AMERICAS Guatemala (Security threat level – 4): On 29 July...
Guatemala / Honduras (Security threat levels – 4 / 4): On 28 June 2020, Guatemalan authorities imposed additional coronavirus-related measures for the departments of Guatemala, Escuintla Sacatepequez, and Quetzaltenango. Officials have restricted the use of vehicles based on license plate number and banned interdepartmental travel among the previously listed departments, effective 0500 local time on 29 June until 0500 local time on 13 July. Exemptions exist for the transport of emergency equipment, security, food, pharmaceutical products and cargo. A nationwide curfew remains in place from 1800 to 0500 local time (1200 to 1100 UTC), and individuals violating curfew face fines and imprisonment.
In Honduras, authorities on 28 June extended an existing nationwide nightly curfew until 2300 local time 12 July (0500 UTC on 13 July). Under the extension, residents are permitted to leave their homes on certain days based on the last digit of their national ID or passport number between the hours of 0900 and 1700 local time; essential businesses will be permitted to operate during these hours as well. On Saturdays and Sundays, residents may not leave their places of residence, public transportation will suspend operations, and all businesses must close. In addition, officials have paused the government’s phased reopening in the cities of Tegucigalpa and San Pedro Sula, where all nonessential businesses and sectors previously authorized to reopen must close.
Asia: As of 30 June 2020, officials in at least four locations in the Asia-Pacific region have extended coronavirus-related restrictions. Australia’s Victoria state announced lockdown measures in parts of Melbourne, the state capital. Myanmar’s government extended a ban on commercial flights through 31 July, and Thailand extended the nationwide state of emergency through 31 July. Hong Kong authorities extended a ban on public gatherings surpassing 50 attendees through 16 July.
In Australia, the premier of Victoria state announced that stage three lockdown measures will be implemented on 10 postcodes across Melbourne beginning at 2359 local time (1359 UTC) on 1 July. Under the restrictions, residents in the 10 postcodes must remain in their homes except to perform essential activities such as to obtain food or medicine, seek medical care, exercise, or for work or education that cannot be conducted at home. All nonessential businesses must revert to stage three restrictions, under which in-person services are suspended, and cafes and restaurants may only provide takeout and delivery services. These restrictions are set to remain in place until 29 July. The designated areas comprise the following postcodes: 3012, 3021, 3032, 3038, 3042, 3046, 3047, 3055, 3060 and 3064. Security personnel will be deployed to enforce the restrictions, including setting up checkpoints along roadways to regulate road traffic. In addition, all domestic and international flights scheduled to arrive at Melbourne Airport (YMML/MEL) will be diverted to other airports for two weeks beginning on 1 July.
In Myanmar, the government extended the current suspension of all international commercial flights into and out of the country through 31 July. All arriving travelers are subject to health screens and a mixture of mandatory quarantine and self-isolation for at least three weeks upon arrival. Eligible travelers must also submit a “COVID-FREE” certificate issued within 72 hours prior to entry into Myanmar. Limited exemptions are in place for passengers traveling to Myanmar on business visas; business travelers should contact the nearest Myanmar Embassy for additional information prior to departure. Commercial cargo, medical evacuation, repatriation and other special flights approved by authorities are exempt from these restrictions.
In Thailand, authorities extended an ongoing nationwide state of emergency through 31 July. During the state of emergency, the government is permitted to limit public gatherings and impose additional restrictions with little advance notice. Despite the extension, most businesses classified as being at high risk of COVID-19 transmission may begin reopening on 1 July as long as they comply with established public health measures.
In Hong Kong, the government extended the ongoing ban on public gatherings surpassing 50 people through 16 July. Concurrently, authorities raised the occupancy rate for bars and religious events to 80% of total venue capacity.
China (Security threat level – 3): On 30 June 2020, police officials in Hong Kong announced that approximately 3,000-4,000 police officers will deploy across the city to prevent any potential unrest during demonstrations against the adoption of a controversial national security legislation for Hong Kong. Leaders of the Civil Human Rights Front have called on their supporters to gather at Eastpoint Road in Causeway at 1400 local time (0600 UTC) on 1 July and subsequently march to Central; additional impromptu protests are also probable. Chinese President Xi Jinping signed the security law, which gives mainland authorities extensive purview to enforce as yet unclearly defined security regulations, including the criminalization of activities such as secession, subversion, terrorism and colluding with outside forces. In addition, it enables Chinese security personnel to operate in the territory and its provisions supersede Hong Kong’s existing laws. Following reports of the legislation’s ratification, Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam announced that the legislation would take immediate effect.
Travelers in Hong Kong should keep abreast of local developments and prepare for disruptions in the city due to the high likelihood of city-wide protests which often involve clashes between protesters and police officers.
Europe: On 30 June 2020, the European Council decided to gradually annul existing restrictions on nonessential travel from and to select countries beginning on 1 July. The EU recommended that its member states start lifting restrictions for travelers from the following 14 countries with relatively lower rates of COVID-19 infections: Algeria, Australia, Canada, Georgia, Japan, Montenegro, Morocco, New Zealand, Rwanda, Serbia, South Korea, Thailand, Tunisia and Uruguay. EU officials will permit Chinese travelers if the Chinese government confirms that it will permit EU travelers to enter China. Travelers from the U.K. and four other countries in Europe — Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland — also remain exempt from the restrictions. Travelers from countries with relatively higher rates of COVID-19 cases, such as Brazil, Russia and the U.S., will not be permitted to enter the EU as yet. The recommendation is not legally binding; thus, EU countries are able to block or allowe entry to citizens of any or all of those countries on the list, which will be updated every two weeks. Additional information, including on several factors considered to reach the decision, outlined by the European Council is available here .
United Kingdom (Security threat level – 3): Beginning on 2 July 2020, U.K. officials will re-impose stricter lockdown measures in the central English city of Leicester and several suburbs, including Birstall, Glenfield and Oadby, amid a notable spike in COVID-19 cases. Authorities have urged individuals to avoid travel to, from, and within the area — where all nonessential businesses and educational institutions are set to be closed. These restrictions are expected to remain in effect for at least two weeks. The U.K. health secretary on 29 June stated that 10% of new COVID-19 cases in the country over the past week were registered in Leicester.
Israel / Sudan (Security threat levels – 3 / 5): On 29 June 2020, authorities in Israel announced plans to impose restrictions on gatherings and other activities at least through the month of July in response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, pending approval by the Knesset. From 1 to 9 July, no more than 250 people may attend any indoor or outdoor public or private events. Commencing 10 July through the end of the month, select outdoor gatherings — such as cultural events and weddings — will be limited to 250 people, while all other events will be capped at 50 participants. Furthermore, indoor activities will be limited to 100 people except for those at places of worship, where the number of attendees will be limited to 50 people. Academic institutions will be administering examinations online, and government agencies have been directed to return 30% of their employees to work-from-home status. The Knesset is expected to vote on the proposed measures within the next 48 hours.
In Sudan, the government extended airport closures for all domestic and international commercial flights through at least 12 July. Cargo, humanitarian and repatriation flights retain exemptions from the ban. Furthermore, the government extended the 24-hour citywide lockdown in Khartoum through at least 7 July; individuals are only permitted to leave their residences from 0600-1500 local time (0400-300 UTC) to travel for essential purposes, such as to obtain food or medicine.
Cabo Verde / Senegal (Security threat levels – 2 / 3): On 29 June 2020, Cabo Verde’s government extended its ban on inter-island flights and maritime transportation between Sal and Santiago islands until at least 15 July. Previously, inter-island flights were expected to resume on 30 June. According to the government, the increase in new COVID-19 cases in Cabo Verde contributed to the decision to postpone inter-island travel. Meanwhile, Cabo Verde remains under a “state of calamity,” during which social distancing measures are in place, businesses face a variety of restrictions, and all individuals are required to wear a face mask.
Conversely, Senegal’s President Macky Sall announced the end of the country’s state of emergency, effective 2300 local time/UTC on 30 June. The state of emergency was imposed on 23 March to help curb the spread of COVID-19. The nationwide nightly curfew is also no longer in effect, and air borders are scheduled to reopen on 15 July. Despite lifting the state of emergency, Sall stated that land and sea borders will remain closed until further notice and various restrictions on businesses will remain in place. Individuals are required to wear face masks and adhere to social distancing rules.
Ethiopia (Security threat level – 4): On 30 June 2020, violent protests broke out in the capital Addis Ababa over the killing of a popular musician the previous day. Police officers fired tear gas to disperse protesters gathered in the city and there were reports of sustained gunfire. Following a peaceful gathering outside its building in the morning hours, the U.S. Embassy in Addis Ababa has urged U.S. government personnel to remain in their homes until further notice.
Additional protests occurred in other towns, including Chiro and Adama; several government buildings were set ablaze in Adama and at least one person was injured during the violence. Meanwhile in Chiro, security personnel shot and killed at least two people and several others were wounded. Reports stated that internet access was disrupted in parts of the country during the protests. An investigation into the musician’s murder is ongoing, and police officials have arrested several suspects. The deceased was known for his political songs and seen as a leading voice for the Oromo ethnic group.
Serbia (Security threat level – 3): On 30 June 2020, the U.K. Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) issued updated travel advice for Serbia regarding coronavirus-related restrictions in the country, which reads in part as follows:
“There is a ban on gatherings of more than 200 people. Social distancing at all times is encouraged. It is obligatory to wear a protective face mask (surgical or cotton) on public transport. From 30 June, in Belgrade, Novi Pazar, Kragujevac, and Vranje, protective face masks must be worn in all enclosed public spaces with no exceptions, and the wearing of face masks is recommended in enclosed public spaces across the rest of Serbia.
"Schools and universities are closed until further notice. Some kindergartens and day care facilities are open.
"There may be further restrictions to limit the spread of coronavirus. Infringements of these procedures may result in fines and/or a prison sentence. If you are currently in Serbia, check news outlets regularly for up to date information.”