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Worldview Security Update – May 14, 2020


Chile / Jamaica (Security threat levels – 2 / 3): On 13 May 2020, Chile’s Ministry of Health significantly expanded city-level quarantine measures in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. According to the new order, all 32 municipalities within the Santiago metropolitan region, as well as the adjacent communities of Colina, Lampa, San Bernardo, Buin, Puente Alto and Padre Hurtado and the municipalities of Alto Hospicio and Iquique in Tarapacá region, will enter quarantine from 2200 local time on 15 May (0200 UTC on 16 May) until further notice. Checkpoints around the quarantined neighborhoods will limit traffic and slow the spread of COVID-19. Residents under city-level quarantine are required to remain indoors and obtain a government permit — a maximum of two per week are allotted per household — to travel in order to procure essential goods and services. Chile remains under a nationwide nightly curfew during 2200-0500 local time.

In Jamaica, authorities on 13 May amended the nightly curfew hours to 2000-0500 local time (0100 to 1000 UTC) through 24 May. From 25-26 May the curfew will be in effect from 1500-0500 local time. Finally, from 26-31 May the curfew will be in place from 2100-0500 local time. Churches and bars may reopen on 16 and 19 May, respectively, as long as patrons wear face masks and stand at least 2 m (6 ft) apart, and the establishments follow sanitation mandates. Churches must also perform temperature checks on each individual upon arrival. Residents over the age of 65 must remain home unless they are performing essential activities, such as seeking medical care or buying food.


Japan / Thailand (Security threat levels – 1 / 3): On 14 May 2020, Japanese Prime Minister Abe Shinzo canceled the nationwide state of emergency imposed to limit the spread of COVID-19 in 39 of the nation’s 47 prefectures. The order remains in effect in Chiba, Hokkaido, Hyogo, Kanagawa, Kyoto, Osaka, Saitama and Tokyo. Abe stated that the prefectures in which the state of emergency is being lifted had reached an infection rate of below 0.5 per 100,000 individuals. Authorities will decide on 21 May whether to lift the state of emergency in the eight remaining prefectures.

Meanwhile in Thailand, Phuket International Airport (VTSP/HKT) will resume a limited number of domestic flights on 16 May after being closed since 3 April. According to authorities, travelers arriving in Phuket will be required to complete a form detailing their medical history, provide their reason for visiting, download the health tracking “Mor Chana” mobile phone application and quarantine at home for an unspecified number of days.

Philippines (Security threat level – 4): At approximately 1215 local time (0415 UTC) on 14 May 2020, Typhoon Vongfong — locally known as Ambo — made landfall in the city of San Policarpio, located on the eastern portion of Samar Island. The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (PAGASA) issued a Wind Signal 3 alert for Sorsogon and Albay provinces on Luzon Island, Ticao Island, Northern Samar province and the northern portion of East Samar province. Wind Signal 3 — the third highest level on a five-tier scale — indicates that Ambo’s winds could potentially uproot trees, topple power poles, destroy crops and cause notable damage to structures within the next 18 hours. Authorities have also warned of potential flooding and landslides due to heavy rainfall. Officials evacuated tens of thousands of people from the region ahead of the typhoon’s landfall, and no reports of injuries or deaths have emerged thus far.

According to the Joint Typhoon Warning Center, as of 1700 local time, Ambo was located approximately 535 km (332 mi) east-southeast of Manila and was moving west at 17 kph (10 mph). At that time, Ambo was generating maximum sustained winds of 185 kph, with gusts of up to 231 kph. On its current path, the storm is forecast to move north across Luzon Island before exiting into the South China Sea by 17 May and continuing toward Japan’s Ryukyu Islands.


Sweden / Montenegro (Security threat levels – 2 / 2): On 13 May 2020, Swedish officials extended an entry ban on all nonessential travel from non-EU countries, except Switzerland and the U.K., until 15 July. The travel ban, put in place to contain the spread of COVID-19, was scheduled to expire on 15 May. Officials also extended the ban on public events involving more than 50 people.

Meanwhile in Montenegro, on the night of 13 May clashes broke out between police officers and protesters in the city of Nikšic, located approximately 55 km (35 mi) north-northwest of the capital Podgorica. Additional clashes occurred in the city of Pljevlja, where police officers deployed tear gas and stun grenades to disperse the crowd. Approximately 60 people, including 26 police officers, were injured in the violence. Protesters had gathered to demand the release of eight Serbian Orthodox Church priests whom authorities had jailed for leading a religious procession, despite a government-imposed ban on large gatherings to curb the spread of COVID-19.


Iraq / Oman (Security threat levels – 5 / 2): On 13 May 2020, Iraqi authorities imposed a lockdown on the city of Najaf to prevent anyone from entering the city, except under humanitarian circumstances, in an effort to stem the spread of COVID-19 during the 14 May commemoration of the Martyrdom of Ali. Mourners are allowed to gather near the Imam Ali Shrine, but officials are only allowing one vehicle per group in an effort to control congestion. The Martyrdom of Ali is usually associated with pilgrimages to Najaf, in addition to large gatherings of mourners in the city.

Meanwhile, on 14 May officials in Oman announced that long-term expatriates who work in the country will be allowed to return as soon as flights become available. Officials suspended flights to and from Oman on 29 March, and it remains unknown when they will resume.


Sudan (Security threat level – 5): On the evening of 13 May 2020, Sudanese officials began to enforce a 24-hour curfew in South Kordofan province, which will remain in place through at least 16 May, following violent unrest in the provincial capital Kadugli. The violence broke out on the evening of 11 May following a dispute between two individuals regarding the sale of a firearm in a Kadugli market. Since that time, the clashes have left at least 26 people dead and dozens more injured, including several members of the paramilitary Rapid Support Forces (RSF).

Analyst Comment: Sudan’s transitional government is currently leading negotiations with numerous rebel groups that operate in the country’s western and southern regions; however, rebel activity and sectarian violence remain prominent concerns in these areas. The recent unrest in South Kordofan is the third instance of armed violence to occur across Sudan in the past month; similar violence has occurred recently in South Darfur and Kassala provinces