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

 

AMERICAS

Honduras (Security threat level – 4): On 18 October 2020, authorities extended an existing nationwide curfew imposed to contain the spread of COVID-19 until at least 25 October. The curfew runs nightly from 2000 to 0600 local time (0200-1200 UTC). Outside of curfew hours, residents may travel to perform essential activities on specific days based on the last digit of their national identity card or passport number. Security personnel continue to enforce the curfew as well as other health-related restrictions, such as the wearing of face masks and social distancing guidelines.

ASIA

Philippines (Security threat level – 4): As of 1700 local time (0900 UTC) on 20 October 2020, Tropical Storm Saudel — known in the Philippines as Pepito — was located approximately 275 km (170 mi) east-northeast of the capital Manila and was moving west at 31 kph (20 mph), according to the U.S. Joint Typhoon Warning Center. At that time, Saudel was generating maximum sustained winds of 74 kph, with gusts of up to 92 kph. On its current track, the storm is forecast to make landfall along the coast of Aurora province, located on the island of Luzon, by 2300 local time on 20 October, cross the island and move over the South China Sea by the morning of 21 October. Heavy rainfall is currently affecting Manila and is likely to continue through at least the afternoon of 21 October. Authorities have warned of possible flash flooding, damaging winds and landslides in areas along Saudel path. The storm is expected to strengthen significantly before reaching central Vietnam by 25 October.

EUROPE

Germany / Ireland / United Kingdom (Security threat levels – 3 / 2 / 3): On 19 October 2020, authorities in Germany  instituted a stay-at-home order for the Berchtesgaden district of Bavaria, which is located along the border with Austria — effective as of 1400 local time (1200 UTC) on 20 October. Residents of the region will not be allowed to leave their homes without “valid reason” for at least 14 days. Bars, cinemas, gyms, hotels, restaurants, schools and theaters will also be closed. Officials imposed the order after the district recorded more than 200 new COVID-19 cases per 100,000 residents in one week, which is the highest rate of infection in Germany.

In Ireland, authorities raised the country’s COVID-19 restrictions to Level 5 — the highest level — and they are set to go into effect at 0000 local time on 21 October (2300 UTC on 20 October) and continue until 1 December. Under the new restrictions, residents must stay within a 5-km (3-mi) radius of their homes. Nonessential retail businesses — such as barber shops, beauty salons, gyms, leisure centers and museums — will be closed, and restaurants and pubs will be limited to takeout services only. Public transport will continue to operate, but at 25% capacity. Schools will remain open and most manufacturing and construction will be allowed to continue. Additional details regarding the restrictions can be viewed here .

In the U.K., Welsh First Minister Mark Drakeford announced that all areas of Wales will be under a lockdown from 23 October to 9 November. During the lockdown, residents of Wales will be required to stay in their homes except for essential purposes, such as traveling to work, for exercise, or to obtain basic necessities. All indoor or outdoor gatherings of individuals from separate households will be prohibited. Additionally, nonessential businesses — including bars and restaurants — as well as personal care services, will be required to suspend operations beginning at 1800 local time (1700 UTC) on 23 October. The announcement follows a notable increase in COVID-19 cases and subsequent hospitalizations in Wales.

SUB-SAHARAN AFRICA

Nigeria (Security threat level – 5): As of 20 October 2020, widespread protests demanding an end to alleged police brutality are ongoing across Nigeria. In response to violence during the protests, the governor of Lagos state — where the Lagos metropolitan area is located — declared a statewide 24-hour curfew beginning at 1600 local time (1500 UTC) on 20 October. According to the governor, only essential workers are exempt from the curfew. Additionally, a 24-hour curfew was enacted in Edo state — for which Benin City is the capital — on 19 October. Movement restrictions are already in place in the capital Abuja, where Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) authorities banned all demonstrations as of 15 October and erected barricades near government buildings in an effort to prevent protesters from congregating.

Violence escalated during large-scale demonstrations on 19 October. In Abuja, police officers used live ammunition and tear gas to disperse protesters who had gathered on the Mararaba-Abuja Highway. Security forces also fired tear gas at protesters within the premises of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) Commission Headquarters, located in the Asokoro district. Unidentified assailants reportedly set fire to more than 200 vehicles belonging to protesters in Abuja. At least one protester was reportedly killed by a vigilante who infiltrated the demonstration. In Lagos, protesters gathered outside Murtala Muhammed International Airport (DNMM/LOS), but there were no disruptions to airport operations. Protesters also blocked major roads and thoroughfares connecting cities in the country, including the Ketu-Ojota expressway and the Lagos-Ibadan expressway in Lagos state, the Oye-Ekiti expressway — a key highway that connects the Ekiti state to Kogi and Abuja — and Airport Road in Abuja.

There continue to be reports of vigilantes — allegedly plainclothes security personnel — causing disturbances during demonstrations. Protests are generally peaceful until these individuals interfere, occasionally clashing with protesters or prompting the use of force by police officers to disperse demonstrations. Some protest organizers accuse the government of recruiting the so-called “hoodlums” who infiltrate the protest gatherings, but the government denies such allegations and condemns their actions. Clashes have also occurred between protesters and counterprotesters — who support the government and the SARS.

GOVERNMENT WARNINGS

Guinea (Security threat level – 4): On 20 October 2020, the U.S. Embassy in Conakry issued a Security Alert regarding election-related unrest in Guinea, which reads in part as follows:

“Location: Throughout Guinea

“Event: We have received reports of unrest and violent clashes occurring in Conakry overnight. You should exercise increased caution and minimize unnecessary travel.

“The U.S. Embassy will operate today with core staff only. Consular appointments through noon today will be honored for those able to safely travel to the Embassy.”
The full text of the alert is available here .

Analyst Comment: Unrest is likely to continue in the immediate term as votes are being tallied following the 18 October presidential election. While opposition candidate Cellou Dalein Diallo has declared himself the winner, reports suggest that incumbent President Alpha Conde will likely secure the victory. Violent protests could escalate after results are officially announced, which is not expected until at least 21 October.

Liechtenstein (Security threat level – 1): On 19 October 2020, the U.K. Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) issued updated travel advice for Liechtenstein, which reads in part as follows:

“Gatherings of more than 15 people are prohibited in public places. Wearing a face mask is compulsory in public places such as shops, banks, post offices, museums, libraries and cinemas. Failure to do so is punishable by a fine.

“Wearing a face mask is also compulsory when travelling on public transport and failure to do so is punishable by a fine Children under the age of 12 are exempt from this requirement. Individuals who are unable to wear a mask for medical reasons are also exempt.”

Sudan (Security threat level – 5): On 20 October 2020, the U.S. Embassy in Khartoum issued a Security Alert regarding bridge closures, which reads in part as follows:

“Location: Khartoum, Sudan

“Event: Authorities have indicated they may close bridges into Khartoum at 6pm today, Tuesday, October 20, 2020, and that they would remain closed all day Wednesday, October 21, 2020. The U.S. Embassy is minimizing onsite staffing during that period.”