Worldview Security Update – March 23, 2020
23-Mar-20

AMERICAS

Americas: In Belize, the government announced on 23 March 2020, the closure of Philip Goldson International Airport (MZBZ/BZE), the country’s only international airport, until further notice, in an attempt to curb the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19). On 21 March, the government closed the northern border, which includes the Corozal Free Zone. Cargo trucks and aircraft are exempt from the orders.

In Brazil, the governor of the São Paulo state announced that a 15-day quarantine would commence on 24 March for the state’s 645 municipalities. The announcement came after the state’s capital city São Paulo realized six additional virus-related deaths in one day, bringing the total to 15 COVID-19 fatalities in Brazil’s most populous state with 46 million residents. The order requires the closure of all shopping centers and gyms within the metropolitan regions of the state, and recommends the suspension of religious services such as celebrations of Mass. Businesses such as supermarkets, bakeries, pharmacies, restaurants, gas stations, convenience stores and pet product shops, as well as open markets, are expected to continue operations. Overall, Brazil has 1,619 confirmed cases of the virus.

Bolivia’s government imposed a 14-day nationwide quarantine on 22 March, which went into effect at 0000 local time (0400 UTC). Supermarkets, hospitals, banks and pharmacies will operate normally, but only one member of each household will be permitted to leave their residence to go to such stores. Authorities previously closed Bolivia’s borders, suspended all international fights and instituted a nationwide nightly curfew from 1700-0500 local time.

In Chile, the government imposed a nationwide nightly curfew on 22 March from 2200-0500 local time (0100-0800 UTC) until further notice. In addition, local quarantines or “sanitary cordons” have been implemented for the towns of Chillan, all of Chiloe Island and Puerto Williams. Security forces have assumed effective control of the communities of Las Condes, Providencia and Vitacura — which are all within the Santiago metropolitan area — in order to ensure Chilean citizens and foreign nationals comply with mandatory self-quarantine procedures and social distancing guidelines. All foreign visitors and Chilean nationals who arrived in Chile before authorities banned all entry into the country on 18 March are required to self-quarantine for 14 days.

Colombia’s President Iván Duque announced that a nationwide quarantine will be implemented in Colombia beginning at 2359 local time on 24 March (0459 UTC on 25 March) until at least through 12 April. Limited exceptions will be in place for essential personnel, including medical workers and emergency responders. Colombia imposed the suspension of international traffic at all airports as of 0000 local on 23 March; while departing flights remain operational, travelers were advised to confirm existing flight itineraries and prepare for possible cancellations or delays. In addition, all non-resident foreign travelers are prohibited from entering Colombia for a period of 30 days, effective 23 March; travelers who enter the country will be subject to mandatory quarantine for 14 days.

In Cuba, the government announced that it will ban foreign travelers from entering the country, effective 23 March. Airlines carrying Cuban nationals and residents are exempt. The closure is planned to last for 30 days. The government also mandated the closure of campsites and placed restrictions on hotels, restaurants and bars.

In Paraguay, the government imposed a nationwide ban on nonessential movement from 20-28 March. Exceptions exist for essential workers and for travel to grocery stores, pharmacies and transport to hospital facilities. In addition, all non-citizen or non-resident arrivals were banned from entry from 18-30 March.

In Trinidad and Tobago, the government suspended all international flights to and from the country as of 0000 local time (0400 UTC) on 22 March 2020 until further notice. The ban does not apply to cargo vessels and aircraft.
United States (Security threat level – 2): As of 23 March 2020, a number of states and counties across the U.S. have issued stay-at-home orders, ordered the closure of nonessential commercial establishments and banned mass gatherings as part of an overall effort to combat the rapid spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19). Those traveling for essential purposes, such as obtaining basic necessities — including food and medicine — and for work in sectors deemed essential are exempt from the restrictions. Airports and public transportation services in the locations will remain open. The states of Connecticut, Illinois, Louisiana, New Jersey, New York and Ohio have implemented such measures — in addition to Dallas County, Texas, and St. Louis County, Missouri — along with the cities of Anchorage, Alaska and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. In Connecticut, the “Stay Home Stay, Safe” order is in effect from 2000 local time on 23 March (0000 UTC on 24 March) through 22 April; in Illinois from 1700 local time (2200 UTC) on 21 March until 7 April; in New Jersey from 2100 local time (0100 UTC) on 21 March through 7 April; in New York from 2000 local time on 22 March (0000 UTC on 23 March) until further notice; and, in Ohio from 0000 local time (0400 UTC) on 23 March through 6 April.
Additionally, in Dallas County, Texas, the “Stay Home, Stay Safe” order will be in effect from 2359 local time on 23 March (0459 UTC on 24 March) until at least 3 April. Missouri’s St. Louis County enacted the order effective 23 March until further notice. In Anchorage, the restrictions went into effect at 2200 local time on 22 March (0600 UTC on 23 March), and will remain in place through 31 March. In Philadelphia, Pennsylvania the orders were enacted at 0800 local time (1200 UTC) on 23 March, and will remain in place until further notice. Meanwhile, in Hawaii, the counties of Honolulu and Maui issued a stay-at-home order for the islands of Oahu — where Honolulu is located — and Maui. The order will remain in effect for Oahu beginning at 1630 local time on 23 March through 30 April and in Maui from 25 March-30 April. Hawaii Gov. David Ige has implemented statewide entry restrictions requiring all arriving travelers — including residents — to self-quarantine for 14 days upon arrival in the state beginning on 26 March; a statewide shelter-in-place order, except for essential purposes, could be issued in the near term. As of the latest reports, the U.S. has recorded 35,225 confirmed COVID-19 cases, with more than 470 fatalities.

ASIA

Asia: On 21 March 2020, the Civil Aviation Authority of Bangladesh announced immediate restrictions through 31 March, on passenger flights arriving from Bahrain, India, Kuwait, Malaysia, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Turkey and the United Arab Emirates. Furthermore, all foreign nationals who have traveled to countries in the EU or Iran since 1 March are prohibited from entering Bangladesh. All foreign travelers are required to provide medical documentation indicating that they are free of COVID-19 infection within 72 hours of traveling to the country; visitors from a country with confirmed COVID-19 cases will be required to self-quarantine for 14 days upon arrival. Visa-on-arrival services have been suspended for all passengers until at least 15 April. Foreign travelers already in Bangladesh are exempt and may extend their visas for up to three months.

On 23 March Hong Kong officials announced that all foreign nationals will be prohibited from entering the territory or transiting through Hong Kong International Airport (VHHH/HKG) beginning on 25 March for a period of at least 14 days. The entry ban will also apply to travelers from mainland China and Macao who have traveled to any other country within 14 days of their arrival in Hong Kong. Arrivals directly from Macao will be subject to mandatory quarantine procedures. At present, there are at least 318 confirmed COVID-19 cases in Hong Kong.

On 22 March Indian officials announced that at least 75 districts — including Delhi, Mumbai and Hyderabad — will be placed under lockdown until 31 March to curb the spread of COVID-19. Additional lockdowns were also announced throughout the states of Uttar Pradesh, Punjab, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Maharashtra. Nonessential businesses will be required to close down while residents are only allowed to leave their homes for essential goods — such as food and medication — and for work. In addition, all metro service operations and Indian Railways passenger trains have been suspended. Officials warned that additional districts are likely to be placed under lockdown in the forthcoming days; travelers should monitor local media for the most recent developments. In Maharashtra — where the cities of Mumbai, Pune, Nagpur and Nashik are located — Chief Minister Uddhav Thackeray announced on 23 March additional measures, including restrictions on transportation between the state’s districts as well as a curfew; additional details have yet to emerge.Separately, beginning on 25 March all domestic flights, except for cargo flights, will be suspended until further notice. India has recorded at least 425 confirmed COVID-19 cases.

Beginning at 0000 local time on 22 March (1700 UTC on 21 March), all Thai-Lao border crossings are closed until further notice. The border’s main checkpoint — the Thai-Lao Friendship Bridge between Vientiane and Nong Khai — closed at 2200 local time. All foreign nationals as well as Lao and Thai nationals will be prohibited from crossing the border; vehicles transporting cargo are exempt from the order. Furthermore, at least four temporary border checkpoints will be closed. Thus far, there have been no reported COVID-19 cases in Laos, whereas Thailand has recorded at least 720 cases.

Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan ordered the suspension of all international flights, effective 2000 local time (1500 UTC) on 21 March for an initial period of two weeks. Earlier in the day, Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) announced that it was suspending all flights until at least 28 March. Pakistan has recorded at least 800 confirmed COVID-19 cases.

In Singapore, beginning at 2359 local time (1559 UTC) on 23 March until further notice, a temporary ban on all tourists and short-term travelers to the country or those transiting through airport facilities went into effect. In addition, entry into the country for foreign nationals with valid work permits will be restricted to only those employed in essential service sectors such as healthcare or commercial transportation. All other travelers will be issued a 14 day Stay-Home Notice upon arrival and must show proof of where they will serve the quarantine. There are currently at least 455 confirmed COVID-19 cases in Singapore.

In Thailand, on 22 March additional screening procedures went into effect for all international arrivals, including those transiting through the country. Prior to checking in for a flight to Thailand, all passengers will be required to present a health certificate issued by a medical professional within the previous 72 hours before arrival in Thailand, which states that the traveler is not infected with COVID-19. Travelers will also be required to provide proof of travel insurance coverage of at least 100,000 U.S. dollars, which covers COVID-19. If they are unable to provide the aforementioned documentation, passengers will not be allowed to board their flight.

On 21 March the government of Vietnam suspended all inbound international flights with immediate effect; some flight paths — including operations from Germany and Australia — will continue to operate until 25 March. Authorities did not state how long the measure would last, but flag carrier Vietnam Airlines canceled all international flights through at least 30 April due to COVID-19 outbreak. Budget airline VietJet likewise suspended services to and from international destinations on 20 March. Returning Vietnamese citizens will be required to quarantine in government-run centers for at least 14 days upon arrival; travelers with diplomatic visas will be required to self-quarantine. Vietnam has recorded at least 121 confirmed COVID-19 cases.

AUSTRALASIA

Australasia: In Australia, beginning on at 1200 local time (0100 UTC) on 23 March 2020, mass gathering sites — including clubs, cinemas, casinos and place of worship — closed until further notice in order to prevent the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19). Essential services, such as grocery stores, pharmacies, petrol stations, delivery services — in addition to freight and logistics operations — will remain open and restaurants will be restricted to carryout services only. Schools in the states of Victoria and New South Wales will reopen following the Easter holidays. Furthermore, on 22 March officials in the state of South Australia announced that they will implement entry restrictions on all travelers into the state beginning at 1600 local time (0530 UTC) on 24 March until further notice. The state will partially restrict border crossing points to 12 “land-based stations” at train depots and airports; travelers will be required to undergo COVID-19 health screenings and agree to self-quarantine for 14 days upon entry into the state. The measure is the first inter-state travel restriction to be implemented within Australia. There are at least 134 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the state, and at least 1,682 confirmed cases nationwide.

Meanwhile, in New Zealand, Prime Minster Jacinda Ardern raised the country’s COVID-19 alert level to Level 3 on 23 March and announced that the level of advice will upgrade to Alert Level 4 effective 0000 local time on 25 March (1100 UTC on 24 March) until at least 22 April. Beginning on 25 March New Zealand will impose a nationwide lockdown and the following measures will be implemented: nationwide shelter-in-place order for all residents: all schools and non-essential businesses closed; required rationing of essential supplies and potential government requisition of facilities; all travel for purposes other than obtaining basic necessities, such as food or medical services, prohibited; national health care services will re-prioritize resources to combat COVID-19. Essential services — such as grocery stores, medical facilities and pharmacies — will remain operational during this time. In addition, essential personnel, including first responders and health care practitioners, will be exempted from the travel restrictions. Officials have advised the general populace to begin preparations for the nationwide lockdown and to keep abreast of local developments and follow any guidance or directives from local authorities. At present, New Zealand has at least 102 confirmed cases of COVID-19, and health authorities have confirmed cases of local transmission.

In Papua New Guinea, beginning on 24 March a two-week state of emergency will be implemented to restrict the movement of residents. In addition to the previous ban on incoming international flights, all domestic flights will be grounded and movement between provinces will be limited to approved cargo, medicine and security personnel. Furthermore, residents are only permitted to leave their homes to obtain essential goods and medical care or travel to work if they are unable to work remotely. Prime Minister James Marape issued the order after the island nation reported its first confirmed cases of COVID-19 on 20 March.

EUROPE

Croatia / Slovenia (Security threat levels – 2 / 2): At approximately 0625 local time (0525 UTC) on 22 March 2020, a 5.4 magnitude earthquake struck approximately 10 km (6 mi) north of Zagreb, Croatia, and nearly 30 km east of Brežice, Slovenia, according to the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS). The quake registered at an approximate depth of 10 km. Moderate to strong shaking was reported in Zagreb and a number of other communities near the epicenter, while residents in much of northern Croatia, eastern Slovenia — including in Ljubljana — as well as northwestern Bosnia and Herzegovina, also felt the tremor. At least one 4.6 magnitude aftershock followed the initial tremor. A number of buildings in Zagreb, including the parliament building sustained significant damage. At least 17 people suffered quake-related injuries; one of the victims was in critical condition.
Europe: As of 23 March 2020, confirmed cases of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) continue to significantly increase across Europe. At present, there are four countries that have surpassed 10,000 confirmed cases: Italy (59,138), Spain (33,089), Germany (26,220) and France (16,720). Transportation services continue to experience significant disruptions and lockdowns continue across the continent as officials attempt to contain COVID-19.

On 23 March Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis implemented a nationwide lockdown to prevent further spread of COVID-19. Exemptions to the lockdown include travel to and from work, buying essential goods and physical exercise. Residents are expected to carry an identification card while outside. Additionally, in Spain, Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez announced plans to extend the state of emergency for 15 days. The nationwide quarantine measures are expected to remain in place through at least 12 April.

In Italy — where the death toll due to the COVID-19 pandemic has increased to 5,476 — officials banned all movement within the country indefinitely. Under the order, people will be restricted to the municipality where they are currently located; only specified cases in which an individual has proven business or health reasons are exempt from the restrictions. All measures apply to private and public transportation.

On 21 March Georgian Prime Minister Giorgi Gakharia declared a state of emergency in the country. Officials stated that a curfew will not be imposed at this time, but intercity public transportation has been restricted. Additionally, officials placed the eastern cities of Bolnisi and Marneuli on lockdown.

Bosnia and Herzegovina announced a nationwide nightly curfew from 1800-0500 local time (1700-0400 UTC) from 22 March until further notice; a separate curfew remains in effect for those under 18 years or over 65 years of age until 31 March. In addition, the Republika Srpska implemented nighttime curfew from 2000-0500 local time for all residents and foreign nationals, and a 24-hour curfew for everyone over the age of 65; the measure will remain in effect from 21 March-30 March. Additionally, North Macedonia issued a nationwide curfew from 2100-0600 local time (1900-0400 UTC). Public transportation will be suspended during the curfew hours. Romania has also announced a nationwide lockdown until 15 April and implemented a nightly curfew from 2200- 0600 local time (2000-0400 UTC).

MIDDLE EAST AND NORTH AFRICA

Middle East and North Africa: As of 23 March 2020, countries in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region are enacting stringent measures to slow the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), including restrictions on domestic and international travel. Countries that have enacted new restrictions include Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Iraq, Kuwait, Morocco and Egypt.

On 22 March Saudi Authorities announced a nationwide nightly curfew from 23 March-13 April in an effort to slow the spread of COVID-19. The curfew will be in effect from 1900-0600 local time (1600-0800 UTC). Individuals conducting essential business are exempt.

In the UAE, Emirates airline announced that most passenger flights will be temporarily suspended beginning on 25 March due to reduced demand caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. Flights will continue to operate to and from 13 countries — including the U.S., U.K., Japan, Australia and Canada. Officials stated that the suspension will not affect the flights scheduled before 25 March; however, travelers have been advised to monitor the most recent developments and contact the airline in the event of any abrupt changes.

In Iraq, on 22 March authorities imposed a total nationwide lockdown in the country. The lockdown is expected to last at least until 28 March. In addition to the closure of schools and public spaces, Iraq’s major airports — including Baghdad International Airport (ORBI /BGW) and Erbil International Airport (ORER/EBL) — will suspend all inbound and outbound flights. Prior to the order, several governorates announced nightly curfews, which restricted vehicle and pedestrian movement from 0000-0600 local time (2100-0300 UTC); similar measures are expected to be enforced nationwide. Thus far, there have been 233 confirmed COVID-19 cases in Iraq.

Meanwhile, Libyan authorities implemented a nighttime curfew from 1800-0600 local time (1600-0400 UTC) beginning on 22 March. In addition, members of the Government of National Accord (GNA) announced that all public venues — including restaurants, cafes and party halls — will be closed while all large-scale gatherings are banned until further notice. Thus far, there have been no confirmed COVID-19 cases in Libya.

Kuwaiti Authorities announced a nationwide nightly curfew from 1700-0400 local time (1400-0100 UTC), which began on 22 March. The nighttime curfew is scheduled to remain in effect until at least 5 April. Kuwait has recorded a total of 176 confirmed COVID-19 cases.

On 23 March the Moroccan National Office of Railways (ONCF) suspended all train lines between the cities of Kenitra, Rabat, Casablanca, Settat, and El Jadida in order to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Additionally, it is limiting train services to all other destinations. Authorities announced the suspension on 21 March.

SUB-SAHARAN AFRICA

Guinea (Security threat level – 4) : On 23 March 2020, the overall security environment in the capital Conakry remains tense following violent clashes that occurred in the city during the constitutional referendum and legislative elections held on the previous day. Violence occurred throughout the day, with reports of opposition activists attacking polling stations and clashing with security forces in several of Conakry’s northern suburbs, including Cosa and Hamdallaye. At least 10 people were killed during the violence — including those who reportedly suffered gunshot wounds — and dozens more were injured. The Guinean military and police force remain on high alert and continue to conduct patrols throughout the city. As a precaution, travelers and expatriates in Guinea should continue to limit non-essential ground movements to the extent possible due to the potential for further unrest and violence.

Sub-Saharan Africa: As of 23 March 2020, a number of Sub-Saharan African countries continue to implement measures as part of overall efforts to prevent the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), which is currently affecting at least 43 countries across the continent. In East and Central Africa, new measures have been implemented in Uganda, Kenya, Rwanda, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC), Republic of Congo (ROC) and Angola. In Uganda, effective 0000 local time on 22 March (2100 UTC on 21 March), authorities closed Entebbe International Airport (HUEN/EBB) — located near the capital Kampala — to commercial traffic until further notice. Additionally, Uganda’s land borders and lake ports are indefinitely closed to all arrivals; the closure will not apply to commercial trucking. Foreign nationals in the country have been advised to arrange for departure flights out of Uganda while such flights remain available. Uganda currently has one confirmed case of COVID-19.

Kenyan authorities have announced the indefinite suspension all international flights from 2359 local time (2059 UTC) on 25 March; cargo flights will be exempt from the restrictions. All arriving travelers as of 22 March are required to undergo mandatory quarantine at government-mandated facilities for 14 days upon entry into Kenya until further notice; visitors will be responsible for all expenses associated with the quarantine. In addition, all bars and similar entertainment venues have been ordered to close for an indefinite period as of 22 March; restaurants can provide takeout and delivery services only. All public venues, businesses and transportation systems have been directed to implement strict social distancing protocols and take steps to ensure compliance. At present, Kenya has recorded at least 15 confirmed cases of COVID-19.

Rwandan Prime Minister Edouard Ngirente declared a nationwide quarantine, effective as of 0000 local time on 22 March (2200 UTC on 21 March) until 4 April. Additionally, the country’s borders will remain closed for two weeks. A temporary ban on nonessential travel between different cities and districts is also in effect, and all employees who are able are required to work from home. Only essential businesses will remain open, and residents may only leave their homes for essential purposes — such as to obtain food or for urgent health care needs. Rwanda has recorded at least 17 confirmed COVID-19 cases.

In the DRC, officials announced the suspension of all international commercial flights to and from the country through at least 3 April. Domestic flights remain operational, but can be restricted with little advance warning. All schools and universities remain closed until at least 17 April, while authorities have ordered the closure of all nonessential businesses — such as bars, nightclubs and restaurants — until further notice. In addition, authorities have indefinitely banned all gatherings of more than 20 people.

Meanwhile, on 21 March the Republic of Congo suspended all international passenger flights and closed all land, air and maritime borders until further notice; these measures do not apply to cargo flights and vessels. The country has recorded at least three confirmed cases. Meanwhile, in Angola, the Ministry of Health recorded the country’s first confirmed COVID-19 case on 21 March, prompting authorities to immediately close all borders, cancel schools and ban all gatherings of more than 50 people.

In West Africa, officials in Côte d’Ivoire, Liberia, Ghana, Guinea and Togo announced new restrictions on travel and the closure of their countries’ respective borders to most foreign nationals, including the suspension of international commercial flights. In Ghana, President Nana Akufo-Addo ordered at least a two-week closure of all air and land borders, which went into effect at 0000 local time/UTC on 22 March. All international travelers who arrived prior to the closure will be required to quarantine for 14 days.

In Côte d’Ivoire, the government closed all air, land and sea borders effective 0000 local time/ UTC on 22 March. Cross-border cargo shipments will not be affected. Additionally, all international flights will be suspended until further notice; humanitarian and military flights will continue to operate.

In Liberia, officials announced the suspension of all commercial flights — excluding cargo, charter and other “special” flights — as of 2359 local time/ UTC on 23 March. The suspension will remain in place through at least 14 April.

Togo closed its land borders to all travelers as of 0000 local time/UTC on 21 March. The closure does not apply to cargo and the movement of goods. Additionally, the government put several cities — including the capital city Lomé, Tsévié, Kpalimé and Sokodé — into lockdown effective 0600 local time on 21 March, closing all schools and canceling all gatherings of more than 15 people.