Worldview Security Update – September 17, 2020
17-Sep-20

AMERICAS

Chile / Peru (Security threat levels – 2 / 3): On 16 September 2020, Chile’s Ministry of Health announced that the following comunas (municipalities) — located south of the Santiago metropolitan region — will be under quarantine measures as of 0500 local time (0800 UTC) on 18 September: Curanilahue, Lebu, Licantén, Maullín and Pichidegua. These locations will remain under quarantine until further notice.

In Peru, President Martín Vizcarra on 16 September lifted the nationwide 24-hour curfew on Sundays due to a decline in new cases of COVID-19. Residents are now allowed to walk to areas near their homes on Sundays; however, the use of private vehicles remains prohibited. A nightly curfew from 2200-0400 local time (0300-0900 UTC) remains in effect for most areas of the country until further notice. 

United States (Security threat level – 2): On the night of 16 September 2020, Sally weakened into a tropical depression after making landfall as a Category 2 hurricane near Gulf Shores, Alabama, earlier in the morning. Sally produced strong winds and torrential rainfall across the central Gulf Coast region. The most severe damage occurred in the Gulf Shores area and the nearby city of Orange Beach, both of which will remain closed to visitors for the next 10 days as officials assess the full extent of the damage and begin recovery efforts. In Florida, the coastal city of Pensacola experienced widespread flooding after receiving more than 30 in (75 cm) of rain. Buildings and vehicles in the downtown area were inundated and a section of the Three Mile Bridge broke off. In Escambia County — where Pensacola is located — officials imposed a dusk-to-dawn curfew on 16 September, which will remain in effect until the daylight hours of 19 September. Hundreds of emergency personnel and National Guard troops have been deployed to the affected areas in Alabama and Florida to conduct rescue and recovery efforts. Approximately 500,000 homes and businesses in Alabama and Florida remain without electricity, as of the latest reports. At least one storm-related fatality occurred in Orange Beach and at least one person has been reported as missing.

As of 0400 local time (0900 UTC) on 17 September, Tropical Depression Sally was located approximately 50 mi (80 km) south of Montgomery, Alabama, according to the U.S. National Hurricane Center. At that point, Sally had maximum sustained winds of 30 mph (45 kph), with higher gusts, and was moving northeast at 12 mph. On its current track, the storm is forecast to move across southeastern Alabama through the morning before passing over central Georgia by the evening hours. The tropical depression will then move over South Carolina during the night of 17-18 September. An additional 3-6 inches of rain, with higher maximums, is expected across central Georgia. In South Carolina, 3-6 inches of rain, with isolated maximums of up to 10 inches is expected. Meanwhile, in areas from western to central North Carolina and parts of Virginia, Sally is expected to produce 4-6 inches of rain, with isolated maximums of up to 8 inches. The heavy rain could cause hazardous flash floods in the affected areas. The threat of tornadoes will remain through the nighttime hours of 17 September in eastern Georgia and most areas in North and South Carolina.

ASIA

Vietnam (Security threat level – 3): As of 0900 UTC on 17 September 2020, Tropical Storm Noul was located approximately 505 km (315 mi) east of Da Nang, Vietnam, and was tracking northwest at 30 kph (20 mph), according to the U.S. Joint Typhoon Warning Center. At that time, Noul had maximum sustained winds of 83 kph, with gusts of up to 100 kph. On its current path, Noul is forecast to strengthen slightly before making landfall near the central city of Hue, located approximately 90 km (55 mi) north of Da Nang as early as the morning of 18 September. In anticipation of heavy rainfall and subsequent flooding and landslides, officials are preparing to possibly evacuate up to 1 million residents from areas in Quang Binh, Quang Tri, and Thua Thien-Hue provinces, as well as Da Nang. Security forces plan to deploy up to 256,000 personnel to assist with rescue and recovery operations.

SUB-SAHARAN AFRICA

South Africa (Security threat level – 4): On the evening of 16 September 2020, President Cyril Ramaphosa declared that South Africa will transition to Level 1 of the lockdown imposed to contain the spread of COVID-19 beginning at 0000 local time on 20 September (2200 UTC on 19 September). Under Level 1, the nationwide nightly curfew will be in effect from 0000-0400 local time. Indoor gatherings of up to 250 individuals and outdoor gatherings of up to 500 people will be allowed, although venue operators are not allowed to host gatherings exceeding 50% of the venue’s capacity. Travel into and out of South Africa is slated to begin on 1 October and will be permitted only through the country’s main land border crossings and through the following three airports: Durban’s King Shaka International Airport (FALE/DUR), Cape Town International Airport (FACT/CPT) and Johannesburg’s OR Tambo International Airport (FAOR/JNB). All travelers arriving in South Africa will be required to provide a certificate indicating negative results of a COVID-19 test administered within 72 hours prior to arrival and will be required to install the COVID Alert South Africa mobile phone application. A list of countries from where travelers will be allowed to enter South Africa has yet to be released.

GOVERNMENT WARNINGS

El Salvador (Security threat level – 4): On 16 September 2020, the U.S. Embassy in San Salvador issued a Security Alert regarding robberies affecting users of ride-hailing services in greater San Salvador, which reads in part as follows: "Local police are reporting that a number of ride share service users have been the victim of robberies perpetrated by their drivers. The vehicle dispatched may match the ride share application’s description, but the driver may not be the person assigned to that vehicle. These incidents have occurred during late night and early morning hours in the highly populated Zona Rosa and Las Palmas neighborhoods. It is important to be vigilant when using ride share services."

The full text of the alert, which includes general precautions to take when using such services, can be found here .

Guatemala (Security threat level – 4): On 16 September 2020, the U.S. Embassy in Guatemala City issued a Demonstration Alert, which reads in part as follows: "The Embassy has received confirmed reports that a demonstration consisting of a caravan of vehicles will take place in Guatemala City on September 17, beginning at El Obelisco at 11:00 a.m., then progressing to the National Palace, likely passing in front of the U.S. Embassy on Avenida Reforma. According to the information received, the demonstration will protest against Guatemala’s continued State of Calamity. The Embassy recommends that American Citizens avoid traveling in the vicinity of Avenida Reforma in Guatemala City from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m."