AMERICAS Ecuador (Security threat level – 3): On the evening...
Americas: As of 15 June 2020, governments in the Americas continue to implement and enforce restrictive measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Meanwhile, such restrictions are gradually being eased in some locations. Significant developments in Bermuda, Cuba, the Dominican Republic and Saint Barthelemy are outlined below.
In Bermuda, international flights to and from L.F. Wade International Airport (TXKF/BDA) are set to resume on 1 July. All arriving travelers will be permitted to move freely throughout the island while abiding by physical distancing protocols in place. Travelers to the island will be required to obtain a negative COVID-19 test at least 72 hours before departing for Bermuda and will undergo a temperature screening upon arrival. In addition, individuals must wear face masks at the airport, aboard the aircraft and public transportation.
The Cuban government has extended its suspension of international commercial flights into and out of the country until at least 1 August. Additionally, the government has outlined a national strategy to begin easing restrictions in three phases without a specific timeline. The first phase is expected to begin at an unspecified date in the coming weeks and the timing will vary across provinces. Havana, the national capital, is expected to be the final location where restrictions will be lifted. Additional information has yet to be released.
In the Dominican Republic, lawmakers on 12 June approved President Danilo Medina’s request to extend the state of emergency until 29 June, including the countrywide nightly curfew that will remain in place during 1900-0500 local time (2300-0900 UTC) on Monday through Saturday and during 1700-0500 local time on Sunday. Under the state of emergency, residents must remain in their homes except to procure essential goods or services. In addition, all air, land and sea borders remain closed, and travel between municipalities and provinces remains prohibited.
In Saint Barthelemy, Gustaf III Airport (TFFJ/SBH) is set to reopen to foreign visitors on 22 June. Visitors will be required to obtain a negative COVID-19 test at least 72 hours before arriving on the island. Individuals who are unable to take a test 72 hours before arrival will be allowed to take a test 24 hours before arriving on the island, but must remain in quarantine until test results are available. In addition, travelers who plan on staying more than seven days must be retested on the seventh day. Officials have annulled all restrictions on the island and allowed all businesses, beaches and recreational facilities to reopen.
Asia / Australasia: As of 15 June 2020, governments throughout the Asia Pacific region continue to lift coronavirus-related restrictions in areas with decreasing case numbers. Officials in Thailand, Kazakhstan, New Caledonia and Sri Lanka announced plans to lift various measures. Conversely, authorities in Beijing, China, imposed restrictions following an outbreak in the southwestern Fengtai district. Meanwhile, the government of Uzbekistan extended the nationwide quarantine through 1 August.
In Thailand, on 15 June officials annulled the countrywide nightly curfew — in place during 2300-0300 local time (1600-2000 UTC) — following the absence of new COVID-19 cases. In an effort to prevent community-based transmission of the disease, borders will remain closed to all foreign nationals until further notice. Furthermore, residents are advised to avoid traveling between provinces as local authorities may require individuals to undergo quarantine upon arrival. In a related development, Phuket International Airport (VTSP/HKT) reopened for domestic flights on 13 June. Under directives issued by airport officials, domestic travelers are not required to observe a 14-day quarantine; however, local officials may require individuals with recent travel histories abroad to undergo quarantine. All inbound and outbound passengers are required to wear face masks and complete a health declaration form. Additionally, travelers with temperatures above 37.3 degrees Celsius (99 degrees Fahrenheit) will not be allowed to board the aircraft. The first inbound flight will originate from Bangkok’s Suvarnabhumi Airport (VTBS/BKK).
In Kazakhstan, the Civil Aviation Committee has announced that a limited number of international flights will resume beginning on 20 June. The resumption of international flights is expected to occur in various stages, with the first stage including flights to China, Georgia, Japan, South Korea, Thailand and Turkey. Flights to Azerbaijan are expected to resume on 15 July while additional flights to several countries in Europe, the Middle East and Southeast Asia will resume on 1 August.
In the South Pacific Islands, authorities in New Caledonia lifted all restrictions on 12 June except for border closures. Businesses on the island have reopened, and recreational and sporting activities have resumed. In addition, residents are no longer required to wear face masks on public transportation and in public spaces. All international passenger flights remain suspended until further notice. Passengers from the French territory of Wallis and Futuna are exempt from the travel ban and are required to undergo 14-day quarantine at a designated facility and then self-isolate for an additional seven days. Commercial flights are expected to resume after 1 August.
In Sri Lanka, officials shortened the nightly curfew on 14 June to 0000-0400 local time (1830-2230 UTC) until further notice. Public transportation continues to operate at reduced capacity outside of the curfew hours and residents are required to wear facemasks in public. Additional restrictions are expected to be eased ahead of the parliamentary elections on 5 August, including the resumption of flights to and from Bandaranaike International Airport (VCBI/CMB) — the country’s main airport located near the capital Colombo — on 1 August.
In China, officials reimposed lockdown measures in parts of the capital Beijing on 13 June following a recent surge in COVID-19 cases. The epicenter of the breakout was detected at the Xinfadi market, located in the Fengtai district, where approximately 45 out of 517 people tested positive for the disease. Officials have since closed a number of markets and suspended all inter-provincial tourism activities to prevent community-based transmission. In addition, officials placed at least 11 neighborhoods within the district under a lockdown until further notice, and mass COVID-19 testing is ongoing.
In Uzbekistan, the government reopened the country’s borders for select air travelers on 15 June. Diplomats along with family members, foreigners seeking medical treatment, and Uzbek nationals departing the country to study or undergo medical treatment are now permitted to travel to and from the country. Inbound travelers are subjected to quarantine procedures depending on their country of origin. Those from countries deemed low-risk — such as China, Israel, Japan and South Korea — will not be subjected to a quarantine, whereas those arriving from countries deemed high-risk — such as Afghanistan, Iran, Russia, Turkey and the UAE — face a mandatory quarantine for 14 days. Travelers arriving from countries deemed medium-risk — such as members of the EU, Malaysia, Singapore and Thailand – face an order to self-isolate for 14 days. Meanwhile, the nationwide quarantine has been extended until 1 August.
France / Malta / Poland (Security threat levels – 3 / 2 / 2): In France, the Île-de-France region — which encompasses the greater Paris area – was re-classified as a “green” area on 15 June 2020. Under the designation, bars, cafes and restaurants may reopen to the public, and residents may visit retirement homes and senior living centers. Social gatherings of more than 10 people remain prohibited. In addition, all entry restrictions for EU countries as well as Switzerland, Norway, Iceland and Liechtenstein were annulled on 15 June. Restrictions remain in place for all travelers arriving from Spain and the U.K. On 12 June, French officials announced that the country will gradually reopen its borders to countries outside of the passport-free Schengen Zone beginning on 1 July. During this time, France is expected to reopen its border to several unspecified Balkan countries.
In Malta, Prime Minister Robert Abela on 14 June announced that all international flights will resume on 15 July following a decline in COVID-19 cases. While Malta International Airport (LMML/MLA) is expected to partially reopen on 1 July, only limited destinations will be available for passengers. The government-approved “safe destinations” include the following 23 countries: Austria, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Norway, Poland, Slovakia, Spain and Switzerland.
In Poland, officials on 13 June reopened the country’s borders to residents of all EU countries and announced that flights within the EU will resume on 16 June. Travelers will be allowed to freely exit, enter and transit through the country without a mandatory quarantine. Meanwhile, restrictions remain in place along the borders with Belarus, Ukraine and the Russian exclave Kaliningrad. Individuals from the three non-EU countries are prohibited from entering Poland unless they are the spouse or child of a Polish citizen or they hold a work permit for the country. Furthermore, trains from Poland to non-EU neighbors remain suspended until further notice.
Turkey (Security threat level – 4): At 1724 local time (1424 UTC) on 14 June 2020, a 5.9 magnitude earthquake struck approximately 60 km (35 mi) north-northeast of Bingöl, Turkey, and about 70 km southwest of Erzurum, according to the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS). The quake occurred at a depth of 10 km. Strong shaking was felt in communities located within 20 km of the epicenter, while light to moderate shaking was felt as far as 120 km away. At least one person was killed and 18 people were injured; at least 25 buildings and other structures sustained light to moderate damage. Following the quake, officials recorded at least 45 aftershocks — two of which had magnitudes greater than 4.0.
Middle East and North Africa: As of 15 June 2020, governments in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region continue to revise measures enacted in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Details regarding the latest developments in Algeria, Egypt, Lebanon, Oman and Sudan are listed below.
In Algeria, authorities annulled the nightly curfew in 19 provinces and allowed restaurants and cafes to reopen for outdoor dining and takeout services as of 14 June. However, the nightly curfew remains in place from 2000 to 0500 local time (1900 to 0400 UTC) in 29 provinces, including the capital Algiers. Public transportation and taxi services have resumed in all provinces, although inter-provincial travel remains restricted.
In Egypt, authorities announced plans to reopen all airports and resume international commercial flights beginning on 1 July. In addition, foreign travelers will be permitted to visit tourist resort areas in at least three coastal governorates along the Mediterranean and Red Sea coasts as of 1 July. However, a nationwide nightly curfew from 2000 to 0400 local time (1800 to 0200) remains in place until further notice.
Lebanese officials announced that Beirut’s Rafic Hariri International Airport (OLBA/BEY) will reopen for private aircraft and commercial aircraft on 24 June and 1 July, respectively. The airport will reopen at 10% flight capacity, and passengers arriving at the facility will undergo a PCR test for COVID-19 upon arrival and a second test during their stay in Lebanon.
In Oman, authorities set up health checkpoints in the Dhofar governorate and the wilayas (administrative districts) of Masirah, Duqm, Jabal Al Akhdar and Jabal Shams on 13 June. The checkpoints are expected to remain in effect until 3 July. During this time, movement to and from the affected areas is prohibited except for essential personnel.
Sudanese authorities have extended the suspension of all international commercial flights into and out of the country until at least 28 June. The measure was set to expire on 14 June. Commercial cargo, humanitarian and repatriation flights remain exempt from the order.
Botswana / Côte d’Ivoire / Nigeria (Security threat levels – 2 / 4 / 5): On 12 June 2020, Botswana government officials imposed a lockdown in the Greater Gaborone area until further notice after at least 12 new COVID-19 cases were recorded at a private hospital in the capital city. Residents within the area are prohibited from leaving their homes except to procure essential goods — such as food, medicine or fuel — and are required to obtain a travel permit; essential workers are exempt. In addition, travel to and from the Gaborone area is prohibited; however, travel between the eight other regions in Botswana is permitted. Face masks must be worn when in public and residents must adhere to social distancing guidelines. Authorities closed all academic institutions in the country as of 13 June in an effort to prevent further spread of the disease. Public schools in the country had just reopened on 2 June.
In Cote d’Ivoire, officials have extended the suspension of international commercial flights until at least 30 June. Additionally, officials extended the state of emergency and ongoing isolation measures in the Greater Abidjan region until further notice. In Abidjan, the restriction on large gatherings reverted to 50 individuals maximum; previously, officials had raised the limit to 200 individuals.
In Nigeria, members of the National Association of Resident Doctors (NARD) began an indefinite nationwide strike on 15 June. According to the NARD president, the strike is the result of a series of failed meetings between the union and the government in recent weeks, during which they were unable to resolve lingering industrial disputes, such as the non-payment of special allowances for resident doctors, lack of personal protective equipment (PPE) and what NARD members perceive as the poor state of hospitals. NARD union members currently working in COVID-19 isolation and treatment centers are exempted from participating in the strike for two weeks, but they will begin to participate if the labor action continues beyond a two-week period.
Sweden (Security threat level – 2): On 15 June 2020, the U.K. Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) issued updated travel advice for Sweden, which reads in part as follows: “The Swedish government has announced that individuals without symptoms are allowed to travel domestically, but are urged to continue to follow the Public Health Agency’s advice and restrictions related to coronavirus. People over 70 are advised to stay close to home.”