Worldview Security Update – June 29, 2020
29-Jun-20

AMERICAS

Americas: As of 29 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 Argentina, Bolivia, the Dominican Republic and Peru are outlined below.

Argentine President Alberto Fernandez extended the current lockdown and imposed more stringent movement measures in and around the capital Buenos Aires until 17 July. During this time, movement to and from the area is restricted and residents are only permitted to leave their homes to obtain essential goods and services.

The Bolivian government has extended an existing countrywide quarantine through 31 July. Under the quarantine measures, a nighttime curfew from 1800 to 0500 local time (2200 to 0900 UTC) on Monday through Friday remains in effect. Furthermore, private vehicles are not permitted to operate on Saturdays and Sundays. Bolivia’s borders remain closed and all international flights remain suspended. Individuals are required to practice social distancing rules and use face masks in public places.

In the Dominican Republic, the government announced additional restrictions on 28 June. While a state of emergency is scheduled to end on 30 June, nonessential businesses will remain closed until further notice. Meanwhile, all residents are required to wear face masks in public spaces and adhere to social distancing rules. In addition, officials announced that economic, social and recreational activities are prohibited between 2000-0500 local time (0000-0500 UTC); essential businesses and services — including pharmacies, media outlets, security, airports and hotels — are exempt from the order. Public transportation has resumed services at limited capacity.

In Peru, the government has extended a nationwide state of emergency until 31 July. Beginning on 1 July, the regions of Arequipa, Ica, Junín, Huánuco, San Martín, Madre de Dios and Áncash are subject to tighter restrictions due to a higher number of COVID-19 cases in those areas; a nighttime curfew will be in place during 2000-0400 local time (0100-0900 UTC), and residents will only be allowed to leave their homes to obtain essential goods and services. Meanwhile, a nighttime curfew during 2200-0400 local time will remain in place for other areas in the country.

ASIA

Asia: As of 29 June 2020, governments through the Asia-Pacific region maintain coronavirus-related restrictions. In response to increasing numbers of COVID-19 cases, state governments in India have extended their lockdown orders. In Australia, the government of Victoria state mandated COVID-19 tests for all inbound travelers. Myanmar’s government extended restrictions through 15 July, while the government of Sri Lanka lifted its nationwide nightly curfew.

In India, several states have extended lockdowns, or implemented additional coronavirus-related restrictions in response to a notable surge in COVID-19 cases. In Assam, a 14-day lockdown went into effect in the state’s largest city of Guwahati on 29 June. Meanwhile, weekend lockdowns and a nightly curfew during 1900-0700 local time (1330 0130 UTC) will be imposed in all other parts of the state. Under the lockdown, nonessential businesses will be closed. The state governments of Manipur and Maharashtra extended existing lockdowns through 15 and 31 July, respectively.

In Australia, officials in the southeastern Victoria state — where Melbourne is located — implemented a mandatory COVID-19 test for all arriving passengers as of 28 June following a recent spike in cases. Prior to the order, COVID-19 testing had not been a heavily enforced procedure, with approximately 30% of returning travelers refusing to be tested. Under the new measures, all inbound passengers will be subject to a test upon arrival and must also undergo a 14-day quarantine. In addition, individuals in quarantine will be tested twice during a 14-day period. Individuals who refuse testing will be required to remain in quarantine for an additional 10 days.

In Myanmar, the government extended the existing restrictive measures until 15 July. During this time, the nighttime curfew from 0000-0400 local time (1730-2130 UTC) and the ban on gatherings of more than five people will remain in place. In addition, residents are required to wear a face mask when in public. International commercial flights remain banned until 15 July, and Burmese nationals returning to Myanmar must undergo a health screening and remain in quarantine for three weeks upon arrival.

In Sri Lanka, the government lifted the nationwide nightly curfew on 28 June, which was in effect from 0000-0400 local time (1830-2230 UTC). All other requirements, including the use of face masks, in public remain in effect.

Pakistan (Security threat level – 5): At approximately 1000 local time (0500 UTC) on 29 June 2020, four gunmen armed with automatic rifles and grenades attacked the Pakistan Stock Exchange compound, located in Karachi’s Lalazar neighborhood. The assailants approached the compound in a silver-colored car, detonated a grenade at the front entrance, then attempted to enter the premises while randomly firing their weapons. Police officers and paramilitary personnel responding to the attack killed all four assailants and secured the scene. At least three people, including a police officer and two security guards, were also killed and several others were injured. Authorities evacuated the building and advised individuals to avoid the affected area. The Baluchistan Liberation Army (BLA) separatist group — which perpetrated the November 2018 attack on the Chinese Consulate in the city — claimed responsibility for the attack. A senior Pakistani military general accused the Indian government of aiding the assailants without offering any evidence; both Indian and Pakistani officials consistently exchange such allegations following attacks in their respective countries.

MIDDLE EAST AND NORTH AFRICA

Middle East and North Africa: As of 29 June 2020, governments in the Middle East and North Africa region continue to revise and adjust restrictions enacted to stem the spread of COVID-19. Additional details for Egypt, Iraq, the Palestinian territories and Tunisia are outlined below.

In Egypt, officials eased several restrictions as of 27 June despite an increasing number of COVID-19 cases in Egypt. Nonessential businesses — including gyms, cafes and theaters — reopened at limited capacities. Officials lifted a nighttime curfew — previously in effect during 2000-0400 local time (1800-0200 UTC) — and a ban on domestic travel for residents. Individuals must wear face masks when in public. The government is expected to ease additional restrictions on 2 July when select tourist destinations will reopen to international chartered aircraft.

In Iraq, the Basra governorate extended an existing 24-hour curfew until 2 July. During the curfew, individuals are allowed to leave their homes to obtain essential goods and services, and vehicle traffic throughout the governorate is prohibited. Essential workers and security personnel are exempt from the curfew.

Palestinian officials extended an existing state of emergency in the West Bank through 4 July after 195 new COVID-19 cases were reported in the area on 28 June. Although most restrictions were previously lifted, social distancing measures remain in place.

In Tunisia, officials reopened the country’s borders to tourists from a limited number of low-risk countries as of 27 June. Entry requirements are determined by a three-tier color-coded system that indicates which foreign nationals may enter with or without restrictions; the list is expected to be updated weekly. For additional information on Tunisia’s Green- Orange- and Red-designated countries, please see the U.S. Embassy message in the Government Warnings section below.

SUB-SAHARAN AFRICA

Mozambique (Security threat level – 3): On 27 June 2020, suspected Islamist insurgents attacked the northern town of Mocímboa da Praia in Cabo Delgado province — located approximately 60 km (40 mi) south of Afungi, where a French company and a U.S. corporation are constructing gas projects. Local police officials stated that the attack was “very violent” but did not provide further specifics; the Mozambican Defense and Security Forces (DSF) reportedly suffered several casualties. Reports also indicate that helicopters operated by a South African private security firm were involved in the fighting. Thus far, no group has claimed responsibility for the attack, but various Islamist insurgent groups have carried out such attacks in the past, including Ahlu Sunnah Wa-Jama — which pledged allegiance to the Islamic State group in 2019. Such attacks have increasingly become frequent in the province.

GOVERNMENT WARNINGS

Benin (Security threat level – 3): On 26 June 2020, the U.S. Embassy in Cotonou issued a Security Alert regarding suspicious activity in northern Benin, which reads in part as follows:

“Location: Northern Border Region of Benin and Park W

“Event: The Embassy has received reports of suspicious activity near Park W in northern Benin.

“There continue to be reports of suspicious activity in the northern border region of Benin and Park W. The Embassy closely evaluates the security environment and reports of suspicious activity and has updated its travel restrictions. U.S. government employees are prohibited from personal travel and must obtain special authorization for official travel to these areas:

  • Park Pendjari, Park W, and all adjacent hunting zones;
  • Areas within 50 km of Benin’s northern border with Burkina Faso;
  • Areas north of the RNIE 7 route from Banikoara to the Nigerian border (not including the cities of Kandi and Segbana).”

The full text of the alert is available here .

Costa Rica (Security threat level – 3): On 28 June 2020, the U.S. Embassy in San Jose issued a Travel Alert regarding extension of Costa Rica’s border closure, which reads in part as follows:

"The Ministry of Health has announced the border closure will be extended until August 1, 2020. Minister of Health Salas stated that as of August 1, foreigners from countries that have ‘controlled the spread of the coronavirus’ will be allowed to enter Costa Rica. The Minister did not state which countries would be included among this list but stated an announcement would be forthcoming. For an English language summary of this announcement, please follow this link . All commercial workers who interact with the public are now required to wear face coverings or shields. The general public is also required to wear facial coverings in many circumstances including on public transport, in public offices, in theaters and churches, and at restaurants, except when eating. For more information on this requirement, please follow this link .

"Many areas of Costa Rica advanced to ‘Phase 3’ of the Health Ministry’s reopening plan on Saturday, June 27. For most of the country, commercial businesses are allowed to remain open on the weekend, beaches are open from 5:00am-9:30am (including on weekends), and religious ceremonies can also be held with a limited number of participants. Those regions of the country remaining under an orange alert will continue under stronger restrictions. In these areas, most commercial businesses must close at 5pm on weekdays and remain closed on weekends.? Driving restrictions are also in place?in these areas from 5:00pm to 5:00am on weekdays and all day on weekends, except for trips to supermarkets and health services. For an English language summary of this announcement, please follow this link ."

The full text of the Travel Alert can be read here .
Sudan (Security threat level – 5): On 28 June 2020, the U.S. Embassy in Khartoum warned of planned protests in the city, which reads in part as follows:

"Location: Gathering points may include, but are not limited to, the following areas in Khartoum, Sudan:

  • Areas around downtown Khartoum
  • Omdurman
  • North Khartoum

"Event: Demonstrations are expected to take place today, leading up to June 30, 2020. Exact start times and locations are unknown. Bridges connecting Khartoum to Omdurman and North Khartoum are expected to be closed. Roads around Sudan Armed Forces (SAF) Headquarters and key ministries are also expected to be closed.

"U.S. government personnel are advised to avoid those areas today through June 30, 2020."

The full text of the alert is available here .

Tunisia (Security threat level – 3): On 27 June 2020, the U.S. Embassy in Tunis issued a message with guidance on the reopening of air, land and sea borders in Tunisia. The message reads in part as follows:

"The Tunisian government has announced preliminary guidance for the reopening of all land, air, and maritime borders on Saturday, June 27. The Embassy will provide updated guidance with subsequent STEP messages as the GOT clarifies its procedures.

"The GOT has divided countries into three zones (red, orange, and green) based on the number of cases and epidemiological situation in each country. They plan to revise the list as the pandemic evolves. For the most updated list, please visit the Observatoire National des Maladies Nouvelles et Emergentes (note – countries not specifically designated “green” or “orange” are considered “red”): https://www.facebook.com/ONMNE/ .

  • “Red List” Countries (including the United States): for citizens and official residents of “red” countries, only Tunisians may enter Tunisia.
  • “Orange List” Countries: for citizens and official residents of “orange” countries, Tunisians and tourists may enter Tunisia providing they present a negative COVID-19 lab test, with results received within 72 hours before travel to Tunisia and the analysis conducted no more than 120 hours prior to arrival.
  • “Green List” Countries: for citizens and official residents of “green” countries, everyone may enter Tunisia without a test."

The full text of the message is available here .