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Worldview Security Update – October 23, 2020
23-Oct-20

 

AMERICAS

Bermuda (Security threat level – 1): As of 0600 local time (0900 UTC) on 23 October 2020, Hurricane Epsilon was located approximately 310 km (195 mi) east-northeast of Bermuda and was moving north at 11 kph (7 mph), according to the U.S. National Hurricane Center. At that time, Epsilon was generating maximum sustained winds of 140 kph (85 mph), with gusts of up to 167 kph. Epsilon is projected to increase in speed as it turns toward the northeast on 24 October, and then gradually weaken as it moves into the north Atlantic and remains well to the southeast of the Canadian provinces of Nova Scotia and Newfoundland through 25 October. Large swells will continue to impact coastal areas in Bermuda, the Bahamas, the Greater Antilles and the Leeward Islands, and will begin affecting portions of the eastern U.S. and Canadian coasts throughout the next few days. Hurricane-generated swells could cause life-threatening surf and riptide conditions.

ASIA

China / Vietnam (Security threat levels – 3 / 3): As of 0900 UTC on 23 October 2020, Typhoon Saudel was located approximately 490 km (305 mi) south-southeast of Hong Kong and 740 km east-northeast of Da Nang, Vietnam, according to the U.S. Joint Typhoon Warning Center. At that time, the storm was moving west-northwest at 6 kph (4 mph) and was generating maximum sustained winds of 140 kph, with gusts of up to 167 kph. On its current forecast path, Saudel is expected to continue moving west and weaken as it passes south of China’s Hainan Island overnight on 24-25 October, and make landfall in central Vietnam near the border of Quang Binh and Quang Tri provinces overnight on 25-26 October. Authorities have warned that rainfall amounts of 100-200 mm (4-8 in), with isolated maximums of 300 mm, are possible over portions of southern Hainan Island and central Vietnam. Additional flooding and landslides are likely across much of central and northern Vietnam as rainfall from Saudel exacerbates recent flooding in the region. In addition, officials in Hong Kong issued a Signal 3 wind warning in anticipation of potentially strong winds as the storm makes a close approach while moving past the territory through 23 October.

Sri Lanka (Security threat level – 4): On 22 October 2020, Sri Lankan authorities suspended the previous requirement that all departing travelers show proof of negative results on a COVID-19 PCR test taken within 72 hours of their travel date. However, previous entry requirements remain in place, including the ban on entry for all foreign travelers.

EUROPE

Europe: As of 23 October 2020, COVID-19 cases continue to increase throughout Europe, prompting authorities to impose restrictions in an effort to curb its spread. Greece’s prime minister declared that as of 24 October a nightly 0030-0500 local time (2130-0200 UTC) curfew will be enforced in areas deemed high risk (Level 3) for COVID-19. In France, the government extended lockdown orders to cover most of the country. In the Czech Republic, nationwide lockdown orders are in effect until 3 November, while in neighboring Slovakia a partial lockdown will run from 24 October to 1 November. In Portugal, a nationwide intercity travel ban will be in effect as of 30 October until 3 November; additionally, restrictions on businesses and gatherings are in effect in the municipalities of Felguiras, Lousada and Paços de Ferreira.

Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis declared that as of 24 October a nightly 0030-0500 local time (2130-0200 UTC) curfew will be enforced in areas deemed high risk (Level 3) for COVID-19 — the second-highest level alert on a four-tier color-coded system. Areas currently at Level 3 include the capital Athens and the northern city of Thessaloniki. The use of face masks will become mandatory in both outdoor and indoor public spaces in those areas. The northern regions of Kozani and Kastoria are already under a lockdown, which authorities imposed after upgrading the COVID-19 risk assessment for the regions to Level 4, the highest level. On 22 October authorities reported 882 new COVID-19 cases and 15 related fatalities in Greece during the previous 24 hours; thus far, health officials have reported more than 28,200 cases and 549 fatalities in the country.

In France, as of 0000 local time on 23 October (2200 UTC on 22 October), the following areas are under lockdown orders for at least six weeks: Ain, Alpes-Maritimes, Ardèche, Ardennes, Ariège, Aube, Aveyron, Bas-Rhin, Calvados, Corse du Sud, Côte- d’Or, Drôme, Gard, Haute-Corse, Haute-Loire, Haute-Savoie, Haute-Vienne, Hautes-Alpes, Hautes-Pyrénées, Ille-et-Vilaine, Indre-et-Loire, Jura, Loiret, Lozère, Maine-et-Loire, Marne, Meurthe-et-Moselle, Oise, Pas-de-Calais, Puy-de-Dôme, Pyrénées-Atlantiques, Pyrénées-Orientales, Saône-et-Loire, Savoie, Tarn, Tarn-et- Garonne, Var, Vaucluse and French Polynesia. In locations under lockdown, a nightly curfew is in effect from 2100 to 0600 local time.

In the Czech Republic, Prime Minister Andrej Babiš imposed nationwide lockdown restrictions on 22 October, which will remain in place until 3 November. Under the restrictions, residents are required to remain home unless engaging in essential tasks, such as traveling for work, groceries, family needs or medical attention. Only essential services, such as supermarkets and pharmacies, are allowed to continue operating. Outdoor gatherings of more than two people who are not family members are banned. Face masks are required on all forms of public transportation and in public indoor spaces.

In Slovakia, a partial nationwide lockdown will be in effect from 24 October to 1 November. Residents are required to remain at home except to travel for work, procure essential goods, seek medical services, or care for family. Authorities will conduct two nationwide COVID-19 testing drives — from 30 October to 1 November and from 6 to 8 November. Those who test negative will be exempt from some of the lockdown restrictions, although authorities did not provide further details.

In Portugal, authorities announced that the Council of Ministers has approved a nationwide intercity travel ban, effective 0000 local time on 30 October (2300 UTC on 29 October) until 0000 local time on 3 November. Exceptions are in place for those who need to engage in intercity travel due to work, school, or medical reasons. In the northern municipalities of Felguiras, Lousada and Paços de Ferreira, coronavirus-related measures went into effect at 0000 local time on 23 October. These restrictions prohibit private gatherings in excess of five people, unless all individuals belong to the same household. Additionally, commercial establishments must close by 2200 local time, except for pharmacies, emergency health centers and gas stations. The government also has mandated that businesses adopt telework arrangements to the extent possible. It is unknown how long these restrictions will be in place.

GOVERNMENT WARNINGS

Costa Rica (Security threat level – 3): On 22 October 2020, the U.S. Embassy in San José issued a Travel Alert regarding coronavirus-related entry requirements, which reads in part as follows: “Costa Rica’s Ministry of Tourism has announced that as of October 26, visitors arriving to Costa Rica will no longer need to show proof of a negative COVID-19 test. All visitors entering Costa Rica will still need to purchase medical insurance to cover any COVID-19 related medical treatment or extended quarantine lodging and complete the Health Pass epidemiological form. U.S. citizens entering Costa Rica prior to November 1, 2020, will still be required to provide a valid driver’s license or State ID card to establish residency in a U.S. State authorized by the Ministry of Health. As of November 1, 2020, U.S. citizens from all 50 U.S. States and Washington, D.C. will be allowed to enter Costa Rica with the proper insurance and completed Health Pass. In addition to the relaxed requirements for visitors, as of October 26, Costa Rican citizens returning to the country via a flight will not be issued a 14-day quarantine. For an English language summary of these requirements, please visit this link .”

The full text of the alert can be read here .

Cyprus (Security threat level – 2): On 23 October 2020, the U.S. Embassy in Nicosia issued a Demonstration Alert, which reads in part as follows: “Several demonstrations are expected in and around Nicosia this weekend (October 24-25). The Cyprus police are aware of the events and will have officers present at each of the demonstrations.

“A demonstration is scheduled to take place tomorrow (Saturday), October 24th, around 8:00 am at ‘Freedom Square’ in the center of Nicosia. Other demonstrations are expected in the vicinity of the Presidential Palace beginning at 05:00 pm.

“A ‘mobile’ demonstration is scheduled to take place throughout Nicosia on Sunday, October 25th starting at 2:45 pm. Approximately 100 cars are expected to drive around Nicosia and pass in front of several Embassies, including the U.S. Embassy. At each Embassy the ‘mobile’ demonstration may make a short pause. All U.S. citizens are advised to avoid areas located near the U.S. Embassy on Sunday afternoon.”

Guinea (Security threat level – 4): On 22 October 2020, the U.S. Embassy in Conakry issued a Security Alert regarding ongoing post-election unrest, which reads in part as follows: “Event: We have received reports that unrest and violent clashes continue to occur throughout Guinea and we expect that this situation will continue at least through the weekend. Protesters have started fires, are burning tires, spreading motor oil on roads, and have set up roadblocks. We have received reports that security forces have responded by dispersing tear gas into crowds. There are reports that shots are being fired in some neighborhoods. Access to several cities in Middle Guinea (including Pita, Labe, Mamou, and Bomboli) has been blocked by various means.”

Analyst Comment: The latest reports suggest that incumbent President Alpha Conde will secure a controversial third term in office, which is likely to further intensify the ongoing unrest, especially since opposition candidate Cellou Dalein Diallo recently claimed victory. Preliminary official results show that Conde won twice as many votes as the opposition candidate in 37 out of the 38 electoral districts in the country.

Romania (Security threat level – 2): On 22 October 2020, the U.K. Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) updated its travel advice for Romania, which reads in part as follows: “From 20 October, the following measures will be in force in most major towns across Romania, for 14 days:

  • Wearing a face mask is mandatory in all public spaces.
  • Cinemas, theatres, other event venues and gambling venues are closed.
  • Restaurants and cafes cannot operate an indoor service. The only exception is hotels, who are able to serve customers with accommodation booked.
  • All schools will move to online teaching only.

“The towns where these measure will be in force include; Bucharest, Cluj-Napoca, Alba Iulia, Bacau, Reia, Sfântu Gheorghe, Craiova, Miercurea Ciuc, Târgu Mure, Zalau, Alexandria, and Râmnicu Vâlcea.
“In Bucharest, the Municipal Emergency Situation Committee will re-evaluate the situation on 3 November.”

Turkey (Security threat level – 4): On 23 October 2020, the U.S. Embassy in Ankara issued a Security Alert, regarding credible threats against U.S. citizens and foreign nationals in Turkey, which reads in part as follows: “The U.S. Mission in Turkey has received credible reports of potential terrorist attacks and kidnappings against U.S. citizens and foreign nationals in Istanbul, including against the U.S. Consulate General, as well as potentially other locations in Turkey. U.S. citizens are advised to exercise heightened caution in locations where Americans or foreigners may gather, including large office buildings or shopping malls.

“All American Citizen and visa services at U.S. Mission in Turkey’s facilities (including U.S. Embassy-Ankara, U.S. Consulate General-Istanbul, U.S. Consulate-Adana, and the U.S. Consular Agency-Izmir) will be temporarily suspended. Individuals with scheduled appointments will be notified by email with instructions on how to reschedule their appointments.”

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