Worldview Security Update – March 11, 2020
11-Mar-20

AMERICAS

Chile (Security threat level – 2): On 11 March 2020, a number of anti-government protest actions are set to occur in the capital Santiago and elsewhere in Chile on the second anniversary of President Sebastián Piñera’s tenure. Multiple events are scheduled throughout the day: at 1030 local time (1230 UTC) student marches commenced in city centers; at 1100 local time cacerolazos  started, with protesters banging on pots and pans; and at 1900 local time a “national revolt” march is expected across the country. Demonstrators have disrupted vehicular traffic on the main avenue La Alameda in downtown Santiago in the morning hours as the country braces for likely large-scale protests throughout the day. Meanwhile, a small group of activists clashed with police officers at the Instituto Nacional General Jose Miguel Carrera, an all-male public school in Santiago’s downtown area. Activists threw rocks at police officers and Molotov cocktails at police vehicles. In response, police officers utilized tear gas and water cannons to disperse the crowd. It is likely that public transportation, including buses and metro, will be disrupted due to the planned protests. Travelers should monitor local developments and avoid areas where these gatherings are occurring due to the probability of being collaterally affected by violence between protesters and police officers. Students and various social and political groups organized the protests to demand Piñera’s resignation as well as to commemorate the 30-year anniversary of the end of the country’s military dictatorship.

Venezuela (Security threat level – 5): On 10 March 2020, anti-government protesters clashed with security forces in the capital Caracas. The clashes took place as thousands of opposition supporters gathered in the city’s Chacao neighborhood for a march led by main opposition leader Juan Guaidó to the National Assembly building, located in the city center. Security forces blocked the advance of the march and deployed volleys of tear gas, while some protesters threw rocks and sticks at security forces. There were no reports of casualties. Following the clashes, Guaidó led a smaller group of protesters to the nearby Alfredo Sadel Plaza for a symbolic ceremony. Meanwhile, supporters of President Nicolas Maduro held a competing rally in the city center. Additionally, opposition supporters held anti-government demonstrations in other major cities, but there were no reports of violence at those gatherings.

AUSTRALASIA

Australia (Security threat level – 2): On the morning of 11 March 2020, a Cessna 404 Titan aircraft with five individuals on board crashed on a beach near the northern coast of Queensland state, approximately 5 km (3 mi) south of Lockhart River Township. Media reports indicate that the aircraft, which originated from Cairns Airport (YBCS/CNS), had made two unsuccessful attempts to land at Lockhart River Airport (YLHR/IRG) prior to the crash. All five individuals aboard the chartered aircraft, including one pilot and four government officials, were killed. Inclement weather conditions were reported in the area at the time; Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) has launched a probe to determine the cause of the crash. The aircraft reportedly belongs to the Perth-based Aerohire charter firm.

WORLD

World: As of 11 March 2020, there are at least 121,000 confirmed cases of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) worldwide, with at least 4,368 deaths. The largest outbreaks are in China (80,967), Italy (10,149), Iran (9,000), South Korea (7,775), Spain (2,026), France (1,784), Germany (1,622) and the U.S. (1,039).

European countries continue to enact further restrictions on travel across the continent. While Italian officials have implemented a nationwide quarantine, neighboring countries have enacted restrictions for travelers arriving from Italy. Austrian officials announced an entry ban on individuals arriving from Italy without a health certificate and canceled flights and trains between the two countries. Austrian citizens returning to the country without a health certificate will have to undergo a 14-day quarantine. Meanwhile, Slovenia announced that it would adopt measures similar to those of Austria, but has not announced when the restrictions would be implemented. Malta has also canceled all flights and ferry operations between the two countries. Additionally, Portugal has canceled all flights to and from Italy and Spain has canceled all flights from Italy until 25 March. The U.S. Embassy in Rome issued a Health Alert that includes additional information on the ongoing nationwide quarantine in Italy, which can be found in the Government Warnings section below.

In Poland, Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki announced the indefinite closure of all cinemas, museums, public schools and universities nationwide beginning on 16 March and remaining in effect for an unspecified period. Ukrainian authorities announced similar measures, banning public gatherings of more than 200 people and closing all schools for at least a three-week period beginning on 12 March.

In the U.S., officials have recorded more than 1,030 cases in at least 35 states and the District of Columbia; nearly 500 of those cases are in the states of Washington, California and New York. There have been at least 28 fatalities; 23 of those deaths — including 19 deaths linked to a nursing home in the Seattle metropolitan area — occurred in Washington, where at least 267 cases have been recorded. Washington Gov. Jay Inslee is expected to announce a ban on gatherings of more than 250 people later on 11 March. Meanwhile, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has deployed National Guard personnel to Westchester County’s New Rochelle area, located just north of New York City, to assist in decontaminating an approximately 1 mi (2 km) radius containment zone around a site near a synagogue connected with an outbreak of 108 cases. Schools, religious facilities and gathering sites within the zone will be shut down for 14 days. Approximately 50 colleges and universities across the country have also shuttered classrooms and are moving curriculum online, as the virus continues to spread.

In China, authorities in the capital Beijing have declared that all foreign travelers to the city must undergo a 14-day self-quarantine. Health officials reported 24 new cases of COVID-19 on 11 March, continuing a downward trend of new infections for a sixth consecutive day. Authorities have begun to shift to preventive measures to protect against imported cases. On 11 March authorities in Wuhan – the epicenter of the outbreak — announced that public transportation workers and industries that produce medical supplies are allowed to return to work. Automotive manufacturers Nissan and Honda partially resumed operations at their factories in Hubei province, where Wuhan is located. In Thailand, authorities have canceled visa on arrival privileges for 19 countries, including Bulgaria, Bhutan, China, Cyprus, Ethiopia, Fiji, Georgia, India, Kazakhstan, Malta, Mexico, Nauru, Papua New Guinea, Romania, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Taiwan, Uzbekistan and Vanuatu. Visa exemptions have been canceled for Italy, Hong Kong and South Korea. Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison announced a ban on travelers from Italy effective at 1800 local time (0700 UTC) on 11 March.

Australian nationals returning from Italy will be required to self-quarantine at home for 14 days. Jordanian authorities have barred travelers from France, Germany and Spain. This ban is in addition to the previous ban against travelers from Italy, Iran and South Korea.

Jordanian authorities also announced the closure of the country’s borders with Israel, Iraq, Egypt and the Palestinian territories on 10 March as part of an overall effort to control the spread of COVID-19 outbreak in Jordan. Additionally, officials with the Iranian Ministry of Health announced that the total number of cases of coranavirus disease in Iran increased by 958 in a single day, bringing the total to nearly 9,000 cases countrywide. Officials also announced the deaths of 63 more individuals from the disease, bringing the official death toll in Iran to 354.

Paraguayan authorities have suspended public schools and public events for the next 15 days in an attempt to stop the spread of the coronavirus. Authorities in Antigua and Barbuda banned all travelers who have visited China or Italy in the last 28 days from entry. In Colombia, President Iván Duque has ordered the quarantine of travelers arriving from China, Italy, France and Spain to curb the spread of COVID-19. Colombia has six confirmed cases of COVID-19.

GOVERNMENT WARNINGS

Italy (Security threat level – 3): On 10 March 2020, the U.S. Embassy in Rome issued a Health Alert regarding the recent nationwide quarantine implemented by the Italian government, which reads in part as follows:
“Location: Italy
“Event: Due to reduced staffing that went into effect March 11, only emergency American Citizen Services and emergency visa services are available at the U.S. Embassy in Rome and Consulates General Milan, Naples, and Florence.
“The CDC advises travelers to avoid nonessential travel to Italy and State Department currently recommends U.S. citizens reconsider travel . See CDC information regarding high-risk traveler categories .
“On March 9, the Italian government released a decree prohibiting movement in public places except for justifiable work reasons (commuting, public and commercial transport is allowed), basic necessities (i.e., food shopping), and health emergencies. The decree also cancels sporting events and public gatherings and closes schools, universities, and recreational facilities through April 3. The Italian government has stated the new decree does not prevent travelers from departing Italy.
“The Italian government has announced that law enforcement authorities would establish checkpoints at airports and train stations to collect self-declaration forms from travelers specifying the purpose of their movement and their destination. Italian officials have also noted that checkpoints may established on highways to collect these forms.”
The full text of the advisory can be found here .