Worldview Security Update – September 16, 2020
16-Sep-20

AMERICAS

Colombia / Honduras (Security threat levels – 4 / 4): On 15 September 2020, Colombia’s Transportation Ministry announced that international commercial flights will resume on 21 September. Initially, flights will be restricted to airports in Bolivia, Brazil, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Guatemala, Mexico and the U.S. International commercial flight operations at no more than 20% capacity — based on pre-pandemic capacity levels — will be permitted at the following four Colombian airports: Bogotá’s El Dorado Luis Carlos Galan Sarmiento International Airport (SKBO/BOG), Cali’s Alfonso Bonilla Aragón International Airport (SKCL/CLO) and Cartagena’s Rafael Núñez International Airport (SKCG/CTG). Airline crew members and passengers entering Colombia will be required to submit proof of negative results from a COVID-19 PCR test administered within 96 hours prior to boarding their flights. Face masks will be mandatory at all times at airports and aboard aircraft.

In Honduras, authorities have extended an existing nationwide nightly curfew and related movement restrictions until at least 20 September. Movement restrictions are based on national ID or passport numbers. Essential businesses may operate only during 0600-2000 local time (1200-0200 UTC), and face masks and social distancing measures remain mandatory in public areas. 

United States (Security threat level – 2): At approximately 0500 local time (1000 UTC) on 16 September 2020, Hurricane Sally made landfall near Gulf Shores, Alabama, with maximum sustained winds of 105 mph (165 kph), according to the U.S. National Hurricane Center. As of 0700 local time, the Category 2 storm was located approximately 15 mi (25 km) north-northeast of Gulf Shores, and about 15 miles west-southwest of Pensacola, Florida. As of that time, Sally was slowly tracking toward the north-northeast at 3 mph (6 kph) and had maximum sustained winds of 100 mph, with higher gusts.

Heavy rainfall and subsequent flooding events exacerbated by storm surges are ongoing in coastal areas of Alabama and the Florida Panhandle. Reports of downed trees and hurricane-related damage have emerged from Gulf Shores and the nearby city of Mobile. More than 500,000 homes and businesses in Alabama and Florida are without electricity; power outages are expected to worsen as the hurricane moves farther inland. Thus far, there have been no reports of significant injuries or deaths.

On the current forecast track, Sally will accelerate and move across westernmost areas of the Florida Panhandle and southeastern Alabama through the early hours of 17 September, after which it will pass over central areas of Georgia from the afternoon of 17 September through the nighttime hours. In areas along the central Gulf Coast and those located just inland from west of Tallahassee, Florida, to Mobile, Alabama, an additional 8-12 in (200-300 mm) of rain is expected through the afternoon of 16 September; a total of 10-20 inches of rain, with isolated maximums of up to 35 inches, is expected in these areas. The additional rainfall will further exacerbate widespread flooding and is expected to cause extensive moderate to major river flooding. Meanwhile, 4-8 inches of rain, with isolated maximums of up to 12 inches, is expected in central Alabama and central Georgia. Additionally, western South Carolina and areas in western and central North Carolina are expected to receive 4-6 inches of rain, with isolated maximums of up to 9 inches. Southeastern Virginia is expected to receive 2-5 inches of rain, with isolated maximums of up to 7 inches. The heavy rainfall can cause hazardous flash floods in the affected areas. Tornadoes are possible across parts of the Florida Panhandle, southern Alabama and southwestern Georgia through the night of 16 September.

A Hurricane Warning is currently in effect for areas from the Alabama-Mississippi border to Florida’s Okaloosa-Walton County line. A Storm Surge Warning is in effect for areas from Alabama’s Dauphin Island to Florida’s Walton-Bay County line. Meanwhile, a Tropical Storm Warning is in effect for areas east of Okaloosa-Walton County line to Indian Pass, Florida, and for areas from the Alabama-Mississippi border to the entrance of the Pearl River.

ASIA

Thailand / Nepal (Security threat levels – 3 / 3): On 15 September 2020, Thailand’s Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha announced that the Cabinet has approved a proposal to introduce a 90-day Special Tourist Visa (STV). Under the proposal, foreign travelers will be allowed to visit the country upon the condition that they submit to a 14-day quarantine at a government facility or a government-approved alternate location. Additionally, travelers will be required to submit proof of payment for their stay, such as the receipt for a hotel reservation. The visa may also be extended twice, up to 90 days each time. Authorities will reportedly begin issuing STV in October; however, it is unknown if travelers from countries heavily affected by COVID-19 will be able to enter. Prayut added that the Center for Covid-19 Situation Administration will be responsible for implementing the measure.

In Nepal, the government announced that domestic commercial passenger flights will resume on 17 September. Airlines will remain subject to public health measures imposed to limit the spread of COVID-19, and may only operate flights at 50% capacity.

Vietnam (Security threat level – 3): As of 0900 UTC on 16 September 2020, Tropical Storm Noul was located approximately 480 km (300 mi) west-southwest of Manila, Philippines, and was moving west-northwest at 17 kph (10 mph), according to the U.S. Joint Typhoon Warning Center. At that time, Noul was generating maximum sustained winds of 83 kph, with gusts of up to 102 kph. On its current path, the storm is forecast to make landfall near Da Nang, Vietnam, by 18 September. Noul is expected to produce rainfall of between 50-100 mm (2-4 in) in Vietnam’s central highlands region and southern areas of the central coast, with some areas in Ha Tinh and Quang Ngai provinces  forecast to receive up to 400 mm of rain from 17-18 September. Vietnamese officials reportedly plan to evacuate up to 500,000 residents of the central coast and have warned of possible flooding and landslides as a result of the heavy rains.

GOVERNMENT WARNINGS

Cuba (Security threat level – 2): On 15 September 2020, the U.S. Embassy issued a Health Alert regarding the implementation of additional coronavirus-related restrictions in Havana province, which reads in part as follows: "On September 1, new COVID related restrictions were imposed in the province of Havana by the local government. The new restrictive measures are related to the movement of people and vehicles, and the sale of products. The new measures include a daily curfew from 7pm until 5am, reduced operating hours for essential businesses like supermarkets, and reduced availability of fuel. These measures have been extended until September 30, but may be extended if COVID related health conditions do not improve. Non-compliance with these measures and hygiene protocols may result in fines and possibly more severe measures."

Dominican Republic (Security threat level – 3): On 15 September 2020, the U.S. Embassy in Santo Domingo issued an alert regarding an update to entry requirements, which reads in part as follows: "The Government of the Dominican Republic announced that starting September 15, COVID-19 rapid tests will be performed on randomly selected travelers upon arrival. Once this measure is in place the requirement for a negative COVID-19 test prior to arrival will be eliminated."

Italy (Security threat level – 3): On 15 September 2020, the U.K. Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO) issued updated travel advice for Italy, which reads in part as follows: “If you are travelling to the island of Sardinia, you are also required by the local authority to demonstrate that you have received a negative COVID test in the last 48 hours, or agree to take one when you arrive in Sardinia. You also need to register your trip in advance . More information on these requirements is available on the regional website of Sardinia . ” 

Latvia (Security threat level – 2): On 16 September 2020, the U.K. Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) issued updated travel advice for Latvia, which reads in part as follows: “From 17 September the period of self-isolation is reduced from 14 days to 10 for asymptomatic travellers. Travellers who have been in contact with a COVID-19 infected person or who work in Latvia in the medical professions, as teachers, or as social workers are still required to self-isolate for 14 days.”