Worldview Security Update – October 21, 2020
21-Oct-20

 

AMERICAS

Bermuda (Security threat level – 1): As of 0900 local time (1200 UTC) on 21 October 2020, Hurricane Epsilon was located approximately 685 km (425 mi) east-southeast of Bermuda and was moving west-northwest at 22 kph (14 mph), according to the U.S. National Hurricane Center. At that time, Epsilon was generating maximum sustained winds of 140 kph (85 mph), with higher gusts. Epsilon, which strengthened into a Category 1 storm on the evening of 20 October, is projected to slightly intensify later on 21 October and maintain its strength as it moves near Bermuda. While the hurricane is currently not anticipated to come ashore in Bermuda, the periphery of Epsilon is forecast to bring tropical storm conditions to the island on 22 October. A Tropical Storm Watch is currently in effect for the island. Large swells are currently affecting coastal areas in Bermuda, the Bahamas, the Greater Antilles and the Leeward Islands, and are projected to reach portions of the eastern U.S. and Canadian coasts during 21-23 October. The hurricane-generated swells could cause life-threatening surf and riptide conditions.

ASIA

Philippines / Vietnam (Security threat levels – 4 / 3): As of 0900 UTC on 21 October 2020, Tropical Storm Saudel — known in the Philippines as Pepito — was located approximately 320 km (200 mi) northwest of Manila, Philippines, and was moving west at 7 kph (5 mph). At that time, the storm was generating maximum sustained winds of 83 kph, with gusts of up to 102 kph. On its current forecast path, Saudel is expected to make landfall in central Vietnam on 25 October. Authorities have warned possible rainfall of between 100 and 200 mm (4 and 8 in) in affected areas. The storm made landfall near the Casiguran municipality in the Philippines’ Aurora province during the evening of 20 October before entering the South China Sea on the morning of 21 October. After making landfall, Saudel then crossed the northern portion of Luzon Island, producing rainfall of up to 100 mm in some locations. Flooding occurred in areas of Quezon province, as well as in parts of Manila; however, there were no reports of significant damage or casualties.

EUROPE

Spain / United Kingdom (Security threat levels – 3 / 3): On 21 October 2020, authorities in Spain’s Aragon region announced that lockdown measures will be imposed on the cities of Huesca, Teruel and Zaragoza as of 22 October. Travelers will not be allowed to enter or exit the cities, except for medical emergencies, work, return to their place of residence or care for dependents. According to authorities, these measures could remain in effect for a maximum of 30 days; however, they will be reviewed on a weekly basis.

U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced that the Greater Manchester region in England will be under Tier Three restrictions beginning at 0001 local time on 23 October (2301 UTC on 22 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. Tier Three restrictions are introduced after officials designate an area to be at a “very high” COVID-19 alert level; Lancashire and the Liverpool City region are two other areas of England currently at the very high level. Additional information regarding the recently introduced three-tier system is available here .

SUB-SAHARAN AFRICA

Djibouti / Morocco (Security threat levels – 3 / 3): On 20 October 2020, President Ismail Omar Guelleh announced that all land borders between Djibouti and the neighboring countries of Eritrea, Ethiopia and Somalia will shut down from 21 October to 4 November in an effort to curb the spread of COVID-19. During this period, travelers will not be allowed to enter Djibouti by land; however, cargo transportation and international commercial flights will be allowed to continue.

In Morocco, authorities on 19 October extended coronavirus-related lockdown measures in the city of Casablanca until 2 November. The lockdown measures include a ban on travel to and from Casablanca without an exceptional movement permit signed by local authorities. Additionally, a nightly curfew is in effect from 2200-0500 local time (2300-0600 UTC). The lockdown measures were originally imposed on 7 September.

Nigeria (Security threat level – 5): As of the afternoon of 21 October 2020, violent protests are ongoing in Lagos, Nigeria’s largest city — where a 24-hour curfew is currently in effect — and other major cities in the country. In Lagos, police officers fired shots into the air in several neighborhoods in an attempt to disperse the protesters and have taken control of the entrance to the upscale Lekki suburb — where protesters had briefly gathered earlier in the day. Military personnel used live ammunition, reportedly killing as many as 12 people amid protests in the Lekki toll gate area in the evening hours of 20 October. Approximately 25 others were wounded in the shooting. Several buildings in Lagos, including a television station and the headquarters of the Nigerian Ports Authority, were set on fire during the protests on 21 October.

Elsewhere in Nigeria, protests continue to occur in the capital Abuja, despite a ban on all demonstrations enacted in Abuja on 15 October. Authorities have erected barricades near government buildings in the capital in an effort to prevent protesters from gathering near the sites. In response to the increasing violence, local and state governments have implemented curfews and other security measures. Officials in Edo state extended a 24-hour curfew indefinitely. Additionally, 24-hour curfews are in effect in Ekiti, Ondo, Osun and Plateau states and in the cities of Aba and Umuahia in Abia state. In the aforementioned cities with curfew orders, only essential personnel, such as first responders, with valid identification are permitted to travel. Schools and universities are also closed in several states. The government has deployed military personnel to Abuja, Lagos and other cities in an effort to quell the protests. The inspector general of police also deployed riot police across the country to bolster security at correctional facilities after nearly 2,000 prisoners escaped from jails following attacks on two facilities. Additionally, the U.S. Consulate General in Lagos suspended routine services on 20-21 October due to the curfew.

The ongoing protests have caused significant transportation disruptions in major cities. In Lagos, several airlines canceled flights into and out of Murtala Muhammed International Airport (DNMM/LOS) due to the curfew. Protesters also blocked major thoroughfares, bridges and expressways in the country — including the Ketu-Ojota expressway and the Lagos-Ibadan expressway in Lagos state, the Oye-Ekiti expressway in Ekiti state, and Airport Road in Abuja — disrupting vehicular traffic. Additionally, Lagos Bus Services Limited suspended operations, while Lagos’ Blue Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) suspended operations on the Ikorodu to Tafawa Balewa Square corridor due to the protests. Demonstrations initially broke out on 7 October, with protesters calling for the government to disband the Special Anti-Robbery Squad (SARS) due to reports of brutality perpetrated by the unit. Although the government officially disbanded the unit on 11 October, protests have intensified and are becoming increasingly violent. Demonstrators are now demanding the prosecution of SARS officers and retribution for the victims.

GOVERNMENT WARNINGS

Guinea (Security threat level – 4): On 21 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: Conakry

“Event: We have received reports that unrest and violent clashes are occurring throughout Conakry. Protesters have started fires, are burning tires, and have set up roadblocks. There are reports that shots are being fired in some neighborhoods.

“You should exercise increased caution and minimize unnecessary travel.

“The U.S. Embassy will operate this week with core staff only and staff has been ordered to shelter-in-place.”