Worldview Security Update – October 26, 2020
26-Oct-20

 

AMERICAS

Mexico / Cuba / Cayman Islands / Jamaica / United States (Security threat levels – 4 / 2 / 1 / 3 / 2): As of 0800 local time (1200 UTC) on 26 October 2020, Tropical Storm Zeta was located approximately 285 km (175 mi) southeast of Cozumel, Mexico, according to the U.S. National Hurricane Center. At that time, Zeta was generating maximum sustained winds of 110 kph (70 mph), with higher gusts. On its current track, Zeta will move near or over the northern Yucatan Peninsula on 26 October before crossing the southern Gulf of Mexico on 27 October and approach the northern Gulf coast on 28 October. Zeta is forecast to strengthen to hurricane status on 26 October before reaching the Yucatan Peninsula.

A Hurricane Warning is currently in effect for the area from Tulum to Dzilam, Mexico, and the island of Cozumel. A Tropical Storm Warning is in effect for Pinar del Rio, Cuba, as well as south of Tulum to Punta Allen and west of Dzilam to Progreso in Mexico.

The storm is forecast to produce 100-200 millimeters (4-8 in) of rain through 28 October, with isolated maximums of up to 305 millimeters along the storm’s track in Jamaica, the Cayman Islands, central to western Cuba and the northeast Yucatan Peninsula.

United States (Security threat level – 2): On 25 October 2020, an El Paso County, Texas, judge instituted a nightly curfew for the city and county of El Paso from 2200 to 0500 local time (0400-1000 UTC), to remain in effect until 8 November. Only those engaged in essential services are exempt from the curfew. Law enforcement officers will compel adherence to the curfew and the mask mandate. El Paso County currently has more than 11,000 active cases of COVID-19, and officials report all hospitals in the area have reached capacity.

ASIA

Asia / Australasia: As of 26 October 2020, governments throughout the Asia-Pacific region continue to maintain coronavirus-related restrictions in an effort to limit the spread of the disease. In China, authorities declared a lockdown in Kashgar, which is located in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, after an outbreak of cases. In French Polynesia, a nightly curfew is in effect until 16 November on the islands of Tahiti and Moorea. In Malaysia, officials have extended a Conditional Movement Control Order (CMCO) in Sabah state until 9 November. In Australia’s Victoria state, the premier has ordered the extension of lockdown orders for Melbourne while the results of approximately 3,000 COVID-19 tests are pending; restrictions in other parts of Victoria will be lifted as of 2359 local time (1259 UTC) on 27 October. Additional details are available below.

On 25 October Chinese authorities declared a lockdown on the city of Kashgar, located in the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region, after 137 individuals tested positive for coronavirus. Authorities traced the outbreak to a local factory and have banned travel in and out of the city until all residents are tested.

In French Polynesia, authorities implemented a nightly 2100-0600 local time (0700-1600 UTC) curfew on 24 October on the islands of Tahiti and Moorea due to a spike in COVID-19 cases. The curfew will remain in place until 16 November. During curfew hours, residents are required to remain in their homes.

On 24 October Malaysian authorities extended a Conditional Movement Control Order (CMCO) in Sabah state until 9 November due to a spike in COVID-19 cases. The order was scheduled to expire on 26 October. Under the restrictions, interstate travel between Sabah and all other states is banned, except in cases of emergency travel for medical reasons, deaths or essential services. Travelers seeking an exception must submit an application to the police department. Additionally, all schools and places of worship will remain closed.

In Australia, Victoria Premier Dan Andrews announced on 24 October that Melbourne will remain in the second step of the state of Victoria’s three-step reopening plan for several more days as authorities await the results of nearly 3,000 COVID-19 tests. The tests were administered in response to a cluster of 39 cases of COVID-19. However, regional Victoria will advance to the next step in the reopening plan at 2359 local time (1259 UTC) on 27 October. Indoor gyms, fitness centers and indoor pools will be allowed to reopen with a 20-person occupancy limit. Indoor sports will be allowed for those 20 years of age or younger. Food courts will be allowed to reopen, and live music may resume in outdoor locations. Up to 20 individuals will be allowed to gather for religious observances indoors, and up to 50 individuals will be allowed to gather outdoors.

Philippines / Vietnam (Security threat levels – 4 / 3): As of 1700 local time (0900 UTC) on 26 October 2020, Typhoon Molave – known as Quinta in the Philippines – was located approximately 260 km (160 mi) west-southwest of Manila, Philippines, and was moving west-northwest at 28 kph (17 mph), according to the U.S. Joint Typhoon Warning Center. At that time, Molave was generating maximum sustained winds of 148 kph, with gusts of up to 185 kph. On its current forecast path, the storm is expected to move across the South China Sea before making landfall near Da Nang in central Vietnam by 28 October.

At approximately 1830 local time on 25 October, Molave made landfall on San Miguel Island in the Philippines. At the time of landfall, the storm posted maximum sustained winds of 120 kph, with gusts of up to 148 kph. Flooding was reported in parts of Cavite and Laguna provinces, and authorities placed 15 towns in Albay province under mandatory evacuation orders prior to landfall. There have been no reports of significant damage thus far.

EUROPE

Belarus (Security threat level – 3): On the evening of 25 October 2020, security personnel deployed tear gas, flash bangs and rubber bullets to disperse demonstrators in central Minsk. Earlier in the day, approximately 100,000-200,000 demonstrators marched through Minsk, demanding that President Alexander Lukashenko resign. Demonstrators are planning a nationwide strike beginning 26 October.

Europe: As of 26 October 2020, countries throughout Europe continue to impose coronavirus-related restrictions in response to rising case numbers. In Spain, authorities issued a state of emergency through 9 November. Meanwhile, protests against lockdown orders occurred in Germany, Italy and the U.K. Additional details are available below.

On 25 October Spain’s Council of Ministers approved a nationwide state of emergency until at least 9 November, due to a significant increase in COVID-19 cases across the country. Under the state of emergency, a curfew will be in place nationwide from 2300 to 0600 local time (2100 to 0400 UTC). The state of emergency also restricts social gatherings nationwide to no more than six people and grants local officials at the provincial and municipal levels the authority to impose stricter movement restrictions if necessary. Central government officials plan on extending the state of emergency until 9 May 2021, pending parliamentary approval.

In Germany, on 25 October police officers forcibly dispersed a protest of approximately 2,000 individuals who had gathered at Alexanderplatz in central Berlin to oppose COVID-19 restrictions in the country. Police officers began dispersing the demonstration after protesters ignored their orders to comply with existing face mask and social distancing measures. Some demonstrators then headed to the Kosmos convention center, where counterdemonstrators were also present. Nonetheless, there were no reports of clashes between the two groups. The protest against COVID-19 restrictions was timed to coincide with the World Health Summit, which was moved online from its original location at the Kosmos convention center due to a spike in COVID-19 cases in the country.

In Italy, during the early morning hours of 25 October approximately 200 members of the far-right Forza Nuova Party clashed with Italian riot police in the capital Rome shortly after authorities announced a new curfew in the city. The demonstrators threw flares and firecrackers at security forces, injuring two police officers. Authorities arrested 10 individuals involved in the disturbance. In addition to the restrictions in Rome, authorities announced new restrictions for public places nationwide — including bars, restaurants, gyms and movie theaters — that go into effect as of 26 October. Under the new restrictions, bars and restaurants will be required to close at 1800 local time (1600 UTC), while gyms and movie theaters will close until at least 24 November.

In the United Kingdom, on 24 October thousands of demonstrators marched through downtown London to protest against lockdown measures imposed to curb the spread of COVID-19. Demonstrators marched down Oxford Street, past Leicester Square and Buckingham Palace, and concluded the march at Trafalgar Square. A rally was also held in Hyde Park. Police officials declared the demonstration an “illegal gathering” and called for protesters to disperse after participants failed to maintain social distancing. A small group of demonstrators refused to disperse and began marching toward Westminster Bridge, before police officers blocked their path. Minor scuffles occurred as authorities dispersed the demonstration. Police officers arrested 18 people.

SUB-SAHARAN AFRICA

Guinea (Security threat level – 4): On 24 October 2020, the head of the Electoral Commission declared that President Alpha Conde has won reelection in the first round with 59.49% of the vote. His opponent — Cellou Dalein Dialo — won 33.5% of the vote. Reports indicate that following the announcement the streets of Conakry were deserted, with police checkpoints set up at access points to the city center. Police officers have also surrounded the home of Dialo.

Nigeria (Security threat level – 5): As of 26 October 2020, unrest continues across parts of Nigeria. Security personnel are struggling to prevent individuals from looting government warehouses and politicians’ private homes. These individuals are looting food stockpiles reportedly intended for COVID-19 relief, although never distributed. Reports indicate that police officers in the capital Abuja fired live ammunition into the air and deployed tear gas to prevent residents from entering one such warehouse. In Calabar, individuals raided the homes of local politicians perceived to contain such relief stockpiles. Meanwhile, authorities continue to adjust curfew measures. Authorities in Kwara state imposed a lockdown in the Ilorin metropolis due to reports of looting, while officials in Adamawa state imposed a 24-hour curfew across the entire state.

Elsewhere in Nigeria, unidentified gunmen attacked Lingyado village in the Maru Local government area — which is located in Zamfara state approximately 390 km (240 mi) north-northwest of Abuja — and kidnapped the district head and four others. Security personnel stationed nearby managed to avert additional kidnappings. Authorities are currently searching for the abductees. The gunmen have not been identified. Authorities recently deployed additional security personnel to Zamfara state amid a rise in bandit activity.

GOVERNMENT WARNINGS

Côte d’Ivoire (Security threat level – 4): On 25 October 2020, the U.S. Embassy in Abidjan issued a Demonstration Alert that reads in part as follows: “There have been calls for escalated acts of civil disobedience — including road blockages, traffic disruptions, and demonstrations — to take place throughout Cote d’Ivoire starting on Monday, October 26. The U.S. Embassy recommends U.S. citizens avoid large crowds and remain vigilant.”

Jordan (Security threat level – 3): On 25 October 2020, the U.K. Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) issued an update to its travel advice for Jordan, which reads in part as follows:  “As part of measures announced by the Government on 22 October, a curfew will be in place every Thursday 11pm to Saturday 6am until the end of the year, across Jordan. The timings can change and be announced at short notice. You should adhere to the curfew. You are not permitted to leave your accommodation during the curfew.”

Oman (Security threat level – 2): On 26 October 2020, the U.K. Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) issued updated travel advice for Oman, which reads in part as follows: “If you are staying in Oman for more than 7 days, you will also be required (if you are over the age of 15) to wear a tracking bracelet for the period of your self-isolation. There is a charge (also payable through the Tarassud+ application) of 6 Omani Riyals for the bracelet, and you may be charged a small additional fee to have the bracelet removed.”