking west across central Mexico and is forecast to dissipate later in the day. Additional rainfall of 25-51 mm (1-2 in) is expected for areas in the extreme south of Texas and in portions of the Mexican states of Durango, San Luis Potosi and Zacatecas; however, rainfall amounts of between 102-203 mm is forecast for areas of Mexico’s Coahuila, Nuevo Leon and Tamaulipas states. Potentially hazardous surf conditions will persist along much of the Texas coast and coastal areas of northeastern Mexico at least through mid-day. At present, more than 140,000 homes across at least 14 Texas counties are without power.

Over the 25-27 July weekend, Hurricane Hanna brought high winds, heavy rainfall, and flash flooding to southern Texas and northeastern Mexico. The storm made landfall near Port Mansfield, Texas, at approximately 1700 local time (2200 UTC) on 25 July as a Category 1 hurricane, with windspeeds of up to 90 mph. Significant flash flooding, downed trees and power lines, and average rainfall accumulations of between 4-6 inches with some areas reporting more than 12 inches — affected communities from the coast to farther inland as Hanna tracked westward, weakening into a tropical storm by early 26 July and a tropical depression by the evening. However, Hidalgo County, Texas, remained under a flash flood emergency, as large stretches of road were underwater.

More than 283,000 businesses and homes throughout southern Texas were without power on 26 July; the outage affected communities from Corpus Christi south to Brownsville. Several hospitals in especially hard-hit areas were damaged or forced to relocate patients — including those infected with COVID-19 — to higher ground due to floodwaters. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott issued a disaster declaration across 32 Texas counties.

ASIA

Asia: As of 27 July 2020, countries throughout the Asia-Pacific region are amending coronavirus-related policies in response to resurgent numbers of COVID-19 cases. In Hong Kong, the government announced plans to impose some of the strictest measures to date, and in Vietnam, authorities issued a stay-at-home order for the city of Danang. In Bangladesh, departing foreign nationals are now required to produce results of a negative COVID-19 test from an approved hospital within 72 hours of their travel date. In neighboring India, Katni district of Madhya Pradesh state is under lockdown through 2 August. In Cambodia, the government announced that all inbound commercial flights from Indonesia and Malaysia will be suspended until further notice beginning on 1 August.

Authorities in Hong Kong announced on 27 July the implementation of a series of coronavirus-related restrictions beginning on 29 July, which will remain in place for at least seven days. The new restrictions prohibit all dining services at restaurants and require residents to wear face masks when outside of their home. Additionally, public gatherings of more than two people are banned, while sports arenas, swimming pools and other such venues, will be closed.

In Vietnam, municipal officials in the city of Danang on 26 July re-imposed a stay-at-home order and other coronavirus-related restrictions until further notice after health officials confirmed 11 cases of locally transmitted COVID-19 infection. Residents may only leave their homes for essential purposes, such as to obtain food or medical care. In addition to mandatory social distancing, face masks are required in public, gatherings of more than two people are prohibited and all cultural, sporting and religious events or activities are suspended. Furthermore, tourist or recreational travel to Danang is suspended for at least 14 days; the government is also currently evacuating approximately 80,000 domestic tourists from the city.

As of 26 July, the Bangladesh government requires all foreign nationals departing from airports in Bangladesh to obtain and present a COVID-19 test certificate indicating a negative result issued within 72 hours of their travel date in order to depart the country. Exemptions exist for diplomats, members of humanitarian organizations, foreign nationals who have been in Bangladesh for fewer than 14 days and children under 10 years of age. All COVID-19 test certificates much be from a hospital approved by the Civil Aviation Authority of Bangladesh. A similar regulation went into effect for Bangladeshi nationals departing the country on 23 July.

In India, local officials in Katni district — located in central India’s Madhya Pradesh state — imposed a seven-day lockdown as of 2000 local time (1500 UTC) on 26 July. The lockdown is currently scheduled to expire at 0500 local time on 2 August. Under the lockdown order, all nonessential commercial establishments must close.

In Cambodia, the government is scheduled to suspend all inbound commercial flights from Indonesia and Malaysia beginning on 1 August. The temporary suspension follows reports that at least 108 COVID-19 cases recorded in Cambodia in recent weeks originated from travelers to the country aboard flights from Indonesian and Malaysian airports. The ban is in part intended to curb the spread of COVID-19 ahead of the Khmer New Year holiday — observed annually in April, although this year officials postponed the holiday until 17 August.

EUROPE

France / Portugal (Security threat levels – 3 / 2): On 24 July 2020, the French prime minister announced that travelers arriving from 16 countries considered high-risk for the spread of COVID-19 will undergo mandatory COVID-19 testing at the airport upon arrival, effective immediately. Travelers will not have to take a test if they are able to present negative test results prior to boarding their flight to France. The current high-risk countries are reportedly Algeria, Bahrain, Brazil, India, Israel, Kuwait, Madagascar, Oman, Panama, Peru, Qatar, Serbia, South Africa, the UAE and the U.S. Travelers who do test at the airport must self-quarantine at home with results expected within 48 hours.

In Portugal, the government on 24 July issued amended entry requirements for the autonomous regions of Madeira and the Azores. Travelers to Madeira and the island of Porto Santo must complete and submit a questionnaire within 48 hours of their travel date and must upload proof of a negative COVID-19 test taken within 72 hours of travel. Passengers who have not uploaded a COVID-19 test result will be administered a test at the port of entry and must self-isolate until results are provided. Additional information is available here . Travelers to the Azores must also complete and submit a health form and produce a negative COVID-19 test result within 72 hours of their travel date. In addition, travelers will be administered another COVID-19 test and be required to self-isolate until the results are determined. Travelers staying for more than seven days must take another COVID-19 test six days after the first. Additional information is available here .

MIDDLE EAST AND NORTH AFRICA

Israel (Security threat level – 3): On 27 July 2020, the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) ordered residents living near the country’s Blue Line – the border with Lebanon – to remain in their homes until further notice due to a clash with Lebanese Hizballah militants . IDF officials later stated that at least three Hizballah militants attempted to enter Israeli-controlled territory near Mount Dov when a gunfight broke out. Israeli authorities stated that there were no casualties amongst IDF personnel; it remains unknown if Hizballah suffered casualties. The attack was reportedly a response to an Israeli airstrike in Syria the previous week that killed a Hizballah fighter in Syria.

Middle East and North Africa: As of 27 July 2020, governments in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region are continuing to revise and extend restrictions in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Details regarding restrictions in Algeria, Iraq, Lebanon and Morocco are available below.

In Algeria, the government extended existing lockdown restrictions in 29 wilayas (provinces) — including the capital Algiers — and imposed a nightly curfew from 2000 to 0500 local time (1900 to 0400 UTC) until at least 12 August. Under the extension, a ban on inter-provincial public and private vehicle traffic remains in effect as well as a weekend suspension of all public transportation services in all 29 wilayas. The Algerian Council of Ministers strengthened protections for health care personnel amid an increase in incidents of violence directed against them. The revised law provides for prison sentences from 1 to 3 years for verbal assaults, 3 to 10 years for physical assaults, and life imprisonment in the event a health care worker is killed during an assault.

In Iraq, the government is scheduled to impose a lockdown from 30 July through 9 August in all areas except the Kurdistan region, and is aimed at preventing the spread of COVID-19, particularly during the Eid al-Adha holiday. Officials did not comment on specific details of the lockdown orders.

In Lebanon, reports emerged that the country will impose two separate lockdowns in an effort to control the spread of COVID-19 in the country. The first lockdown will begin on 30 July and last until 3 August. The second lockdown will begin on 6 August and last until 10 August. Officials have not announced additional details at this time.

In Morocco, the Ministry of the Interior and the Ministry of Health issued a joint statement announcing that travel to and from Berrechid, Casablanca, Fez, Marrakech, Meknes, Settat, Tangier and Tetouan has been prohibited since 0000 local time (2300 UTC) on 26 July until further notice. The travel ban does not affect those with urgent medical needs or individuals with mission orders, provided they obtain special travel authorization from local authorities. It also does not apply to cargo.

SUB-SAHARAN AFRICA

Sub-Saharan Africa: On 22 July 2020, Gambia’s President Adama Barrow lifted a nationwide state of emergency and associated restrictions on businesses and movement in an effort to restart economic activities amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Barrow stated that lifting the mandates would enable residents to resume economic and social activities without undue restriction, although a number of health measures will remain in place, including the mandatory wearing of face masks when in public spaces, inside buildings or on transportation, and social distancing requirements. In addition, air, land and sea borders remain closed and all travelers eligible to enter the country under a narrow set of exemptions must undergo a 14-day self-quarantine on arrival.

In Mali, the government reopened the country’s air border on 25 July and announced plans to reopen land borders on 31 July. Prime Minister Boubou Cissé also announced measures aimed at curbing the spread of the coronavirus, which include requiring inbound passengers to present a certificate of non-contagion, submit to a COVID-19 test upon arrival, and potentially quarantine. Additionally, thermal scanners measuring body temperatures of inbound travelers have been installed at Bamako’s Modibo Keita International Airport (GABS/BKO). Individuals must wear face masks in public throughout Mali. Cissé further stated that nonessential businesses will be permitted to operate during 0800-1600 local time/UTC, beginning on 1 August.

In the Republic of Congo, the government extended the country’s ongoing coronavirus-related state of health emergency until at least 19 August. The government extended nightly curfew hours in major metropolitan areas — including Brazzaville and Pointe-Noire — to 2000-0500 local time (1900-0400 UTC) effective 28 July. International commercial flights remain suspended, and government officials stated that they look to reopen borders on 20 August, provided that adequate health measures are in places. Conversely, domestic passenger flights and road travel have resumed nationwide. Face masks are required in all public places as well as adherence to social distancing measures and hygiene requirements.

GOVERNMENT WARNINGS

Bangladesh (Security threat level – 4): On 26 July 2020, the U.S. Embassy in Dhaka issued a Health and Security Alert regarding the Eid ul-Azha holiday, which reads in part as follows:

"Event: The Eid ul-Azha will be commemorated on August 1, and the Government of Bangladesh will celebrate it as a national holiday beginning July 31 and ending August 2.

"The Embassy reminds U.S. citizens to remain vigilant during the holiday period, make sensible security and health-related decisions, and exercise caution as you go about your daily activities.

"To limit transmission of COVID-19, the Government of Bangladesh Ministry of Health and Family Welfare has recommended restrictions on travel from four districts (Dhaka, Narayanganj, Gazipur and Chattogram) to other areas during the Eid holidays. The Government of Bangladesh also requires mandatory mask wearing when outside of our homes.”

The full text of the alert is available here .

Spain (Security threat level – 3): On 25 July 2020, the U.K. Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) issued updated travel advice for Spain, which reads in part as follows: 
“From 25 July, the FCO advises against all non-essential travel to mainland Spain based on the current assessment of COVID-19 risks. Only the Canary Islands (Tenerife, Fuerteventura, Gran Canaria, Lanzarote, La Palma, La Gomera, El Hierro and La Graciosa) and Balearic Islands (Mallorca, Menorca, Ibiza, and Formentera) are exempt from the FCO advice against all non-essential international travel.

“This advice is based on evidence of increases in cases of COVID-19 in several regions, but particularly in Aragon, Navarra and Catalonia (which include the cities of Zaragoza, Pamplona and Barcelona).

“The FCO is not advising those already travelling in Spain to leave at this time. Travellers should follow the advice of the local authorities on how best to protect themselves and others, including any measures that they bring in to control the virus. If you are returning from mainland Spain after 25 July you will be required to quarantine on your return to the UK, but the FCO is not advising you to cut short your visit. You should contact your tour operator or airline if you have any questions about your return journey.”