ASIA China (Security threat level – 3): On 23 November...
Honduras / Nicaragua (Security threat levels – 4 / 4): As of 0900 local time (1500 UTC) on 4 November 2020, Eta had downgraded to a tropical storm from a Category 4 hurricane and was located approximately 215 km (135 mi) north-northeast of Managua, Nicaragua, according to the U.S. National Hurricane Center. At that time, the storm was generating maximum sustained winds of 85 kph (50 mph), with higher gusts, and was moving west at 11 kph. Eta made landfall in Nicaragua as a Category 4 storm on 3 November and began to rapidly weaken; it is expected to shift west-northwest and move over northern Nicaragua. The storm is forecast to produce powerful winds and heavy rains, causing subsequent flooding across areas of Central America, including in Nicaragua, Honduras, Guatemala and Belize. Heavy rainfall and potential flash flooding are also expected in Panama, Costa Rica, El Salvador, southeast Mexico, Jamaica, southern Haiti, and the Cayman Islands.
At least three people — two in Nicaragua and one in Honduras — have died thus far. There have so far been no reports of major damage to infrastructure in the region, despite the intensity of the storm. Nicaragua’s national electrical company Enatrel has reported that at least 12,000 homes in coastal areas have lost power.
United States (Security threat level – 2): As of the late morning hours of 4 November 2020, vote counting is ongoing following the U.S. presidential election the previous day. Votes are being tallied in a number of key states, including Georgia, Michigan, Nevada, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. Although incumbent President Donald Trump is currently ahead in several of these states, millions of votes are still being counted and election officials have stated that the race is still too close to call. During the election, voters also cast ballots for local, state, and federal officials, including for members of the House of Representatives and the Senate. Although final results are still pending, the Democratic Party is expected to retain control of the lower house. Meanwhile, the Democratic and Republican parties currently hold 47 seats each in the Senate, with six seats still undecided. Thus far, the Democratic Party has secured two seats previously held by Republicans, while the Republican Party has secured one seat previously held by a Democrat. Prior to this election, the Republican party held a 53-47 majority in the Senate.
In a televised speech at approximately 0230 local time (0730 UTC), President Trump claimed that he won the election and called on voting to stop, although polling concluded the previous day and previously cast votes are being counted. He alluded to concerns of possible voter fraud and warned that he plans to take the matter to the Supreme Court in order to stop ballot tallying, despite a historical precedence of absentee ballots taking several days after the election to be tabulated. The president’s remarks have further exacerbated concerns regarding potential election-related unrest in the country, although there have been no major violent incidents thus far. That being said, protests occurred on Election Day and continued into the morning hours of 4 November in select locations. In downtown Raleigh, North Carolina, police officers arrested at least six people during a march. Separately, police officers in Washington, D.C, arrested at least three individuals following scuffles between Black Lives Matter protesters and counterprotesters in an area near the White House. In Los Angeles, California, police officers arrested approximately 50 protesters near the Staples Center in downtown for failing to disperse after authorities declared the demonstration unlawful. Protesters also gathered in downtown Portland, Oregon; in Rapid City, South Dakota; and in Union Square Park in New York City, although there were no reports of violence during those events.
United States (Security threat level – 2): As of 4 November 2020, individuals returning to New York state after staying more than 24 hours in any other U.S. state — with exceptions for those from bordering states — may take a COVID-19 PCR test within 72 hours before traveling to New York and obtain negative results to be exempt from the requirement to self-quarantine for 14 days. Travelers who obtain negative results and upload those results online are required to self-quarantine for three days upon entry, after which they may take another COVID-19 test and obtain negative results on the fourth day to be exempt from the self-quarantine requirement. All inbound travelers are required to fill out a Traveler Health Form.
Additional information regarding the COVID-19 Travel Advisory outlined by the New York state government is available here .
China (Security threat level – 3): On 3 November 2020, the Hong Kong government extended social distancing orders through 12 November. Face masks remain mandatory in public spaces and aboard public transportation, and gatherings are limited to a maximum of four people.
Italy (Security threat level – 3): On 4 November 2020, Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte approved new measures aimed at curbing the spread of COVID-19, which will go into effect from 5 November and continue until further notice, including a nationwide nightly curfew from 2200-0500 local time (2100-0400 UTC), reducing the capacity aboard public transportation to 50% from 80%, and the closure of all nonessential shops. Additionally, each region will be classified by color — green (lower-risk), orange (moderate-risk) and red (high-risk) — and corresponding restrictions will be imposed based on alert level, including limiting inter-regional travel and additional business closures Thus far, the regions of Lombardy, Calabria and Piedmont have been classified as red zones.
Poland (Security threat level – 2): On 4 November 2020, authorities imposed new nationwide restrictions until further notice due to a surge in COVID-19 cases. Under the new restrictions, cinemas, galleries, museums, theaters and other cultural institutions are required to close. Hotels are only available to guests on business trips. Additionally, only grocery stores, pharmacies and service stations are allowed to operate in shopping malls.
United Kingdom (Security threat level – 3): On 3 November 2020, authorities in the U.K. raised the country’s terrorism threat level to “severe,” which indicates that an attack is highly likely. The “severe” level is the second-highest alert on a five-tier scale. The terrorism threat level in the U.K. had remained at “substantial” after being downgraded from “severe” in November 2019. While the country’s home secretary stated that the increase in the threat level is a precautionary measure and not in response to a specific threat, the move comes a day after a terrorist attack occurred in central Vienna, Austria’s capital.
Additional details regarding threat levels in the U.K. can be viewed here.
Côte d’Ivoire (Security threat level – 4): On 3 November 2020, security forces fired tear gas to disperse protesters in Abidjan, the country’s largest city. Demonstrators had gathered on the streets and erected barricades following the announcement that President Alassane Ouattara secured a third term. There were no reports of casualties or major disruptions during the demonstration and subsequent clashes.
The protests follow a police operation at the homes of several opposition candidates, including the main opposition candidate — former President Henri Konan Bedie. Security forces did not make any arrests and there were no reports of violence.
Ethiopia (Security threat level – 4): On 4 November 2020, Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed ordered the military to deploy in the Tigray region in order to confront the regional government. Ahmed accused local authorities of sanctioning an attack by the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) against a military base. Simultaneously, Ahmed declared a six-month state of emergency in the region, citing “illegal and violent activities” that endanger “the constitution and constitutional order, public peace and security.” Phone lines and internet connections in the region were also reportedly disrupted, while regional news sources reported that local officials closed airspace over the region. Ahmed denied reports of the airspace closure, as well as allegations that the northern command of the military defected to the Tigray government.
Analyst comment: Tensions between the Tigray regional government and the federal government have been steadily increasing in recent months. Notably, officials in Tigray held regional elections in September despite a federal postponement due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Ahmed’s government stated that it will not acknowledge the results of that election and the House of Federation ruled the event unconstitutional.
Kenya (Security threat level – 4): On 4 November 2020, President Uhuru Kenyatta amended the nationwide nightly curfew, which is now in effect from 2200-0400 local time (1900-0100 UTC) until 3 January following a surge of COVID-19 cases in October. Kenyatta also banned political gatherings until 3 January. Additionally, he stated that county officials are allowed to impose lockdowns and other restrictions as they deem necessary.
Oman (Security threat level – 2): On 3 November 2020, the U.K. Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) issued an update to its travel advice regarding entry requirements in Oman, which reads in part as follows: “To enter Oman, you will need evidence of a negative PCR test, taken 96 hours or less before your arrival in Oman. You should not use the NHS testing service to get a test in order to facilitate your travel to another country. You should arrange to take a private test. You should check with your airline what documentation they require you to produce.”
United Kingdom (Security threat level – 3): On 4 November 2020, the U.S. Embassy in London issued a Demonstration Alert, which reads in part as follows: “Demonstrations are reportedly planned for November 4 and 5, 2020 in central London and at the U.S. Embassy. In addition to the scheduled demonstrations, unplanned demonstrations may occur at or near monuments and other statues or squares. Rallies may not remain stationary; marches can thus randomly occur resulting in streets and intersections being blocked.”