Worldview Security Update – May 13, 2020
13-May-20

AMERICAS

Brazil / Mexico / Venezuela (Security threat levels – 3 / 4 / 5): On 13 May 2020, officials in the Brazilian city of Rio de Janeiro placed the Freguesia, Guaratiba, Pavuna e Méier, Realengo, Taquara, Tijuca, and Zona Norte neighborhoods under lockdown due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Only essential workers or individuals with proof of residence may pass through roadblocks and checkpoints placed around the quarantined neighborhoods. City officials also banned nonresidents from parking in the city. The governor of Rio de Janeiro state decreed non-binding quarantine recommendations and commerce restrictions through the end of May, and pledged to make additional police officers available to the state’s 92 mayors to enforce local measures.

In Mexico, authorities on 13 May presented a comprehensive three-phased “New Normal” plan to reopen the country and loosen coronavirus-related restrictions. In Phase One that begins on 18 May, 266 municipalities with no active COVID-19 cases — distributed throughout 15 states — will resume normal activities. The government will install sanitary cordons around these municipalities to help prevent the future transmission of COVID-19. Concurrently, in Phase Two, scheduled for 18-31 May, the government will prepare for a general reopening of Mexico by establishing health protocols and training businesses to maintain healthy workspaces. During Phase Three, which will begin on 1 June, the health secretary will rate each state on a weekly basis to determine which activities may resume and at what scale. Authorities did not provide details on the criteria for each rating. In addition, the government reclassified industries — such as construction, mining and transportation equipment manufacturing — as essential activities that may continue while nonessential activities remain suspended.

In Venezuela, President Nicolas Maduro on 12 May extended the nationwide lockdown until 12 June. The original lockdown order took effect on 13 March and was scheduled to expire on 12 May. Under the order, residents must continue to adhere to social distancing measures and restrict their movement to activities such as seeking medical attention or procuring essential goods. 

ASIA

China / Philippines (Security threat levels – 3 / 4): On 13 May 2020, authorities in the Chinese city of Jilin implemented restrictions on movement and gatherings until further notice in response to an emerging cluster of COVID-19 cases. Rail and long-distance bus services are suspended, public gatherings are banned and venues, such as movie theaters and cafes, have been ordered to close. Outdoor markets will be closed from 14 May. Residents attempting to leave Jilin must test negative for COVID-19 within 48 hours of travel.

Meanwhile, Philippine Airlines officials on 13 May announced that domestic flights at Manila’s Ninoy Aquino International Airport (RPLL/MNL), Mactan-Cebu International Airport (RPVM/CEB) and Clark International Airport (RPLC/CRK) will remain suspended until at least 31 May due to the government’s ongoing “enhanced community quarantine” (ECQ) in those areas. However, airline officials are considering operating domestic and international flights from Davao’s Francisco Bangoy International Airport (RPMD/DVO) following Davao’s ECQ expiration on 15 May.

Philippines (Security threat level – 4): According to the Joint Typhoon Warning Center (JTWC), as of 0900 UTC on 13 May 2020, Tropical Storm Vongfong — locally known as Ambo — was located approximately 910 km (565 mi) east-southeast of Manila, the capital of the Philippines, and was moving west at 7 kph (4 mph). At that time, Ambo was generating maximum sustained winds of 110 kph, with gusts of up to 140 kph. Overnight, the storm strengthened to a tropical storm from a tropical depression as it tracked toward the central Philippines. On its current path, Ambo is expected to make landfall on Catanduanes Island on 14 May before entering the Philippine Sea and making a second landfall on northeastern Luzon Island by 16 May. The storm is forecast to bring heavy rainfall of between 100-250 mm (4-10 in) across central and northern Philippines through 17 May before exiting Luzon and moving northeast toward Japan’s Ryukyu Islands.

EUROPE

Germany / Poland / North Macedonia (Security threat levels – 3 / 2 / 3): German officials plan to relax border restrictions with certain countries — imposed to contain the spread of COVID-19 — beginning on 15 May 2020. Germany is expected to fully reopen its borders with Luxembourg and most border crossings with Austria, France and Switzerland, with random health screening checks in place through 15 June; all border crossings into Germany from these countries are expected to fully reopen on 15 June. Conversely, in neighboring Poland, authorities extended the existing closure of the country’s borders to all foreign nationals through 12 June. Polish officials have, however, continued to ease restrictions within the country and are expected to announce guidelines regarding the reopening of schools, restaurants and salons later on 13 May.

Meanwhile, in North Macedonia, Prime Minister Oliver Spasovski announced on 12 May a three-step plan to gradually ease coronavirus-related restrictions. No official dates have been set for each phase of the plan; however, authorities are set to periodically assess the situation to determine whether to continue easing measures and proceed to the next phase. Officials are expected to release additional information regarding new measures in the forthcoming weeks.

MIDDLE EAST AND NORTH AFRICA

Algeria / Saudi Arabia (Security threat levels – 4 / 3): On 12 May 2020, the Algerian government extended its ongoing nationwide lockdown through 31 May in an effort to prevent the spread of COVID-19. All lockdown measures — including the nightly curfew from 1700 to 0700 local time (1600 to 0600 UTC), and the suspension of public transportation and commercial flights — will remain in effect. All large gatherings are banned until the end of the lockdown period, and the government also continues to advise residents to limit their movement.

In Saudi Arabia, authorities on 12 May announced that they will implement a nationwide 24-hour curfew from 23-27 May to coincide with the Eid al-Fitr holiday; the government has not outlined any exceptions. In addition to the curfew, authorities will aggressively enforce social distancing measures in the kingdom during the Eid holiday period, limiting the number of people at private gatherings to five attendees.

SUB-SAHARAN AFRICA

Guinea (Security threat level – 4): On 12 May 2020, dozens of taxi drivers and residents protesting against coronavirus-related transportation restrictions — including a ban on all ground travel to and from the capital Conakry — clashed with security forces in the suburbs of Coyah and Dubréka, located approximately 30 km (20 mi) northeast of the Conakry. Protesters attacked police officers and attempted to set fire to police checkpoints and roadblocks along the N1 and N3 highways, prompting officers to open fire. At least six people were reportedly killed during clashes with police officers throughout the day.

Meanwhile, in Kamsar — a port city located approximately 255 km north of Conakry — residents gathered to protest power outages that occurred in recent days. Demonstrators blocked roads and set fires in the area and vandalized the home of a local official. At least one person was reportedly killed during protest-related violence.

Mozambique / Niger / South Sudan (Security threat levels – 3 / 5 / 5): On 12 May 2020, Mozambique’s Civil Aviation Institute extended the existing ban on all international commercial flights into the country through 31 May due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Cargo and humanitarian chartered flights are exempt from the ban. A state of emergency also remains in effect through 30 May, which closes nonessential businesses and bans nonessential domestic travel. All residents are also required to wear a face mask in public spaces, including aboard public transportation and in markets.

In Niger, authorities began to ease restrictions on 13 May by allowing mosques and churches to reopen, with mandatory social distancing measures. Religious facilities must also undergo proper sanitizing and disinfecting before each gathering. Additionally, authorities lifted the nightly curfew that was in place in the capital Niamey; however, all air and ground travel into and out of the city is restricted through 23 May.

In South Sudan, as of 12 May domestic and international passenger flights have resumed at airports nationwide — including at Juba International Airport (HSSJ/JUB) — following President Salva Kiir’s announcement to begin easing coronavirus-related restrictions. All arriving international travelers must adhere to Ministry of Health recommendations, which include providing medical certificates from their country of origin confirming that they tested negative for COVID-19, and undergoing a two-week self-isolation upon arrival. In addition, airlines are required to leave empty seats between passengers and enforce the use of protective masks for all crew members and passengers.

GOVERNMENT WARNINGS

Benin (Security threat level – 3): On 12 May 2020, the U.S. Embassy in Cotonou issued an alert regarding special flight options to Paris, which reads in part as follows:

“…Air France has indicated it is offering limited flights from Cotonou to Paris. Passengers who wish to return to the United States must be able to secure a connecting onward flight from Paris to a destination in the United States. Those interested in learning more about this potential opportunity should contact Air France directly at +229 98 45 48 48 or 51 33 85 21.

“There are no other known commercial flight options to depart Benin at this time. Passengers whose flights were previously cancelled should contact their airline directly for information about rebooking options.”

The full text of the Alert is available here .

Chile (Security threat level – 2): On 12 May 2020, the U.S. Embassy in Santiago issued a Health Alert regarding city-level quarantines, which reads in part as follows:

"As of May 12, the Ministry of Health has confirmed 31,721 cases of COVID-19 in Chile. The government of Chile has implemented measures to limit the spread of COVID-19. The following new measures were announced by the Chilean government on May 11:

  • The extension of quarantines until Tuesday, May 19 for the following comunas: Santiago, Recoleta, Quilicura, Cerrillos, Antofagasta, y Mejillones

"For a full list of measures implemented by the Chilean government, please visit our Embassy webpage on COVID-19 ."
The entire text of the alert is available here
Kenya (Security threat level – 4): On 13 May 2020, the U.S. Embassy in Nairobi issued a Health Alert regarding a chartered flight, which reads in part as follows:

“Location: Kenya

“Event: The Embassy of the Republic of Korea has offered seats to U.S. citizens on a chartered flight with Ethiopian Airlines on May 20th, 2020. The fare will be approximately USD590 from Nairobi to Addis Ababa. There will be a service charge of 5% with Visa or MasterCard payments.

“Passengers are responsible for booking their own onward travel to the United States and must have valid entry documents to enter the United States. Please note that travelers transiting through Addis Ababa with a long layover must go to one of the government-owned quarantine hotels at their own expense. Travelers should arrange an itinerary through the Addis airport with minimal layover. Please contact Love Africa Safari and Travel, Mr. Jared (0725-017915, 0733-998576) to book tickets.”

The full text of the alert is available here .