Worldview Security Update – May 19, 2020
19-May-20

AMERICAS

Chile / El Salvador (Security threat levels – 2 / 4): On 18 May 2020, clashes broke out between police officers and protesters in the El Bosque neighborhood of Chile’s Santiago metropolitan region. The officers used water cannons and tear gas to disperse the protesters, who staged the demonstration despite coronavirus-related restrictions prohibiting public gatherings. The protest began on Avenida Nueva Imperial on the border with the impoverished La Pintana neighborhood to denounce the lack of food and other essential resources, as well as the government’s lack of assistance during the community’s four-week-long quarantine. In response, President Sebastian Piñera promised to deliver more than 2.5 million food baskets to homes. No arrests or injuries occurred during with the protest.

In El Salvador, the Supreme Court on 18 May suspended President Nayib Bukele’s coronavirus-related state of emergency, which he extended for an additional 30 days on 16 May without congressional approval. The Supreme Court noted that the suspension was temporary, pending a more complete review, and urged Bukele to work with lawmakers to draft a revised order. Bukele stated that he would abide by the order and propose a new plan on 19 May.

ASIA

Bangladesh / India (Security threat levels – 4 / 3): As of 0900 UTC on 19 May 2020, Tropical Cyclone Amphan was located approximately 670 km (435 mi) south-southwest of Kolkata, the capital of the Indian state of West Bengal, and was moving north at 17 kph (10 mph), according to the Joint Typhoon Warning Center (JTWC). At that time, Amphan was generating maximum sustained winds of 203 kph, with gusts of up to 250 kph. The storm has weakened slightly to the equivalent of a Category 4 hurricane, but storm surges of 3-5 m (10-16 ft) are forecast along coastal areas.

Amphan is expected to make landfall along the coast of West Bengal, which borders Bangladesh, on the afternoon of 20 May and is also expected to affect India’s Odisha (also formerly called Orissa) state as well as most of Bangladesh. Authorities in West Bengal and Odisha expect to evacuate more than a million residents. On 19 May officials in West Bengal began evacuating residents from the coastal districts, of the Bay of Bengal — including East Midnapore, South 24-Parganas and North 24-Parganas. The cyclone is forecast to severely affect Howrah, Hooghly, West Midnapore and Kolkata districts in the state. Meanwhile, a government spokesman in Bangladesh stated that emergency crews will attempt to evacuate approximately 2.2 million residents in the country.

The COVID-19 pandemic is complicating evacuation efforts. More than 10,000 migrant workers are in the process of leaving cities for their home villages due to lack of work amid India’s nationwide coronavirus-related lockdown — particularly to villages in West Bengal and Odisha. Authorities in Odisha have canceled trains due to arrive on 18 and 20 May; however, many migrants are returning home on foot. As a result, some districts have barred entry ahead of the storm. Additionally, a higher than usual number of evacuation centers are required to maintain social distancing and some of the evacuation shelters are already in use as quarantine centers. In Odisha state, 250 of the 800 evacuation shelters are currently being used as COVID-19 quarantine centers.

China (Security threat level – 3): On 19 May 2020, Hong Kong’s government extended coronavirus-related restrictions, including a ban on gatherings of more than eight people, until 4 June. However, beginning on 22 May religious gatherings will be exempt to resume at 50% capacity, but food or drinks will not be permitted at the events. Businesses, such as nightclubs and karaoke venues, will remain closed. Authorities also announced plans to increase COVID-19 testing capacity to 7,000 tests per day from the current 4,500.

EUROPE

Europe: On 19 May 2020, French authorities recommended that beginning on 20 May all travelers arriving from outside of the EU — including French residents — observe a 14-day self-quarantine upon arrival in the country due to the COVID-19 pandemic. France is expected to gradually reopen its borders to foreign nationals on 15 June, while the external borders of the passport-free Schengen Zone remain closed until further notice.

In Portugal, officials lifted additional nationwide coronavirus-related restrictions as of 18 May, announcing that the country had entered the second phase of the plan to reopen the economy. During the second phase, retail stores up to 400 sq. m (approximately 4,300 sq. ft) may reopen if patrons and employees utilize face masks. Restaurants, cafes, and pastry shops may also reopen for reservations only and operate at 50% capacity. Additionally, museums, monuments, palaces and art galleries may reopen with reduced capacity to allow for physical distancing measures. Moreover, schools are allowed to reopen, including day care centers for children up to 6 years of age, facilities for individuals with disabilities, and secondary schools for 11th and 12th grade students to prepare for final examinations.

On 18 May Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan ordered a 24-hour curfew from 23-26 May for the Eid al-Fitr holiday. The curfew will apply to all 81 provinces in the country. Residents will be restricted to their homes. There are no exceptions to the curfew.

MIDDLE EAST AND NORTH AFRICA

Morocco / Qatar (Security threat levels – 3 / 2): On 18 May 2020, Moroccan authorities extended the country’s health state of emergency until at least 10 June due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The state of emergency restricts movement across the country, with exceptions for essential purposes, including work, grocery shopping and obtaining medical care or purchasing medication.

In Qatar, on 18 May authorities ordered all nonessential businesses to close until 31 May. Pharmacies, grocery stores and food delivery services are exempt from the measure. All citizens and residents must also install a mobile phone application designed to trace COVID-19 cases beginning on 22 May. Additionally, no more than two occupants at a time may ride in a private vehicle together, and no more than three occupants are allowed in a chauffeured vehicle. Buses may only operate at 50% capacity. Residents may exercise outdoors near their homes as long as they wear face masks.

SUB-SAHARAN AFRICA

Sub-Saharan Africa: As of 19 May 2020, the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Africa has surpassed 88,000; governments throughout the region continue to impose new restrictions while easing others. The most recent notable developments in Nigeria, the Republic of Congo, Tanzania and Uganda are outlined below.

On 18 May Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari extended nationwide restrictions through 1 June. The order includes a nationwide nightly curfew from 2000-0600 local time (1900-0500 UTC) and a ban on all nonessential interstate travel between the country’s 36 states. Residents are also required to wear face masks in public. In addition to the restrictions, Buhari announced that “precision lockdowns” will be imposed in areas with a high number of COVID-19 cases. Health officials have reportedly identified at least nine local government areas (LGAs) with a high burden of COVID-19 cases, but have not confirmed additional details regarding the forthcoming lockdowns.

In the Republic of Congo, officials extended the nationwide nightly curfew — which runs from 2000 to 0500 local time (1700 to 0200 UTC) — until at least 31 May. Travel between Brazzaville and Pointe-Noire, as well as between these cities and rest of the country, remains suspended except for essential reasons, but public transportation within the two cities has resumed. The country’s borders are closed until further notice. Bars, sporting venues and other entertainment facilities are expected to remain closed until further notice. Face masks are mandatory in public locations.

In Tanzania, the civil aviation authority lifted all restrictions to international passenger flights operating from and to the country as of 18 May. Arriving passengers will be screened for COVID-19 symptoms at all entry points, but will no longer be required to quarantine for 14 days. Travelers will be required to fill out a Traveller’s Surveillance Form and submit it to Port Health Authorities upon arrival in Tanzania.

In Uganda, President Yoweri Museveni announced plans on 18 May to begin easing restrictions by 2 June, including allowing public transportation to resume at 50% capacity. Nonessential businesses that are not located in crowded buildings and schools may also reopen. Face masks will be required in public, but the government plans to disseminate masks to all citizens who are age 6 or older. 

GOVERNMENT WARNINGS

Greece (Security threat level – 3): On 19 May 2020, the U.S. Embassy in Athens issued an update regarding COVID-19 in Greece, which reads in part as follows:

“Country-Specific Information:

  • Greek authorities confirmed 2,836 cases of COVID-19 within its borders as of May 18.
  • Social distancing measures are in effect until further notice.
  • May 18: Travel restrictions within the country will be lifted, allowing movement from one prefecture to another, except for the islands. Museums and cultural sites open. Some organized beaches open with social distancing measures. Ferries to some locations begin at 50 percent capacity to permit workers to return with mandatory temperature checks and an empty seat between passengers.
  • June 1: Shopping malls, department stores, and hotels that operate year round open. Restaurants and coffee shops operate only open-air premises (may be opened as early as May 25).
  • Early June: Opening of entertainment and sports venues (cinemas, theaters, entertainment centers, gyms, etc.), with social distancing and at 60% capacity. Interior spaces of restaurants and coffee shops open.
  • Mid June: Seasonal tourist accommodations open, restoration of regular sea ferry traffic to the islands. This is when the Greek government expects to open the islands for tourism
  • No flights between Greece and Italy, Spain, the United Kingdom, Turkey, and the Netherlands until the end of May. Flights to Germany began May 18. See Flights to/from the United States .
  • Most island access continues to be restricted to permanent residents and may remain so until mid-June. Crete is accessible as of May 18.

"Entry and Exit Requirements:

  • Non-EU citizens may not enter Greece until 11:00 p.m. on June 15. Exceptions include spouses or minor children of EU/Schengen nationals, long-term residents, members of government delegations, and passengers in transit. Check with your airline for document requirements as your marriage certificate or your children’s birth certificates may be required to board.
  • We do not have any information after June 15 and cannot answer whether your travel plans after this date can proceed. We will update this page as information is available.
  • We are aware of media reports that later this summer visitors will be required to have a negative COVID-19 test result no more than 72 hours prior to arrival in Athens. As the Greek government has not made an official announcement, we have no additional information.
  • We received reports that recent international flights arrived full (middle seats used) with minimal social distancing. If you are concerned about this, contact your airline prior to travel.
  • No particular documentation to enter/exit Greece is needed at this time.

"Quarantine Information:

  • Greek authorities announced a mandatory 14 day self-quarantine on all international arrivals through the end of May. All international passengers must take a COVID-19 test upon arrival. If you do not agree to the test or to quarantine, you will not be admitted into Greece.
  • Upon arrival, you are escorted off the plane and asked to fill out a tracing form. You are then taken into a booth in the arrivals lounge for a throat swab. After collecting your luggage, you board a bus which takes you to a designated hotel where you must remain until results come through the next day. If you are negative, you are released but must still quarantine for 14 days. If you are positive, you are told to stay in the hotel and given medical assistance. For any other arrival questions, you must consult directly with the airport."

The full text of the update can be viewed here .

Lesser Antilles (Security threat level – 1): On 19 May 2020, the U.K. Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) issued updated travel advice for St. Lucia, which reads in part as follows: 

“The Government of St Lucia has made a series of announcements, which mean effective from 18 May:

  • Businesses are permitted to recommence full operations, in their normal location and within normal business hours, adhering to COVID19 related protocols issues by the Ministry of Health.
  • Educational institutions remain closed
  • Social events including the cinema and mass crowd events remain closed

“From 18 May St Lucia is under curfew from 9pm to 5am. Everyone should remain in their accommodation during this period.” 
Malaysia (Security threat level – 3): On 18 May 2020, the U.K. Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) updated its travel advice regarding Malaysia’s Movement Control Order, which reads in part as follows:

“The government of Malaysia has introduced a Movement Control Order that restricts the entry of foreign nationals until 9 June 2020. Under the terms of that Order, no foreign nationals can enter Malaysia except those with diplomatic passports, those who have Permanent Residence or those who are an ‘expatriate in an essential service’.”

Mali (Security threat level – 5): On 19 May 2020, the U.S. Embassy in Bamako issued a Demonstration Alert, which reads in part as follows:

“Location: Announced gathering point includes, but is not limited to, the following place in Bamako, Mali:

  • Bourse du Travail

“Event: The Platform Against Corruption has called for a protest on Thursday, May 19 at 3:00 p.m. to call for the release of its president, professor Clement Mahamadou Dembele. This event will occur at the Bourse du Travail. The Malian authorities have not approved this demonstration.

“This event may draw more than 50 people, which is prohibited under Malian COVID-19 countermeasures. Recent events have encountered a strong police/security force presence, the use of tear gas, and other riot control measures. Also, demonstrations often cause traffic disruptions.”