Worldview Security Update – October 13, 2020
13-Oct-20

AMERICAS

Costa Rica (Security threat level – 3): On 12 October 2020, police officers clashed with anti-government protesters outside the Presidential House in the Zapote neighborhood of the capital city San José. Security personnel deployed tear gas to disperse the demonstrators, who threw stones and attempted to push over the security barriers surrounding the president’s residence. A small contingency of protesters injured 11 police officers while attempting to break through a police barrier; two of the officers suffered serious injuries. Police officers arrested 28 people during the clashes. The protesters had gathered in front of the Presidential House after peacefully marching along Avenida Segunda, a main thoroughfare in San José. Local media reports indicate that protests are likely to continue on 13 October.

Analyst Comment: Protests continue to disrupt transit in San José. Authorities reported that protesters erected seven roadblocks throughout Costa Rica on 12 October, which is a significant decrease when compared to previous days when protesters constructed more than 40 roadblocks nationwide. Blockades continue to obstruct the Costa Rica-Panama border crossing at Paso Canoas.

Panama (Security threat level – 3): On 12 October 2020, select international flights resumed at Tocumen International Airport (MPTO/PTY) in Panama City. Foreign nationals are required to present a negative result of a COVID-19 PCR or antigen test taken within 48 hours prior to their arrival in Panama. If a traveler arrives without the required test results, the individual is required to pay to undergo a test at the airport at a price of 50 Panamanian balboas/U.S. dollars. Before checking in for their flights, travelers are required to complete an affidavit electronically, agreeing to follow sanitary measures, provide address information while in Panama and attest that they have not been exposed to anyone with COVID-19 within 14 days of departure to Panama. At the airport, travelers will undergo temperature screenings, and those with symptoms of COVID-19 are required to undergo additional health screenings and to quarantine at a government facility, if they test positive for COVID-19. The quarantine is set to end only after test results return negative. A face mask mandate remains in place, with exemptions for those who should not wear masks due to medical conditions and for children under 2 years of age.

ASIA

China (Security threat level – 3): On 13 October 2020, authorities in Hong Kong extended social distancing orders through 22 October. Public gatherings are limited to four people, and face masks are mandatory in all public areas.

Elsewhere in China, as of 12 October domestic travelers to Shanghai from medium-risk areas are subject to public health measures such as COVID-19 testing and quarantine upon arrival at their home or hotel. Currently, the only medium-risk area is the Loushanhou area of Qingdao, Shandong province, which has recorded several cases of COVID-19 recently. Authorities are also attempting to track travelers who arrived in Shanghai from the area between 30 September and 6 October to conduct testing.

China / Vietnam (Security threat levels – 3 / 3): As of 0900 UTC on 13 October 2020, Tropical Storm Nangka was located approximately 490 km (305 mi) southwest of Hong Kong and was moving west at 13 kph (8 mph), according to the U.S. Joint Typhoon Warning Center. At that time, Nangka was generating maximum sustained winds of 83 kph, with gusts of up to 102 kph. On its current path, the storm is expected to continue moving west and make landfall along the east coast of China’s Hainan province by late afternoon on 13 October before reentering the sea during the late morning of 14 October. Nangka is forecast to make a second landfall in northern Vietnam between Nghe An and Thanh Hoa provinces overnight on 14-15 October. Rainfall accumulations of up to 400 mm (16 in) are forecast for portions of central and northern Vietnam through 16 October. Authorities in Hong Kong and Macao have issued Signal 8 warnings through 13 October, which prompted the temporary suspension of business activities such as the Hong Kong Stock Exchange and a partial reduction of public transportation services. The warnings indicate that heavy rainfall, strong winds and rough seas are likely over parts of the territories due to the storm and could create potentially hazardous conditions for those in the impact area.

EUROPE

Italy / United Kingdom (Security threat levels – 3 / 3): On 13 October 2020, Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte and Health Minister Roberto Speranza introduced new coronavirus-related restrictions, which will be in effect from 14 October to 13 November. Under the new restrictions, private indoor and outdoor parties are banned, while events at residences with more than six family members or friends with whom an individual does not live are strongly discouraged. Furthermore, restaurants and bars must close by midnight local time (2200 UTC), and all guests must be seated after 2100 local time. Face masks continue to be required at all public places.

In the U.K., Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced a new three-tier system of coronavirus-related restrictions in England. According to the new system, areas with very high COVID-19 alert levels will be subject to Tier Three restrictions; areas with high COVID-19 alert levels will be subject to Tier Two restrictions; and areas with medium COVID-19 alert levels will be subject to Tier One restrictions. At present, the Liverpool City Region, which encompasses Liverpool, Knowsley, Sefton, Wirral, St. Helens and Halton, is the sole region set to enter Tier Three restrictions beginning on 14 October. Nonessential establishments in the region, such as bars and pubs, will be required to suspend operations, and individuals from separate residences will not be allowed visits in either outdoor or indoor settings. Most areas in England are expected to fall under Tier One restrictions, except those designated otherwise by the government. A full list of areas with their respective designations is available here , and additional information regarding the new three-tier system is available here .

SUB-SAHARAN AFRICA

Nigeria (Security threat level – 5): As of 13 October 2020, nationwide protests denouncing alleged police brutality continue across Nigeria, including in the capital Abuja, as well as in the cities of Aba, Enugu, Ibadan, Jos, Lagos and Port Harcourt. Demonstrations have continued in Port Harcourt, the capital of Rivers state, despite the governor banning all forms of protests and demonstrations on 12 October. Meanwhile, in the city of Ile Ife — located in Osun state — hundreds of protesters have shut down major roads and thoroughfares into and across the city. Thus far, there have been no reports of significant clashes on 13 October, although police officers frequently use tear gas or other means to disperse protesters. Although the Nigeria Police Force (NPF) disbanded the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) — the entity facing allegations of police brutality – on 11 October, the ongoing demonstrations call for the arrests of former SARS officers for their crimes, rather than allowing those individuals to transfer to other police units.

GOVERNMENT WARNINGS

Chile (Security threat level – 2): On 12 October 2020, the U.K. Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) issued updated advice for Chile regarding the potential for protests between 18 and 25 October, which reads in part as follows:

“18 October marks a year since the start of widespread and, at times violent, political and social protests across Chile. Chileans will go the polls to vote on a new Constitution on 25 October. There remains a high likelihood of protests – with potential for accompanying violence – on, and around, 18 and 25 October. Please follow local guidance and avoid areas of protest.

“… Since July protests and violence have increased in Santiago, with various incidents having occurred, including the use of projectiles against police, flaming barricades, an arsonist attack on a metro station, and the burning of buses by small groups of protesters.

“Other cities, including Concepción, Viña del Mar, Valparaíso, and Osorno have also seen sporadic incidents over the past few months. Some protests have seen isolated incidents of the use of small arms by members of the public. If protests take place, you should follow the instructions and advice of the local authorities, remain vigilant, monitor local media for updates and avoid protests and demonstrations.”

Kyrgyzstan (Security threat level – 4): On 12 October 2020, the U.K. Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) issued updated advice for Kyrgyzstan regarding the ongoing anti-government protests, which reads in part as follows:

“The Kyrgyz government has announced emergency measures in Bishkek in response to the protests. These will be in place until 19 October. The army has also been brought in to maintain order. We will update travel advice as details are announced. So far the measures include:

  • A nightly curfew will be in place in Bishkek between 22:00 and 05:00 [1800 and 0100 UTC]
  • Restrictions on alcohol sales daily between 18:00 and 09:00 [1400 and 0500 UTC]
  • A ban on sales of weapons and strong chemicals
  • A ban on mass events in Bishkek, including meetings, rallies, entertainment and sports events
  • Restrictions on use of copy equipment including radio and television transmission equipment, when used to aggravate the political situation.”

"In addition, local authorities have set up checkpoints in Bishkek and are restricting entry and exit to and from the city. Officials may impose additional emergency measures including stay-at-home orders, regulations to control internet and telecommunications services, suspending the activities of civil and political organizations and direct businesses as well as the populace to mobilize in support of public safety efforts."

Mali (Security threat level – 5): On 13 October 2020, the U.S. Embassy in Bamako issued a Demonstration Alert regarding a protest planned for 14 October, which reads in part as follows:

"Location: Monument de l’Indépendance and Cité Administrative

"Event: Mali’s Autonomous Union of Civil Administrators (SYNAC) and the Workers’ Union of the Ministry of Territorial Administration (SYLTMAT) are calling for a march on October 14 at 8:00 AM. The march is expected to begin at the Monument de l’Indépendance and end at Cité Administrative.

"Demonstrations sometimes turn violent, resulting in the burning of tires, clashes with the police, blockage on the roads and bridges, throwing of rocks at vehicles, the deployment of tear gas, and small arms fire."

The full text of the alert is available here .