Worldview Security Update – October 30, 2020
30-Oct-20

 

AMERICAS

Colombia / Peru (Security threat levels – 4 / 3): On 30 October 2020, Colombian authorities imposed a nightly curfew between 2200-0600 local time (0300-1100 UTC) in the Medellín metropolitan area to curb the spread of COVID-19 over the upcoming Halloween weekend from 30 October to 2 November. Additionally, all liquor sales in the metropolitan area are banned until 2 November.

Peruvian President Martín Vizcarra on 29 October announced that an existing nationwide state of emergency will be extended from 1 November to 30 November. The order was scheduled to expire on 1 November. A nightly curfew from 2300 to 0400 local time (0400-1000 UTC) and a ban on all social gatherings remain in effect.

United States (Security threat level – 2): On 29 October 2020, the judge of El Paso County, Texas, ordered a two-week closure of nonessential businesses — including gyms, hair and nail salons, in-person dining, and tattoo parlors — effective at 0000 local time (0600 UTC) on 30 October until 13 November. Essential businesses that will remain open under the order include childcare facilities, funeral services, government offices, grocery stores, healthcare facilities, pharmacies, post offices, retail-to-go and schools that provide meal service. Election activities, such as polls, are also exempt from the order. A nightly 2200-0500 local time (0400-1100 UTC) curfew remains in effect in the county, where officials have so far recorded more than 14,000 COVID-19 cases and 585 related fatalities.

Analyst Comment: The fate of the local order remains in question. Texas’ attorney general has stated he intends to contest the order via legal means, and the mayor of El Paso announced that the order is in direct contradiction to the governor’s executive orders outlining rules for reopening Texas.

ASIA

Philippines (Security threat level – 4): As of 0900 UTC on 30 October 2020, Typhoon Goni — known as Rolly in the Philippines — was located approximately 1,150 km (715 mi) east of Manila and was moving west at 20 kph (13 mph). At that time, Goni was generating maximum sustained winds of 278 kph, with gusts of up to 333 kph. On its current forecast path, the storm is expected to continue strengthening before crossing over central Luzon Island between 1 and 2 November. It is then forecast to enter the South China Sea and track toward central Vietnam. Authorities have warned of strong winds and rainfall between 100 and 200 mm (4 and 8 in) in most parts of central and southern Luzon Island, with some areas possibly receiving up to 400 mm of rain. Flooding and landslides are possible in the affected areas.

EUROPE

Belarus / Spain / United Kingdom (Security threat levels – 3 / 3 / 3): As of 29 October 2020, Belarus’ authorities have closed the country’s land borders with Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Russia and Ukraine, citing COVID-19 concerns. Reports indicate that Belarusian citizens and trucks carrying goods are being allowed to cross the land borders. The closures also come as President Alexander Lukashenko has accused neighboring countries of meddling in the country’s internal politics. Large-scale anti-government protests have continued in the country since Lukashenko was declared the winner of the 9 August presidential election — an election that outside observers judge as neither free nor fair.

On 30 October authorities in Spain restricted travel to and within the autonomous region of Andalusia until 9 November. The provincial borders of Granada, Jaén and Seville are also closed, as well as the borders of the municipalities within these provinces. Additionally, the borders of the health authority districts of Córdoba South, Jerez North East Coastal, the Antequera area of La Vega de Málaga and Sierra de Cadiz are closed. No one may enter or exit any restricted province or municipality in the region without a valid reason. These measures are in addition to the nationwide curfew and limits on gatherings instituted on 25 October.

In the U.K., Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon introduced a new five-tier system for COVID-19 restrictions that is set to be in effect as of 2 November. Under the new system, the least stringent restrictions will be in place in areas with “Protection Level 0,” whereas the most stringent restrictions will be in place in areas with “Protection Level 4.” Residents in most areas of Scotland, including Edinburgh and Glasgow, will be subjected to “Protection Level 3,” under which nonessential travel into and out of those areas will be banned, with exceptions for essential reasons such as work, school, shopping, or exercise. Additional details regarding the new five-tier system and varied restrictions depending on the designated “protection levels” are available here . Separately, authorities in England announced that the West Yorkshire region will be placed under Tier 3 restrictions beginning at 0001 local time/UTC on 2 November. Nonessential establishments in the areas, 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 3 restrictions are introduced after officials designate an area to be at a “very high” COVID-19 alert level. Additional information on the various tiers is available here .

Turkey / Greece (Security threat levels – 4 / 3): At 1451 local time (1151 UTC) on 30 October 2020, a 7.0 magnitude earthquake struck approximately 65 km (40 mi) south-southwest of the Turkish city of Izmir at a depth of 21 km, according to the U.S. Geological Survey. Shaking was felt throughout western Turkey and most of Greece, with the strongest tremors reported around Izmir. Reports indicate that the earthquake caused at least 20 buildings to collapse in the Bornova and Bayrakli districts of Izmir; search and rescue operations are presently underway. There are also unconfirmed reports that the earthquake triggered sea levels to rise, resulting in flooding in parts the city. No reports have emerged regarding the operational status of Izmir Anan Menderes Airport (LTBJ/ADB). According to the Turkish minister of health, at least four people were killed in Izmir and 120 others were injured. Authorities have so far rescued at least 70 people.

Analyst Comment: Initial reports from the city of Izmir indicate that the earthquake inflicted severe damage on populated, residential areas of the city. While strong earthquakes frequently occur in Turkey, they more commonly affect inland areas, such as regions near the borders with Iraq and Iran, which are more rural and less densely populated. Organizations with assets and personnel in or near Izmir should monitor the situation closely.

MIDDLE EAST AND NORTH AFRICA

Lebanon (Security threat level – 4): On 30 October 2020, security forces deployed tear gas and clashed with Islamist demonstrators outside the French Embassy in the capital Beirut. Protesters threw rocks at security forces and attempted to remove barricades in front of the embassy. There have been no reports of casualties. Reports indicate that the demonstrators — most of whom were members of Hizb al-Tahrir, a conservative Sunni Islamist group — traveled to Beirut from the northern city of Tripoli earlier in the day.

Tunisia (Security threat level – 3): On 29 October 2020, Tunisian authorities announced new restrictions to control increasing rates of COVID-19 infection in the country. The restrictions include a nightly curfew from Monday to Friday between the hours of 2000 and 0500 local time (1900-0400 UTC). Meanwhile, there will be a nightly curfew from Saturday to Sunday between the hours of 1900-0500 local time. Additionally, officials have imposed a ban on nonessential travel between provinces, with exceptions for work and emergency situations. Furthermore, all cafes and restaurants across the country will be required to close by 1600 local time. All indoor public facilities are limited to 30% capacity, outdoor public facilities are limited to 50% capacity, and all places of worship are closed until 15 November. Public protests are also banned until 15 November, and classes in all primary and middle schools are suspended until at least 8 November.

GOVERNMENT WARNINGS

Bangladesh (Security threat level – 4): On 29 October 2020, the U.S. Embassy issued a Security Alert regarding a planned rally in Dhaka, which reads in part as follows: “The Islami Andolan Bangladesh (IAB) religious organization plans to hold a rally November 1, 2020, at the National Press Club in the Motijheel area (approximately 12 km from the U.S. Embassy) and march to the French Embassy to protest the French government’s response after the murder of a French teacher in Paris. The IAB plans further protests in the coming days.”

Burkina Faso (Security threat level – 4): On 29 October 2020, the U.K. Foreign, Commonwealth, and Development Office (FCDO) issued updated travel advice for Burkina Faso to include the following: “Presidential and legislative elections will take place on 22 November 2020. The election campaign will run from 31 October to 20 November 2020. The FCDO advise against all but essential travel to the capital Ouagadougou, up to the toll booths on all roads out of the city, and against all travel to the rest of Burkina Faso. If in Ouagadougou, exercise caution and avoid large political rallies and gatherings, areas of demonstrations and protests. Crowds can gather quickly and may become violent. In the event of unrest monitor local media and follow instructions and announcements from the local authorities.”

Chad (Security threat level – 5): On 29 October 2020, the U.K. Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) issued updated travel advice for Chad, which reads in part as follows: “If you enter Chad and are planning to stay for 7 days or more, you will need to surrender your passport, quarantine at home for 7 days and take a COVID-19 test on the seventh day. Passports will be returned upon presentation of the COVID-19 test receipt. If you are staying in Chad for less than 7 days you will not be required to quarantine.”

Côte d’Ivoire (Security threat level – 4): On 29 October 2020, the U.K. Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) issued updated travel advice for Côte d’Ivoire, which reads in part as follows: “Presidential elections are scheduled to take place on Saturday 31 October 2020. Demonstrations, road blocks and protests have taken place across Côte d’Ivoire since August, and have increased since the start of the election campaign (15 October 2020). Trees have been used to block roads, protesters are manning the road blocks and may obstruct passage.

“There have been outbreaks of violence (including between communities), which have caused a number of civilian deaths. In Dabou, there have been at least 16 deaths. A night time curfew is currently in place.

“You should exercise caution and avoid all demonstrations, large crowds, political gatherings and rallies, particularly on election day and following the announcement of the results. Crowds can gather quickly and road blocks are common. In the event of unrest, monitor local media and follow instructions and announcements from the local authorities. You should comply with any additional checks or security measures introduced by the authorities, which may be introduced at short notice.”