Worldview Security Update – March 24, 2020
24-Mar-20

AMERICAS

Americas: On 23 March 2020, in the Bahamas, Prime Minister Hubert Minnis expanded the country’s nightly curfew into a 24-hour curfew during 24-31 March, as part of an effort to curb the spread of COVID-19. Essential businesses and services will remain open, including hospitals, doctors’ offices, medical facilities, supermarkets, farmers markets, banks, pharmacies and gas stations. All airports and seaports are closed to passengers on incoming international flights and vessels; however, outbound flights continue to operate.

In the British Virgin Islands, authorities announced on 22 March the closure of all airports and seaports to inbound passengers as of 2359 local time on 22 March (0359 UTC on 23 March) until 6 April at 2359 local time. During this period, outbound travelers will be allowed to depart the country between 0700-1900 local time. The restriction applies to foreign nationals as well as British Virgin Islands nationals and permanent residents. Cargo, courier and medical aircraft and vessels are exempt from the restriction, as are pre-authorized aircraft and vessels.

In the Cayman Islands, authorities announced on 23 March a nightly curfew for all residents from 2100-0500 local time (0200-1000) beginning on 24 March and continuing until 3 April as part of an effort to slow the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19). Groups of more than 10 people are banned and public buses will cease to operate from 24 March-7 April; however, taxis will be allowed to operate. Gov. Martyn Roper stated that the measures were in place to help enforce the current rule that returning residents must self-isolate for 14 days. Violating the curfew or self-quarantine for returning travelers can result in a fine of up to 3,000 Cayman Islands dollars (3,600 U.S. dollars), or up to a year in jail.

In Cuba, authorities announced on 23 March that all tourists currently staying in hotels will be quarantined beginning on 24 March. Additionally, tourist excursions are suspended and those staying in accommodation houses are banned from leaving the houses. Tourists are not allowed to rent cars and inter-provincial travel is suspended. It is currently unknown how long these restrictions will last.

In Grenada, authorities confirmed the country’s first case of COVID-19 on 22 March. The patient is a Grenadian national who recently traveled to the U.K. Authorities also announced that until further notice, all foreign nationals and non-residents of Grenada who have traveled to the U.S. within the prior 14 days will be denied entry to the country. Grenadian authorities previously announced that as of 19 March, and until further notice, foreign nationals and non-residents of Grenada who have traveled to the U.K. and Europe within the past 14 days will also be denied entry into the country.

In Mexico, Gov. Alfredo del Mazo of the state of Mexico — where the capital Mexico City is located — announced on 24 March that all businesses that do not engage in the sale of medicine or food will be closed — including but not limited to shopping centers, bars, nightclubs and theaters. In accordance with the new rules, public places such as museums and libraries will also be closed, and restaurants may offer takeout and delivery services only.

In Panama, President Laurentino Cortizo announced the extension of the nationwide curfew already in place in an attempt to curb the spread of COVID-19. Effective 24 March, a curfew is in place from 1700 to 0500 local time (2200 to 1000 UTC). Previously, the curfew had lasted from 1900 to 0500 local time.

In the Turks and Caicos Islands, authorities announced on 21 March the closure of the territory’s air and sea borders to foreign nationals and non-residents as of 0000 local time (0400 UTC) on 24 March until 0000 local time on 14 April. During this period, all airports and seaports are set to be closed to inbound regional and international travel. Outbound flight and vessel operations are exempt from the restriction, as are all cargo, courier and medical evacuation flights. Only nationals and residents of the Turks and Caicos Islands will be allowed to enter the territory.
United States (Security threat level – 2): On 23 March 2020, the U.S. states of Delaware, Indiana, Massachusetts, Michigan and Washington issued stay-at-home orders and banned mass gatherings as part of an overall effort to limit the rapid spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19). Individuals traveling for essential purposes, such as obtaining basic goods — including food and medicine — and for work in sectors deemed essential, are exempt from the restrictions. Commercial establishments that are deemed essential — such as banks, grocery stores and gas stations — will remain open; however, all nonessential businesses have been ordered to suspend in-person operations. In Delaware, the order went into effect at 0800 local time on 24 March and will remain in place until 15 May; In Indiana, from 2359 local time on 24 March to 2359 local time on 6 April; in Massachusetts, from 1200 local time on 24 March until 1200 local time on 7 April; in Michigan, from 0001 local time on 24 March to 2359 local time on 13 April; and, in Washington, the order went into effect on 23 March and will last for the next two weeks. All nonessential businesses in Washington have been ordered to shut down by 25 March.

Additionally, in Harris County, Texas — where Houston is located — officials issued a similar stay-at-home order, with the same exceptions, on 24 March, which is scheduled to go into effect at 2359 local time and expire on 3 April. In Atlanta — Georgia’s state capital — the city mayor ordered residents to stay in their homes from 0000 local time on 24 March through 7 April. As of the latest reports, the U.S. has recorded at least 46,481 confirmed COVID-19 cases with nearly 600 fatalities.

ASIA

Asia: On 24 March 2020, the Health Commission for China’s Hubei province announced that it will lift travel restrictions in and out of the province on 25 March, with the exception of Wuhan — the original epicenter of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak. Travel restrictions for Wuhan are set to be lifted on 8 April, when individuals can leave based on health status. Currently, Wuhan residents considered healthy can travel within the city and use public transportation if they show identification. Residents can also return to work with a permit from their employer. Wuhan has been under lockdown since 23 January.

On 24 March authorities in Laos announced that the first two confirmed cases of COVID-19 were reported in Vientiane, the capital. According to officials, the patients work in the tourism industry, recently traveled abroad and had close contact with foreign travelers. However, it remains unknown if the patients contracted the virus abroad or in Laos.

Officials in Myanmar announced the country’s first two confirmed cases of COVID-19 on 24 March. The patients reportedly traveled separately to the U.S. and U.K. Health officials are investigating any possible contacts the patients may have had since returning to Myanmar.

Thailand’s Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-o-cha announced that the government will declare a state of emergency on 26 March that will remain in place for at least one month due to the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak. Prayuth announced that additional measures will be implemented to prevent further spread of the disease in conjunction with the state of emergency. The forthcoming measures will likely include restrictions on public assemblies, prohibitions on transportation, a requirement to remain at home and penalty for spreading misinformation.

In Brunei, an entry ban went into effect for all incoming foreign travelers, including those transiting the country, on 24 March The ban applies to all ports of entry until further notice. Additionally, the government will temporarily suspend all visa services.

The government of Bangladesh has announced that all domestic flights will be suspended from 25 March-4 April. Previously, the government suspended all public transportation services, including bus and rail, indefinitely to limit the spread of COVID-19. Health officials have recorded at least 39 confirmed COVID-19 cases nationwide, with four deaths.

EUROPE

Europe: As of 24 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 (63,927), Spain (39,673), Germany (30,150) and France (20,149). Transportation services remain significantly disrupted and lockdowns continue across the continent as countries attempt to contain COVID-19.

On 23 March U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson issued a nationwide “stay-at-home” order to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in the country. The lockdown measure closes all nonessential businesses and limits movement within the country, with the exception of shopping for necessities, seeking medical attention and traveling to and from work. The lockdown is expected to last for three weeks. Additionally, the U.K. Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) announced that all U.K. travelers should return home from abroad as soon as possible. The FCO warned that commercial flights are becoming increasingly limited as airline restrictions and border closures continue to cause significant disruptions to travelers.

Officials in Cyprus announced a nationwide lockdown beginning on 24 March. The lockdown, which is expected to last through 13 April, bans all nonessential travel and closes all parks and beaches within the country. Additionally, Austria and Denmark announced extensions to their lockdown measures that are set to last until 13 April.

Greek flag carrier Aegean Airlines announced that it will be suspending all international flights due to the spread of COVID-19 and increasing travel restrictions. The suspension is expected to last from 26 March through 30 April. Officials stated that a small number of flights will continue to operate between Athens and Brussels, Belgium.

MIDDLE EAST AND NORTH AFRICA

Middle East and North Africa: As of 23 March 2020, U.S. and U.K. officials have announced repatriation options for travelers in Israel, Jordan and Egypt in an attempt to evacuate their nationals from countries that have imposed border closures in an effort to contain the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19). Additionally, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) announced that it will extend visas for visitors to the country after the country’s airspace shuts down on 25 March.

In Israel, the U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem announced on 23 March that three airlines are operating flights to the U.S., but cautioned that the status of remaining flights will be subject to change with little advance notice. El Al and Turkish Airlines will continue flights to the U.S. until 27 March, while United Airlines will continue flights until 15 May. All three airlines operate from Tel Aviv Ben Gurion International Airport (LLBG/TLV).

In Jordan, the U.S. Embassy in Amman announced on 23 March that Royal Jordanian Airlines and Qatar Airlines are providing repatriation flights from Queen Alia International Airport (OJAI/AMM), which are scheduled to occur on 27 March. The Royal Jordanian flight will take off from Amman on 27 March at 1200 local time (1000 UTC) and the Qatar airlines flight is scheduled to take off from Amman on 27 March at 0100 local time. U.S. nationals interested in the flight must book through Alwoujdan travel agency by 1000 local time on 25 March and fill out this travel request form , which is also available on the embassy website.

The U.K. ambassador to Egypt announced on 23 March that the U.K. government is planning its final evacuation charter flights for U.K. nationals seeking to leave Egypt. The final flights will depart Cairo International Airport (HECA/CAI) on 26 March, and U.K. nationals seeking to leave are urged to contact the U.K. Embassy in Cairo at the following email address: [email protected] .

In the UAE, authorities announced that visitors who were not able to leave the country due to flight suspensions and land border closures will be granted permission to legally remain within the UAE after all international flights are suspended on 25 March. The Emirati Civil Aviation Authority announced that the suspension of all international flights to and from the country will last until at least 8 April. The suspension will not affect cargo or evacuation flights.

SUB-SAHARAN AFRICA

Sub-Saharan Africa: As of 24 March 2020, officials across Africa have confirmed more than 1,200 cases of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) and continue to implement new restrictions aimed at preventing further spread of the disease. On 23 March South African President Cyril Ramaphosa announced a nationwide lockdown, which will go into effect on 26 March and continue through at least 16 April at minimum. Under the terms of the lockdown, all nonessential businesses must close; essential personnel — such as health care workers, police officers and other emergency personnel — and those producing basic goods and supplying food are exempt. Individuals may leave their homes for essential purposes only, such as buying food and seeking medical care. The South African National Defense Force and the South African Police Service will be deployed to enforce the lockdown.

On the evening of 23 March, Alassane Ouattara and Macky Sall — the presidents of Côte d’Ivoire and Senegal, respectively — declared states of emergency and announced new restrictions for their countries. In Côte d’Ivoire, President Ouattara ordered the closure of all restaurants and bars and banned all ground movements outside of Abidjan. Additionally, a nightly curfew will be imposed nationwide during 2100- 0500 local time. Meanwhile, in Senegal, President Sall’s emergency declaration went into effect at 0000 local time/UTC on 24 March and includes a nightly curfew during 2000-0600 local time. The newly introduced restrictions are set to remain in place indefinitely in both countries.

Officials in South Sudan announced that the country has closed its land borders and suspended all international commercial flights to and from the country; the restrictions went into effect at 0000 local time (2100 UTC) on 24 March. Cargo and humanitarian transportation are exempt from both land and air restrictions.

In Ethiopia, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed announced on 22 March that the country will close its land borders effective immediately as part of an overall effort to prevent the spread of COVID-19. The ban will not apply to the movement of essential goods. Ahmed has also deployed federal security forces to all land border crossings in order to ensure that the public adheres to the restrictions. As of the latest reports, airports in the country remain open and operational.