Worldview Security Update – March 4, 2020
4-Mar-20

EUROPE

France (Security threat level – 3): Air traffic controllers associated with the Union Syndicale de l’Aviation Civile-CGT (USAC-CGT) are expected to observe a nationwide strike on 4 March 2020 as part of an ongoing dispute over the French government’s plans to reform the country’s pension system. The labor action is scheduled to last from 1900 local time (1800 UTC) on 4 March through 0630 local time on 9 March. Minimum services have been guaranteed and capacity adjustments are expected throughout the strike period. Air France has announced disruptions to short- and medium-distance flights, but has stated that long-distance flights would remain unaffected. Ryanair and Volotea have also announced disruptions to their flight services. Travelers should contact their respective airlines to check the status of their flights.

WORLD

World: As of 4 March 2020, there are at least 94,250 confirmed cases of coronavirus worldwide, with approximately 3,200 deaths from the coronavirus disease (COVID-19). The World Health Organization (WHO) has advised governments and private companies to increase production of protective equipment in order to allay concerns of global supply shortages. A number of countries, including Germany and Russia, have implemented export prohibitions for a variety of medical gear, including facemasks, in order to ensure adequate domestic supplies.

In South Korea, there are 5,621 confirmed cases, with 33 deaths. South Korea has accounted for 435 of the 672 new cases reported worldwide in the past 24 hours. On 4 March, the U.S. Embassy in Seoul issued a travel update in which it stated that effective 0000 local time on 3 March all travelers on direct flights from South Korea to the U.S. must be screened for fever before departing the country; the text of the alert can be found in the Government Warnings section below.

Italian authorities have announced that nationwide school and university closures are under consideration due to ongoing concerns over the spread of COVID-19. Officials stated that the decision would be announced later on 4 March. The potential closure comes as 400 new cases were reported on 3 March, bringing the total number of cases to 2,502 people infected with the virus.

India reported 22 new confirmed cases of COVID-19 on 4 March, bringing its total to 28 cases. Of the 22 new cases, 15 are reportedly Italian nationals. There have been no reported deaths. Authorities stated that the Italian nationals remain in quarantine at a facility in New Delhi. Officials announced plans to begin screening all arriving international travelers as a precaution. Prime Minister Narendra Modi also announced his intent to skip planned Holi celebrations on 9 March. However, there are currently no indications that Holi activities nationwide will be suspended.

In Iran, there are about 2,922 confirmed cases, with 92 deaths reported; Iran has recorded the highest number of fatalities from the virus outside of China. President Hassan Rouhani announced that the virus has spread to all provinces in the country and at least 23 members of parliament have tested positive for the virus.

The U.S. now has 128 confirmed cases of COVID-19, with nine deaths reported — all in the northwestern state of Washington. Four new cases were confirmed in the state of California, including one suspected case of community transmission in northern California’s Contra Costa County.

In Kuwait, authorities announced that beginning on 8 March all visitors to the country with recent travel through 10 countries — including Bangladesh, Egypt, India, the Philippines and Sri Lanka — will be required to present proof they are free of COVID-19 in order to enter the country. Travelers who have recently visited Iraq, Italy, Japan, Singapore or South Korea remain prohibited from entering Kuwait. Meanwhile, Zimbabwe has implemented similar measures with immediate effect for all countries with at least one confirmed case of the virus; foreign nationals from COVID-19-affected countries who are currently in Zimbabwe may be subject to deportation if they are unable to present the required documentation.

GOVERNMENT WARNINGS

Ghana / Togo (Security threat levels – 3 / 4): On 3 March 2020, the U.S. Embassy in Accra issued an Alert, which reads in part as follows:

“Location: Sogakope, Ghana
“Event: Demonstration/Protest
“The U.S. Embassy in Accra is monitoring media reports about the possibility of protests in Sogakope, Volta Region, Ghana. The protests could potentially block the main highway linking the Greater Accra Region and parts of the Volta Region through Sogakope as well as other major roads. Sogakope serves as a primary route to and from Togo. Travel in this area may be disrupted in the coming days.
“Be advised that any protests are volatile and can become confrontational at any moment.”

Greece (Security threat level – 3): On 4 March 2020, the U.S. Embassy in Athens issued a Security Alert regarding clashes between authorities and migrants along the border, which reads in part as follows:
“Location: Lesvos, Chios, Samos, and Evros land border
“Event: Large numbers of migrants and refugees are gathered at multiple locations along the Greek-Turkish border. Roadblocks and protests—including some violent clashes—have broken out and continue to occur on the island of Lesvos and the land border in the Evros region. The Embassy has received reports of violence against U.S. citizens attempting to travel in Lesvos.
“The Embassy is in contact with the local authorities regarding the safety and security of U.S. citizens in these locations. At this time, there are no changes to the travel policy for U.S. government personnel or to consular services.
"Actions to Take:

  • Consider departing the area if you feel your personal safety is at risk
  • Have evacuation plans that do not rely on U.S. government assistance
  • Follow instructions from local authorities
  • Avoid crowds and demonstrations.”

South Korea / United States (Security threat levels – 2 / 2): On 4 March 2020, the U.S. Embassy in Seoul issued updated travel information for all flights from South Korea to the U.S., which reads in part as follows:
“As of 12:00 a.m. on March 3 the ROK began temperature screening all passengers on direct flights from the ROK to the United States. This mandatory screening applies to all passengers on U.S.-bound flights. Passengers who register a higher temperature than 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit will not be permitted to board, and their baggage will be removed from the aircraft. Health screening procedures are subject to change at any time, we recommend that you check with your airline prior to travel in order to confirm current procedures."

The full text of the alert is available here.