Worldview Security Update – May 6, 2020
6-May-20

AMERICAS

Americas: As of 6 May 2020, governments throughout the Americas continue to implement and enforce restrictive measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Significant developments in Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, El Salvador and Guatemala are outlined below.

In Brazil, authorities on 5 May placed the northeastern city of São Luís — the capital of Maranhão state — under lockdown until 15 May. Residents of São Luís, the first major Brazilian city to be placed under lockdown, are now required to stay at home except to procure essential goods and services. Most businesses, schools and parks are closed, and public transportation is suspended. The lockdown also bans residents from going outside their homes for exercise. Police officers have erected roadblocks on major streets, and individuals attempting to pass are required to prove that they were traveling for essential jobs, or else provide a receipt from a supermarket or pharmacy. Brazil’s Ministry of Health reported that the country’s COVID-19 death rate has risen to 6.9%, the highest in Latin America, and the country has one of the highest transmission rates in the world.

In Colombia, President Iván Duque on 5 May extended the nationwide mandatory quarantine until 25 May; however, some sectors — such as manufacturing and automotive sales — may resume on 11 May. Large gatherings remain banned, and bars and other entertainment venues remain closed.

In Ecuador, President Lenín Moreno on 5 May extended the country’s state of emergency through 16 June. Moreno originally declared a 60-day state of emergency on 16 March, which was scheduled to expire on 16 May.

In El Salvador, beginning on 7 May residents may only leave their homes to shop for essential goods two days per week, based on their identity card number, until further notice. All restaurants will be closed, and home delivery will not be allowed. Only supermarkets, pharmacies, banks and markets will remain open.

Guatemalan authorities lifted the sanitary cordon for the city of Patzún in Chimaltenango department on 6 May. The city had been on lockdown since 18 April after health officials diagnosed the first community-based transmission of COVID-19 in the country, prompting city officials to ban all entry and exit to and from Patzún.

Argentina (Security threat level – 3): Shortly before 2300 local time on 5 May 2020 (0200 UTC on 6 May), a Learjet 35 aircraft, with registration LV-BXU, crashed shortly before landing at Esquel Airport (SAVE/EQS) — also known as General Antonio Parodi de Chubut International Airport — located in Chubut province, approximately 1,850 km (1,150 mi) southwest of the capital Buenos Aires. The aircraft was arriving at Esquel Airport from San Fernando Airport (SADF), located adjacent to Buenos Aires, as a medical transport flight to pick up a patient, and was also reportedly carrying medical supplies. A total of four individuals were aboard the aircraft, two of whom were killed and the other two suffered serious injuries. The cause of the crash is currently unknown, but initial reports indicate that heavy fog may have been a factor in the crash.

ASIA

Nepal / Indonesia (Security threat levels – 3 / 4): On 6 May 2020, Nepalese authorities extended a coronavirus-related ban on domestic and international flights through 31 May. The previous day the government also extended the ongoing nationwide lockdown through 18 May; the order was scheduled to expire on 7 May. Under the lockdown, residents may only leave their homes to procure essential goods, such as food or medication.

In Indonesia, the government authorized passenger air, sea and bus transportation to resume for essential employees, residents seeking medical attention and those attempting to visit dying relatives, beginning on 7 May. Additionally, all traveling parties must comply with health protocols including social distancing and wearing face masks. A nationwide ban on general travel remains in effect through 8 June.

MIDDLE EAST AND NORTH AFRICA

Middle East and North Africa: On 5 May 2020, Bahraini officials authorized retail establishments to reopen countrywide as long as patrons and employees comply with an order to wear face masks. Conversely, officials continue to maintain a 26 March directive to shut down movie theaters, cafes and salons to remain closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Meanwhile, Israeli airline El Al extended its suspension of scheduled passenger flights until at least 30 May. The airline will continue to operate cargo, charter and repatriation flights.

In Saudi Arabia, authorities on 5 May announced increased penalties for violating measures aimed at controlling the spread of COVID-19. Individuals and companies that violate social distancing measures, curfew, or spread false information about COVID-19 on social media platforms will face penalties. Saudi nationals will face fines ranging from 1,000-1 million Saudi riyals (265-265,000 U.S. dollars) and/or imprisonment up to five years, while foreign nationals living in the country face expulsion, and may be permanently barred from returning.

SUB-SAHARAN AFRICA

Burundi (Security threat level – 4): As of 6 May 2020, violent clashes have occurred in Bujumbura, along with the provinces of Kayanza, Kirundo, Gitega and Ngozi, amid the ongoing electoral campaign for the upcoming presidential, legislative and municipal elections scheduled for 20 May. Clashes have primarily occurred between cadres of the ruling Defense of Democracy-Forces for the Defense of Democracy (CNDD-FDD) party and opposition parties. Several confrontations have involved weapons such as machetes, and at least two people have been killed thus far. In response to the skirmishes, Burundi’s attorney general urged politicians to avoid inciting violence during campaign rallies. However, additional clashes remain highly likely ahead of the election.

GOVERNMENT WARNINGS

Bangladesh (Security threat level – 4): On 6 May 2020, the U.K. Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) updated its travel advice regarding business closures, which reads in part as follows:

“The Government of Bangladesh have extended the closure of all government and non-essential businesses across Bangladesh until 16 May. Banking services are limited and all shops are closed apart from pharmacies, food markets and other basic necessities. Emergency services including hospitals remain open. Local authorities may lockdown buildings, streets and areas in order to control the spread of coronavirus.”

South Africa (Security threat level – 4): On 6 May 2020, the U.S. Embassy in Pretoria issued a Health Alert regarding a commercial flight returning to Washington Dulles International Airport (KIAD/IAD) on 9 May, which reads in part as follows:

“…We have received confirmation of a South African Airways (SAA) flight to Washington Dulles International Airport, United States, on May 9.

“Flight details:

  • The flight will depart Cape Town, pick up additional passengers in Johannesburg, and then proceed to Washington, D.C., arriving on May 10. Passengers are responsible for arranging onward travel from Washington, D.C., to their final destination in the United States.
  • Both U.S. citizens and U.S. Legal Permanent Residents are eligible for this flight.
  • Seats will be sold on a first come, first serve basis in two phases. To express interest in these flights please go to this SAA link and submit the required information.
  • For price details, baggage allowances, and other specific questions, please contact South African Airways directly.
  • You will be notified in future communications regarding whether you need a travel permission letter to travel to the assembly point.

“You must book your ticket directly with SAA and then complete this information request form . (If you filled out the form on or after April 29, you do not need to resubmit it.) If you have trouble filling out the Microsoft form, please ask a family member or friend for assistance.

“Like other repatriation flights, all passengers will be required to meet at a designated staging point. SAA will provide the details of your assembly point upon completion of booking. Passengers are responsible for arranging their own transportation to the assembly point.

“All U.S. government-coordinated repatriation flights have departed. We cannot confirm when or if other future options may arise.”

The full text of the alert is available here .

Sri Lanka (Security threat level – 4): On 6 May 2020, the U.K. Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) updated its travel advice regarding the nationwide nightly curfew, which reads in part as follows:

“Curfew measures remain in place, and are being enforced. Follow the instructions of the local authorities at all times.

“The government has announced its intention to reduce curfew measures from mid-May to allow some people to return to work in areas of the country where the risk of infection is judged to be lower. However, no movement between districts is allowed unless specific permission has been obtained. Overnight curfew measures and social distancing instructions will remain in force, and special quarantine zones are being used to isolate a small number of locations where there have been clusters of infections. People are only allowed to leave their places of residence for work if they are employed in an essential sector, to buy food or for medical care.

“In districts where the curfew continues to be in effect the government plans to implement a staggered relaxation of measures. Movement within those districts will be allowed only between 0500 and 2000 each day, and based on the last number of your National Identity Card or Passport as follows:

  • Monday: 1 & 2
  • Tuesday: 3 & 4
  • Wednesday: 5 & 6
  • Thursday: 7 & 8
  • Friday: 9 & 0

“Checkpoints have been introduced in a number of places, and those not adhering to the restrictions risk arrest. Curfew measures are being updated and changed on a daily basis. You should follow the media for updates, or speak to your hotel or travel agent for the latest information.”

Turkey (Security threat level – 4): On 6 May 2020, the U.S. Embassy in Ankara issued a message regarding repatriation flights, which reads in part as follows:

"Turkish Airlines has indicated it plans to operate four direct flights to the United States next week. These would be commercially-operated flights, NOT U.S. government-operated, and only the airline will be able to advise regarding ticket conditions (ability to take pets, luggage allowances, etc.).

"If you intend to take one of these flights, please fill out this form so we can flag your intention to purchase a ticket to both Turkish Airlines and Turkish authorities. You will still need to book the flight directly with Turkish Airlines. These flights are not yet available for sale, and we will message again when sales are open."

The full text of the alert is available here .