Worldview Security Update – June 24, 2020
24-Jun-20

AMERICAS

  • Colombia / Paraguay
  • Mexico

ASIA

  • Taiwan / Thailand

EUROPE

  • Europe

SUB-SAHARAN AFRICA

  • Democratic Republic Of The Congo
  • Uganda

GOVERNMENT WARNINGS

  • Italy
  • Kosovo
  • Lebanon
  • Mexico

Hot Spots Report

AMERICAS

Colombia / Paraguay (Security threat levels – 4 / 3): On 23 June 2020, Colombian President Iván Duque extended the countrywide lockdown until 15 July in an overall effort to control the spread of COVID-19. As part of the existing order, one individual per household is permitted to leave the house in order to procure essential goods or services. Meanwhile, all residents are required to wear face masks in densely populated spaces and on public transportation. While local officials started permitting some businesses to reopen in the capital Bogotá and elsewhere in the country in early June, international commercial flights to and from Colombia remain suspended until 31 August.

Meanwhile, Paraguay’s health minister confirmed that the government will extend Phase 3 of the nationwide relaxation of quarantine measures until 19 July. Under Phase 3, which began on 15 June, there is a ban on all nonessential travel during 2300-0500 local time (0300-0900 UTC) on Sundays, Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays, and during 0000-0500 local time on Fridays and Saturdays. Paraguay was previously scheduled to begin the fourth and final phase of the government’s plan to relax quarantine measures on 6 July.

Mexico (Security threat level – 4): A 7.4 magnitude earthquake struck about 9 km (6 mi) west of El Coyul, Oaxaca state, at approximately 1030 local time (1530 UTC) on 23 June 2020, according to the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS). The quake occurred at a depth of 33 km. Shaking was felt as far away as Mexico City — located approximately 810 km northwest of El Coyul — and in parts of western Guatemala. The event prompted officials to issue a tsunami warning with a radius of 1,000 km for coastal areas of El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Mexico. Tsunami waves measuring 0.4 m (1 ft) were observed along the coast in Salina Cruz, Oaxaca state, where a small-scale fire broke out at an oil refinery. According to Mexico’s National Coordination for Civil Protection government agency (CNPC), at least 653 aftershocks followed the initial tremor, the most powerful of which had a 4.9 magnitude.

The earthquake temporarily caused power outages to 2.6 million homes and businesses in Mexico City and in the states of Guerrero, Hidalgo, Oaxaca, Morelos, Puebla and Veracruz. As of the latest reports, power has been restored in 98% of the affected areas. At least six people were killed, and more than 20 others were injured in Oaxaca, where at least 500 homes, 15 heath centers and four archaeological sites sustained structural damage. Five highways in the area also sustained damage. In Mexico City, quake-related shaking caused panic, forcing residents to flee their homes. Two people were injured in the Iztapalpa borough. Mexico City International Airport (MMMX/MEX) was largely unaffected, although flights were temporarily delayed immediately after the earthquake while officials inspected the runways and buildings at the facility for any potential damage.

ASIA

Taiwan / Thailand (Security threat levels – 1 / 3): Taiwanese officials plan to permit travelers to transit through Taipei’s Taiwan Taoyuan International Airport (RCTP/TPE) beginning on 25 June 2020. Under the new policy, only passengers making a connection on the same airline as their arrival will be allowed to enter and must remain in a designated airport area for a maximum of eight hours. Additionally, all arriving passengers are subject to a temperature screening, and departing passengers with a temperature higher than 37.5 degrees Celsius (99.5 degrees Fahrenheit) will not be allowed to board their flight. Travelers from China — with the exception of Hong Kong and Macao — will remain banned from transiting.

Furthermore, beginning on 29 June foreign nationals may begin applying for entry to Taiwan for non-tourism reasons, such as business or study. Travelers allowed to enter must provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test taken within three days prior to departing and will be subject to a 14-day quarantine. The government also announced that residents of Hong Kong may apply to enter for humanitarian reasons due to the ongoing unrest and impending national security law in the city.

In Thailand, the government on 24 June announced plans to begin allowing select foreign nationals to enter the country on 1 July. Individuals allowed to enter include, businesspeople, skilled workers, families of Thai nationals, teachers and students. All arriving travelers must have health insurance and will be subject to a mandatory 14-day quarantine, tested for COVID-19 before and after arrival, and monitored by medical personnel during their stay. The plan is pending approval by the Center for COVID-19 Situation Administration (CCSA), which is schedule to vote on the measure on 29 June.

EUROPE

Europe: As of 24 June 2020, governments in Europe continue to revise and adjust restrictions enacted to stem the spread of COVID-19. Additional details for Finland, Germany and North Macedonia are outlined below.

Finland is scheduled to cancel a 14-day quarantine requirement for travelers from certain countries beginning on 13 July. The removal of the quarantine requirement will apply to travelers from European countries where the infection rate is lower than 8 per 100,000 people. Based on current statistics, travelers from the following countries will be exempt from the quarantine requirement: Austria, Croatia, Cyprus, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Lichtenstein, Slovakia, Slovenia and Switzerland.

In Germany, officials implemented new lockdown measures on 23 June in the Warendorf district of western North Rhine-Westphalia state due to a recent surge in COVID-19 cases. The order is expected to expire on 30 June. Under the new measures, residents are required to stay indoors except to procure essential goods or services. In addition, nonessential businesses, including cinemas, gyms and museums, will remain closed while gatherings of more than two people are banned.

In North Macedonia, as of 26 June all border crossings will reopen to incoming travelers without an obligatory quarantine period or proof of COVID-19 testing. In addition, officials also stated that international flights will resume at Skopje International Airport (LWSK/SKP) and Ohrid St. Paul the Apostle Airport (LWOH/OHD) on 1 July.

SUB-SAHARAN AFRICA

Democratic Republic Of The Congo (Security threat level – 4): As of the afternoon hours of 24 June 2020, demonstrations against proposed judicial reforms are ongoing in the capital Kinshasa and the southeastern city of Lubumbashi. Earlier in the day, police officers and members of the Union for Democracy and Social Progress (UDPS) party clashed outside the People’s Palace — the seat of the national legislature — in Kinshasa. Police officers reportedly fired tear gas and live ammunition to disperse the protesters gathered in the area, who had piled burnt tires to block police access into the legislature compound. At least one protester and one police officer were injured, and authorities arrested several. Meanwhile, a similar protest occurred at Haut-Katanga’s provincial assembly in Lubumbashi without reports of violence thus far. The demonstrators are denouncing the proposed judicial reforms introduced in the legislature by members of the Common Front of Congo (FCC) coalition aligned with former President Joseph Kabila. The UDPS — led by President Félix Tshisekedi — is the minority party in the parliament and opposes the proposed laws. Political tensions remain high in the country and additional protests are probable.

Uganda (Security threat level – 4): On 23 June 2020, Ugandan authorities indefinitely extended internal lockdown measures aimed at curbing the spread of COVID-19. A nightly curfew from 1900 to 0630 local time (1600 to 0330 UTC) remains in place. Furthermore, public transportation is allowed at 50% occupancy — although tuk tuks and boda bodas (motorcycle taxis) are currently not permitted to carry passengers — and travel using private vehicle is limited to four people per vehicle. All individuals over the age of six years are required to wear a face mask when in public and gatherings of more than 5 people are prohibited. Many nonessential businesses have reopened but remain subject to restrictive measures, including social distancing, abiding by the curfew and ensuring patrons wear face masks inside the establishments.

GOVERNMENT WARNINGS

Italy (Security threat level – 3): On 23 June 2020, the U.S. Embassy in Rome issued a Demonstration Alert, which reads in part as follows: 
“Location: Rome, Piazza Barberini

“Event: On Wednesday, June 24, 2020, from 5:00 pm to 8:00 pm, a static demonstration sponsored by the Coordinamento Sinistre di Opposizione is planning a protest against racism. Approximately 60 participants are expected. Local police will be monitoring the event.” 

Kosovo (Security threat level – 4): On 24 June 2020, the U.K. Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) issued updated travel advice for Kosovo, which reads in part as follows: “The government have announced that the [Pristina International] airport will reopen and international flights permitted from 28 June. All passengers entering Kosovo are recommended to have a negative RT-PCR test, no older than four days.”

Lebanon (Security threat level – 4): On 23 June 2020, the U.K. Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) issued an update to its travel advice for Lebanon, which reads in part as follows:

"Beirut’s Rafic Hariri international airport is expected to reopen on 1 July with initially limited capacity of 2,000 passengers daily.

"People travelling to Beirut will be required to comply with testing and self-isolation measures to reduce the spread of coronavirus. Check with the airline and Lebanese embassy before booking.

  • Passengers travelling from countries such as the UK with PCR testing capability will be required to take a PCR test within 96 hours prior to travel and take another test on arrival at a cost of $100 paid through the airline. You will be informed of the test results within 24 hours of arrival and if both tests are negative, no self-isolation will be required.
  • Passengers travelling from countries without PCR test capability will be required to have a test on arrival at the cost of $100 paid through the airline and then self-isolate followed by another PCR test 72 hours after arrival paid for by the passenger. If both tests are negative, no further self-isolation will be required."

Mexico (Security threat level – 4): On 23 June 2020, the U.S. Consulate General in Nogales issued a Security Alert, which reads in part as follows:

“Location: Municipality of Caborca, Mexican State of Sonora
“Event: The U.S. Consulate General Nogales has received credible reports of ongoing cartel violence in the municipality of Caborca and the surrounding areas, including heavily armed groups patrolling in that area, with active fighting and attacks among the cartel factions. Until further notice, U.S. government personnel are prohibited from traveling on Highway 2 from Santa Ana to Sonoyta. Please review the Mexico Travel Advisory  for information on additional travel restrictions for U.S. government personnel in the state of Sonora and throughout Mexico.”