Worldview Security Update – June 16, 2020
16-Jun-20

AMERICAS

Americas: As of 16 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 Chile, El Salvador, Guatemala and Puerto Rico are outlined below.

In Chile, the government on 15 June extended the existing state of catastrophe for an additional 90 days amid a worsening COVID-19 outbreak in the country. Under the declaration — which was initially imposed on 18 March — the Ministry of Health has enacted restrictions on movement and city-level quarantines. Multiple cities remain under quarantine orders, the country’s borders remain closed, and residents remain under a nationwide nightly curfew during 2200-0500 local time (0200-0900 UTC). Separately, on 13 June the president  appointed a new minister of health after the former minister resigned amid controversy regarding the ministry’s methodology for reporting coronavirus-related deaths.

In El Salvador, President Nayib Bukele ended the nationwide lockdown on 13 June. Bukele encouraged residents to maintain a voluntary lockdown until 16 June, when the first phase of reopening the country’s economy begins. Airports are set to reopen on 6 August, including the country’s main Óscar Arnulfo Romero International Airport (MSLP/SAL). The health minister stated on 13 June that he expects to see the number of COVID-19 cases increase as authorities lift restrictions and that 90 of the 105 intensive care beds in El Salvador are currently occupied.

In Guatemala, new vehicle restrictions based on license plate numbers went into effect on 15 June in the departments of Guatemala, El Progreso, Sacatepequez and San Marcos. Travel between these departments remains restricted. The vehicle restrictions and an existing nationwide nightly curfew — from 1800 to 0500 local time (1200 to 1100 UTC) — will remain in place until at least 29 June. Although a total lockdown will supersede the nightly curfew from 0500 local time on 20 June to 1800 local time on 22 June and from 0500 local time on 27 June to 1800 local time on 28 June. The use of face masks in public areas remains mandatory, with fines of up to 150,000 Guatemalan quetzales (19,400 U.S. dollars) for violators. 

In Puerto Rico, authorities lifted most restrictions on 16 June. All beaches and businesses can reopen, including dine-in restaurants, which are allowed to reopen at 50% capacity. A nightly curfew from 2200 to 0500 local time (0200 to 0900 UTC) will replace the existing curfew in place during 1900-0500 local time. Face masks remain mandatory in public places.

United States (Security threat level – 2): On the evening of 15 June 2020, clashes broke out in Albuquerque, New Mexico, between two opposing groups gathered outside the Albuquerque Museum, located in the city’s Old Town section. The altercation began after members of the New Mexico Civil Guard, an armed militia group, confronted protesters who were attempting to pull down a statue of a 16th-Century Spanish conquistador. According to local reports, protesters reportedly pushed one of the armed men to the ground, after which he shot and wounded one of the protesters advancing toward him. The wounded protester was hospitalized in stable condition and is undergoing treatment. Meanwhile, police officers deployed tear gas and stun grenades to disperse the crowd. Authorities detained at least five armed militia members who were dressed in military uniforms. There were no reports of additional injuries or deaths.

EUROPE

Hungary (Security threat level – 2): On 16 June 2020, the Hungarian parliament voted to end the country’s state of emergency and revoked emergency powers granted to Prime Minister Viktor Orbán on 30 March. The emergency powers allowed Orbán to respond to the coronavirus outbreak by enacting policies by decree rather than parliamentary procedures and allowed the government to extend the state of emergency indefinitely. Despite revoking the emergency powers, critics claim the new bill that terminated the state of emergency allows the government to rule by decree and potentially declare a new state of emergency.

MIDDLE EAST AND NORTH AFRICA

United Arab Emirates (Security threat level – 2): On 15 June 2020, officials in Abu Dhabi extended the existing ban on travel to, from or within the emirate until at least 23 June to slow the spread of COVID-19. Officials initially instituted the ban on 2 June and extended it on 8 June. Individuals traveling to Abu Dhabi International Airport (OMAA/AUH) for a scheduled flight — and those traveling from Abu Dhabi to any other airports in the UAE – are advised to carry a copy of their boarding pass or flight reservation with them.

GOVERNMENT WARNINGS

Greece (Security threat level – 3): On 15 June 2020, the U.S. Embassy in Athens issued a Health Alert regarding the extension of an entry ban on non-EU citizens until 1 July. The alert reads in part as follows:

“Ban on Entry of non-EU Citizens Extended to July 1: Greece, along with other EU member states, is limiting entry to EU citizens and residents until July 1. Non-EU citizens may not enter Greece for non-essential travel, which includes tourism. Exceptions include spouses or minor children of EU/Schengen nationals, long-term residents, members of government delegations and passengers in transit.

“Travel on and after July 1: In the coming weeks, the Greek government is expected to announce restrictions regarding certain countries effective July 1. We will update this page when the information is available.”

The full text of the alert is available here .

Montenegro (Security threat level – 2): On 16 June 2020, the U.K. Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) issued updated travel advice for Montenegro, which reads in part as follows:

“The Montenegrin Government has re-opened its borders to residents of certain countries that meet an epidemiological criterion of 25 or fewer coronavirus cases per 100,000 population) without a requirement for testing prior to entry. European countries currently on this list (updated weekly) are Albania, Austria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Greece, Croatia, Ireland, Iceland, Cyprus, Kosovo, Latvia, , Lithuania, Luxembourg, Hungary, Malta, Monaco, Germany, Norway, Slovakia, Slovenia and Switzerland.”