Worldview Security Update – May 4, 2020
4-May-20

AMERICAS

Americas: In Honduras, authorities on 4 May 2020, extended the nationwide curfew until 17 May. Residents may only leave their homes to procure food and supplies or medical care. Movement is restricted from 0700 to 1700 local time (1300 to 2300 UTC) on Monday, Wednesday and Friday and residents leave their homes one time per week based on their identification card number. Furthermore, officials also extended the country’s red alert status until 10 May. The alert allows the government to supersede any state or local jurisdiction to implement regulation.

Meanwhile in Peru, authorities on 3 May issued a Supreme Decree outlining a strategy to gradually restart commercial activities in four monthly phases. During Phase 1 — which runs through May — commercial activities are to resume in the agricultural, commerce, construction, manufacturing, mining, services and tourism sectors. State governments will be responsible for implementing the new measures. Businesses must comply with sanitary guidelines and public health measures. The National Agreement Forum — comprising government officials as well as economic and social leaders — is scheduled to meet ahead of the initial implementation of Phase 1 on 5 May.

ASIA

Asia: As of 4 May 2020, governments throughout the Asia-Pacific region continue to implement measures such as entry bans and movement restrictions designed to curb the spread of COVID-19. Notable developments in Bangladesh, Japan, Afghanistan, Sri Lanka, the Maldives, the Philippines, Laos, Malaysia and Singapore are outlined below.

On 4 May Bangladeshi government officials extended the country’s lockdown until 16 May. While reports indicate that officials may ease some restrictions during the forthcoming weeks, the lockdown extension will continue to limit nonessential movement and enforce social distancing rules. Meanwhile, Japanese government officials extended their country’s state of emergency until 31 May; the Afghan government extended restrictions until 24 May; the Sri Lankan government extended the nationwide daily 24-hour curfew until 11 May; and authorities in the Maldives extended the ongoing lockdown in the capital Malé and the surrounding areas – including Vilimale and Hulumale – until 15 May.

In the Philippines, authorities on 3 May suspended all international and domestic flights until further notice; cargo, medical supplies, repatriation flights for foreign nationals, utility and maintenance flights are exempt from the order. However, all international flights should request an exemption from the Civil Aviation Authority of the Philippines (CAAP) at least 36 hours before scheduled services to obtain an exemption. The ban is effective across all airports within the country – including Ninoy Aquino International Airport (RPLL/MNL) and Mactan–Cebu International Airport (RPVM/CEB).

In Laos, as of 4 May the government has begun easing lockdown restrictions after the country recorded its 20th consecutive day without any new COVID-19 cases. Nevertheless, some measures are expected to remain in place until 17 May pending further review. Businesses — including restaurants, shopping centers, offices and salons – will be allowed to reopen, provided that residents wear face masks and maintain a social distance of 1 m (3 ft). Recreational spaces, such as theaters, bars and gyms, remain closed, and travel across provincial borders is banned until further notice. Total lockdown measures will be reinstated if new infections are detected in at least two provinces.

On 4 May officials permitted most businesses and economic sectors in Malaysia to reopen amid a decrease in the number of daily reported COVID-19 cases. Nevertheless, they are advising residents to adhere to social distancing practices when leaving their homes. Schools and other public spaces that involve gatherings in close proximity – such as cinemas and mosques – remain closed to prevent community-based transmission of the virus. The government also prohibited movement between towns and cities during the Eid holiday at the end of Ramadan on 23 May.

In Singapore, health officials on 2 May announced plans to begin easing coronavirus-related restrictions within the next several weeks. Beginning on 12 May, some businesses – including home-based stores, food retail outlets and food manufacturing companies – will be allowed to resume operations. Despite the gradual reopening of business, officials advised residents to continue adhering to social distancing measures, and to avoid leaving their homes except to procure essentials goods and services. In addition, nonessential stores, such as salons, theaters and nightclubs, remain closed; restrictions are expected to remain in place until 1 June.

EUROPE

Europe: On 4 May 2020, officials in Malta began to ease coronavirus-related restrictions. The government has initiated a three-week program to gradually reopen commercial activities; however, residents must continue to wear face masks inside stores. Gatherings of up to four people are allowed, and some nonessential stores – except for salons, bars and restaurants – may resume operations. Malta International Airport (LMML/MLA) will remain closed to all passenger flights until the end of May.

Additionally, on 4 May authorities in Armenia began lifting restrictions on movement and various businesses. Small shops, salons, dry cleaners and other commercial businesses — in addition to the construction and manufacturing sectors — are now permitted to resume normal operations. The government also lifted interregional and intercity movement restrictions, and removed checkpoints set up along roadways. However, shopping centers, malls and larger marketplaces and academic institutions will remain closed, and public transportation services will continue to be suspended at least until the nationwide state of emergency expires on 14 May.

In Bulgaria, beginning on 6 May officials will lift restrictions on intercity travel. They will lift additional restrictions on movement and nonessential businesses, as well as public recreational facilities in the coming days; however, officials have not provided further details regarding the timeline.

MIDDLE EAST AND NORTH AFRICA

Middle East and North Africa: On 3 May 2020, authorities in Jordan began lifting coronavirus-related restrictions. All businesses and industries are permitted to resume normal operations without restrictions on staff levels or adherence to social distancing and other health guidelines. On 6 May restaurants and bakeries may resume dine-in services, and remain open for extended hours to provide delivery services. However, they must comply with social distancing measures, and staff must wear facemasks and gloves. Furthermore, movement restrictions have been partially eased to allow vehicle travel within individual governorates on alternating days according to the last digit on a vehicle’s license plate. Residents in the governorates of Ajloun, Aqaba, Jerash, Kerak, Maan, Madaba and Tafilah are permitted to use their vehicles irrespective of plate number. However, a nationwide nightly curfew from 1800 to 0800 local time (1500 to 0500 UTC) remains in effect; all nonessential travel is prohibited during that time.

In Tunisia, the majority of shops and businesses  – except for cafes, bars, restaurants and salons –  began reopening on 4 May. Although residents are allowed to leave their homes, they must adhere to social distancing rules and wear face masks in public spaces. The nightly curfew from 1800 to 0600 local time (1700 to 0500 UTC) remains in effect until further notice. 

In Egypt, reports from 3 May indicate that hotels will be allowed to operate at 25% capacity until the end of May. Officials previously suspended international flights and closed hotels to foreign travelers, but domestic tourists are allowed to stay at hotels under specific health restrictions. In order to resume operations, hotels must possess an onsite clinic with a resident doctor and disinfection equipment, as well as implement regular temperature screenings. Hotels will be allowed to operate at 50% capacity beginning on 1 June; however, large events – such as weddings and parties – will remain banned until further notice.

SUB-SAHARAN AFRICA

Sub-Saharan Africa: As of 4 May 2020, the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Africa has reached nearly 45,000 and has spread to 53 out of 54 countries. The most recent notable developments in Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire, Madagascar, Mauritius, São Tomé e Príncipe, Senegal and Zimbabwe are outlined below.

In Cameroon, on 30 April officials started easing social distancing restrictions amid the decreasing number of COVID-19 cases. The new orders permit bars, restaurants and nightclubs to reopen after 1800 local time (1700 UTC). Residents are required to continue adhering to social distancing guidelines and wear face masks when in public spaces. In addition, public transportation — including buses and taxis — is allowed to resume operations but with reduced occupancy.

In Côte d’Ivoire, authorities extended the nationwide state of emergency and nightly curfew — which remains in place from 2100-0500 local time/UTC — through 15 May. Additionally, all international commercial flights remain suspended and nonessential travel between most cities is prohibited until further notice.

On 2 May authorities in Madagascar extended the nationwide health state of emergency until at least 17 May. A nationwide nightly curfew from 2100 to 0400 local time (1800 to 0100 UTC) remains in place, during which all nonessential travel is prohibited. Academic institutions, places of worship, public gathering venues and all other nonessential businesses will remain closed, and gatherings of more than 50 people remain prohibited. Security forces have established checkpoints outside of the capital Antananarivo and other major cities to screen travelers and enforce compliance with social distancing measures as well as restrictions on occupancy for public and private transportation.

In Mauritius, authorities extended the nationwide lockdown until 1 June, but will begin to lift certain restrictions on 15 May. At that time a number of nonessential businesses — including salons, banks and hardware stores — will be allowed to reopen. A staggered shopping schedule remains in place, and residents must continue adhering to social distancing measures while in public. The nationwide nightly curfew remains in effect from 2000 to 0800 local time (1600 to 0400 UTC).

In São Tomé e Príncipe, President Evaristo Carvalho extended the existing state of emergency for Boa Vista and Santiago islands until 14 May; the emergency on São Vicente island expired on 2 May.

In Senegal, authorities extended the current nationwide state of emergency until at least 2 June. A nationwide nightly curfew remains in effect from 2000-0600 local time/UTC, and residents are prohibited from traveling outside their homes during that time. Residents must wear a face mask at all other times while in public.

In Zimbabwe, President Emmerson Mnangagwa extended the nationwide lockdown through at least 15 May. Despite the extension, Mnangagwa eased certain restrictions, including allowing some nonessential businesses to reopen between 0800 and 1500 local time (0700 and 1400 UTC). Public transportation has also resumed on a limited basis to transport essential workers, including health care workers and government employees.

GOVERNMENT WARNINGS

Egypt (Security threat level – 4): On 4 May 2020, the U.K. Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) updated its travel advice for Egypt, which reads in part as follows:

"Lufthansa is operating a flight from Cairo to Frankfurt on Monday, 11 May. Bookings can be made by calling the Lufthansa Sales Office in Egypt on 02 258 03500 between 8:30am – 3:00pm Sunday – Thursday. Passengers will be required to wear face masks onboard. Options for onward travel to the UK might be limited: please make sure you have arrangements in place before booking."

Jordan (Security threat level – 3): On 4 May 2020, the U.K. Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) updated its travel advice for Jordan, which reads in part as follows:

"Some commercial operators have been able, in exceptional cases, to negotiate flights out of Jordan. There are currently two confirmed commercial Royal Jordanian flights to London Heathrow from Queen Alia International Airport. The flights are on 6 and 7 May 2020 at 12:00 and scheduled to arrive at London Heathrow Terminal 2 at 15:25. These are the only options currently available.

"Tickets can be booked directly from the Royal Jordanian website .

"There is no need to register with the British Embassy for these flights and passengers who have booked tickets are responsible for making their own way to the airport to take these flights."

Philippines (Security threat level – 4): On 4 May 2020, the U.S. Embassy in Manila issued an updated Health Alert regarding repatriation flights, which reads in part as follows:

“Location: The Philippines

“Event:

“U.S. Embassy and Philippine Airlines (PAL) Partner to Assist Stranded U.S. Citizens (SURVEY DEADLINE EXTENDED):

“Due to overwhelming demand for the special May 9 PAL flights to assist stranded U.S. citizens and Lawful Permanent Residents, PAL has agreed to leave the sign-up link open until WEDNESDAY May 6 at 8:00 p.m. (Manila time). All flights are contingent upon sufficient demand. If you are interested in this flight, click here NOW.

“Check your contact details carefully when completing the survey, and please make sure to include any local or international area codes. PAL is having difficulty reaching some U.S. citizens who submitted a form indicating their interest – their telephone numbers are either incomplete or unattended. A PAL representative will then contact you directly in the next few days to arrange payment and confirm your seat. Please keep your phone on and handy to accept the call. All flight arrangements will be made by PAL.”

Saudi Arabia (Security threat level – 3): On 2 May 2020, the U.S. Embassy in Riyadh issued a Health Alert regarding upcoming repatriation flights from Saudi Arabia to the U.S., which reads in part as follows:

“Event: The U.S. Mission to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has arranged with Saudi authorities and Saudia Airlines to offer limited commercial flights from the Kingdom to the United States during the period that regular commercial service is suspended to help contain the COVID-19 virus.

“Saudia Airlines has announced additional flights to the United States from Riyadh, Jeddah, and Dammam. There are no additional flights scheduled at this time and no indication when commercial air service will be restored. U.S. citizens and Lawful Permanent Residents of the United States who are considering returning to the United States should consider taking one of the following flights or be prepared to remain abroad for an indefinite time period:

  • “On Tuesday, May 5, SV 35 is scheduled to depart Jeddah’s King Abdulaziz International Airport (JED) at 8:40 AM and arrive at Washington-Dulles International Airport (IAD) at 3:00 PM EST.
  • “On Thursday, May 7, SV 21 is scheduled to depart Jeddah’s King Abdulaziz International Airport (JED) at 6:05 AM and arrive at New York’s John F. Kennedy Airport (JFK) at 12:00 PM EST.
  • “On Saturday, May 9, SV 35 is scheduled to depart Dammam’s King Fahd International Airport (DMM) at 7:20 AM and arrive at Washington-Dulles International Airport (IAD) at 3:00 PM EST.
  • “On Sunday, May 10, SV 41 is scheduled to depart Jeddah’s King Abdulaziz International Airport (JED) at 6:55 AM and arrive at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) at 1:00 PM (PST).
  • “On Monday, May 11, SV 35 is scheduled to depart Riyadh’s King Khalid International Airport (RUH) at 8:00 AM and arrive at Washington-Dulles International Airport (IAD) at 3:00 PM.”

All passengers must obtain authorization from Saudi authorities to travel to the airport due to curfew restrictions; requests can be made at this website . Additional information including guidance on flight booking and travel documentation is available here .