Worldview Security Update – July 31, 2020
31-Jul-20

AMERICAS

Bahamas / Dominican Republic / Haiti / United States (Security threat levels – 2 / 3 / 4 / 2): As of 0800 local time (1200 UTC) on 31 July 2020, Hurricane Isaias — a Category 1 hurricane — was located approximately 50 km (30 mi) northwest of Great Inagua Island in the Bahamas, and about 545 km southeast of Nassau, according to the U.S. National Hurricane Center. At that time, the storm was moving northwest at 28 kph (17 mph) and had maximum sustained winds of 130 kph, with higher gusts. On its current path, Isaias is forecast to pass over the southeastern Bahamas later on 31 July and reach near the central Bahamas overnight on 31 July-1 August. The hurricane will then move over the northwestern Bahamas and will reach near or east of the Florida Peninsula in the U.S. on 1-2 August.

Hurricane Isaias is expected to produce approximately 100-200 mm (4-8 in) of rain, with isolated maximums of up to 250 mm, throughout the Bahamas, Dominican Republic, northern Haiti and the Turks and Caicos Islands. Rainfall accumulations of 25-50 mm are forecast for Cuba, with isolated maximums of up to 102 mm. Rainfall totals between 50-100 mm, with isolated maximums of 150 mm, are forecast for areas from southern to central Florida from 31 July to 3 August. The rainfall may cause life-threatening mudslides and flooding. Dangerous swells are expected for portions of these areas through 1 August.

A Hurricane Warning is in effect for most of the Bahamas. A Tropical Storm Warning is in effect for the Dominican Republic and the Turks and Caicos Islands. Meanwhile in the U.S., a Tropical Storm Watch is in effect for the eastern coast of Florida from Ocean Reef north to Sebastian Inlet in addition to the Lake Okeechobee region.

Cuba (Security threat level – 2): As of 30 July 2020, the Cuban government has extended its suspension of international commercial flights into and out of the country through 15 August. Exceptions remain in place for tourists with chartered aircraft that operate directly to airports in Cayo Coco, Cayo Cruz, Cayo Guillermo, Cayo Santa Maria or Cayo Largo del Sur. Cuban nationals and permanent residents are permitted to fly into Havana and must quarantine in a government facility for 14 days upon arrival. Humanitarian and repatriation flights also continue to operate. Maritime borders remain closed to foreign vessels until further notice.

ASIA

China (Security threat level – 3): On 31 July 2020, Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam announced the postponement of planned Legislative Council (LegCo) elections to 5 September 2021, due to coronavirus-related health concerns; the elections were previously scheduled for 6 September 2020. The announcement comes one day after 12 pro-democracy lawmakers were disqualified from running in the poll. Critics have denounced the moves as efforts to circumvent the electoral process following the passage of the controversial national security law.

Analyst Comment: As the epidemiological situation improves in Hong Kong and coronavirus-related restrictions are relaxed, the resurgence of anti-government protests in response to Lam’s announcement remains possible.

Philippines / India / Vietnam (Security threat levels – 4 / 3 / 3): On 31 July 2020, Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte extended the General Community Quarantine (GCQ) in effect for the Metro Manila area until at least 15 August. Commencing on 1 August, businesses designated as nonessential — including gyms, internet cafes and review centers — will be allowed to reopen at 30% capacity. Aesthetic services, such as grooming shops, may also reopen.

In India, the Director General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) announced the extension of a ban on international commercial passenger flights through 31 August. However, cargo flights and any other flights approved by the DGCA are exempt from the order. In related developments, authorities in Himachal Pradesh extended lockdowns in containment zones through 31 August. A comprehensive list of containment zones can be found here . Officials also announced that the statewide nightly curfew will be lifted as of 1 August.

In Vietnam, authorities on 30 July reimposed coronavirus-related restrictions in multiple areas of the country — which will remain in place until further notice — in response to rising numbers of local infections. Authorities in Dak Lak province suspended nonessential services and implemented a ban on gatherings of more than 20 people. In Quan Nam and Quang Ngai provinces, the government closed beaches and some nonessential businesses. Residents nationwide who visited Da Nang — the epicenter of the current outbreak — are required to complete a health questionnaire and submit to a COVID-19 test. In Hanoi, bars and other entertainment venues are closed until further notice.

EUROPE

Iceland / Luxembourg / United Kingdom (Security threat levels – 1 / 1 / 3): On 30 July 2020, Icelandic Prime Minister Katrín Jakobsdóttir announced new nationwide restrictions due to a rise in cases of COVID-19 in the country. As of 31 July, gatherings of more than 100 people are banned, excluding children born in 2005 or later. Additionally, social distancing of at least 2 m (6 ft) will be required in all public spaces and face masks are required on public transportation. All travelers arriving from areas designated as high risk with plans to remain in Iceland for at least 10 days will be required to complete a second test for COVID-19 four to six days after an initial test administered upon arrival.

As of 31 July, travelers arriving in the U.K. from Luxembourg are required to self-isolate for 14 days after the U.K. government removed Luxembourg from an existing list of countries that are exempt from a 14-day self-quarantine requirement for arriving travelers. U.K. officials cited a steady increase in COVID-19 cases in Luxembourg over the past month as a motive to remove the latter from the exempt list. Meanwhile, U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced that face mask regulations will be expanded in England to include additional venues, such as cinemas, galleries and museums, as of 8 August. Johnson also halted further easing of restrictions, including the reopening of casinos, bowling alleys, indoor theatres and concerts, until at least 15 August.

MIDDLE EAST AND NORTH AFRICA

Libya (Security threat level – 5): On 31 July 2020, Libya’s internationally recognized Government of National Accord (GNA) announced a five-day nationwide lockdown in areas under its control beginning at 1600 local time (1400 UTC) on 31 July through 5 August, coinciding with the Eid al-Adha holiday. During the lockdown, residents must remain in their homes except to perform essential activities — such as to procure food and medicine or to seek medical care — but must travel on foot. In addition, all travel between cities and regions will be prohibited. After the lockdown, a nightly curfew will be in effect from 2100 to 0600 local time until at least 10 August.

SUB-SAHARAN AFRICA

Nigeria (Security threat level – 5): Overnight on 30-31 July 2020, a series of explosions occurred in Nigeria’s northeastern city of Maiduguri, the capital of Borno state, which is located approximately 850 km (530 mi) from the capital Abuja. The head of security for Borno state’s Emergency Management Agency stated that four rocket-propelled grenades were fired from outside the city and landed on separate sites. Eyewitness reports note that the explosions occurred in a busy part of the city with traders and residents commuting home. At least three people were killed and six others were wounded in the attack. The Boko Haram Islamist militant group is the likeliest perpetrator, although no group has claimed responsibility for the attack as yet.

Somalia (Security threat level – 5): According to reports from 31 July 2020, the government of Somalia announced that it will lift a ban on international flights as of 3 August, which was initially imposed after the country recorded its first COVID-19 case in March. Ministers also announced that schools and universities would resume on 15 August.

GOVERNMENT WARNINGS

Cabo Verde (Security threat level – 2): On 30 July 2020, the U.S. Embassy in Praia issued an updated Health Alert, which reads in part as follows: 

“The Government of Cabo Verde announced on July 27 that limited ‘essential’ international flights will resume as of August 1, 2020.  Flights from Praia and Mindelo to Portugal will reportedly be operated by TAP, SATA, and Cabo Verde Airlines.  A negative COVID-19 RT-PCR test is required within 72 hours of boarding a flight.  Please contact the airlines directly for flight details, to make a reservation, and to confirm testing requirements.” 

Chad (Security threat level – 5): On 31 July 2020, the U.K. Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) issued updated travel advice for Chad, which reads in part as follows: 

“From 1 August, all international travellers will be required to present a negative COVID 19 test certificate dated no more than 72 hours prior to arrival in Chad, surrender their passport, quarantine at home for 7 days and take a COVID-19 test on the 7th day. Passports will be returned upon presentation of the COVID-19 test receipt.” 

Romania (Security threat level – 2): On 30 July 2020, the U.S. Embassy in Bucharest issued a Health Alert regarding coronavirus restrictions in Romania, which reads in part as follows:

“On July 29, the Government of Romania approved new restrictions to prevent the spread of COVID-19. These measures require the mandatory use of face coverings in public outdoor spaces such as bus stops, open air markets, outdoor events, crowded urban and tourist areas, and religious sites where people cannot practice social distancing. This is in addition to the wearing of protective masks in closed public spaces and excludes people who are physically active and children under five years old. County-level authorities will determine which areas will be subject to the requirement.”

Additional details including entry requirements and quarantine regulations, are available here .