Worldview Security Update – September 18, 2020
18-Sep-20

AMERICAS

Americas: Authorities in the British Virgin Islands have extended a 1700-0500 local time (2100-0900 UTC) nationwide curfew until 29 September 2020 in a continued effort to contain the spread of COVID-19. Throughout the 14-day curfew period, businesses — except bars, clubs, cinemas, public pools and other entertainment services — will be allowed to operate. Additionally, gatherings with more than 30 people are banned and face masks are required in all public spaces.

Meanwhile, Guatemala City’s La Aurora International Airport (MGGT/GUA) reopened to foreign nationals on 18 September. Travelers must present a negative result from a COVID-19 PCR test taken within 72 hours prior to arrival in Guatemala. Travelers without the proof of a negative result must self-quarantine for 14 days. Protective face masks remain mandatory at the airport and other public spaces in the country.

United States / Mexico / Canada (Security threat levels – 2 / 4 / 2): On 17 September 2020, Mexico’s Foreign Ministry announced its proposal to the U.S. government regarding extending the existing Mexico-U.S. land border closure for nonessential traffic through 21 October. The border restrictions, which do not apply to air travel, were initially enacted on 21 March to stem the spread of COVID-19 and are currently due to expire on 21 September. Individuals involved in cross-border trade and transport are exempt, as are other “essential” personnel — including health care staff and emergency officials — and individuals who transit the border daily for work or to obtain basic necessities, such as food or medicine. Meanwhile, Canadian sources indicate that the same restrictions and exemptions on the Canada-U.S. land border will likely remain in effect until at least 21 October.

ASIA

Vietnam / Thailand / Laos (Security threat levels – 3 / 3 / 3): On the morning of 18 September 2020, Storm Noul made landfall near Da Nang, Vietnam, before quickly weakening to a tropical depression. The storm brought heavy rains, which resulted in flooding, and downed trees and damaged more than 1,600 homes. Officials at Da Nang International Airport (VVDN/DAD) temporarily suspended operations at the facility. Additionally, the storm caused at least 30 flight cancellations at Chu Lai International Airport (VVCA/VCL) and Phu Bai International Airport (VVPB/HUI). There was one storm-related fatality reported in Thua Thien-Hue province’s Phong Dien district and at least 23 injuries, two of those injured were in critical condition. Additionally, in the nearby Quangh Binh province, six people were injured, and one person has been reported missing. Noul then tracked north, entered Laos and moved over northeastern Thailand — where authorities had deployed emergency crews and police officers in anticipation of heavy rains across the country, including in the capital Bangkok.

As of 0900 UTC, Storm Noul was located approximately 320 km (200 mi) west of Da Nang, Vietnam, according to the Joint Typhoon Warning Center. At that time, Noul had maximum sustained winds of 74 kph (46 mph), with gusts of up to 57 kph and was moving west at 50 kph. On its current track, the storm is forecast to weaken as it moves westward and dissipate within the next 24 hours.

AUSTRALASIA

Australia (Security threat level – 2): On 18 September 2020, Australian authorities announced that the number of residents allowed to return home each week will increase to 6,000 from 4,000. The change will take place by mid-October. According to Prime Minister Scott Morrison, there are approximately 24,000 Australian residents stranded abroad. Authorities are considering ease restrictions for those returning from New Zealand, which accounts for approximately 15% of returning residents.

In related developments, the deputy premier of Queensland along with the health minister announced that the state of Queensland will reopen its border with the Australian Capital Territory (ACT) as of 0100 local time on 25 September (1500 UTC on 24 September). Domestic flights between the two locations will then be allowed to resume; however, individuals who have traveled to the states of Victoria or New South Wales within the last 14 days will be banned from entry.

EUROPE

Greece (Security threat level – 3): On the morning of 18 September 2020, Storm Ianos, also known as Cassilda — with maximum sustained winds of 110 kph (70 mph) and higher gusts — came ashore in the western Greek Island of Lefkada, bringing strong winds and heavy rainfall to the region. Disruptions associated with the powerful storm are most severe on the islands of Ithaca, Kefalonia and Zakynthos, all of which are currently experiencing widespread flash flooding and power outages. Ferry services in most areas in western Greece are canceled, and flight disruptions were reported at Kefalonia International Airport Anna Pollatou (LGKF/EFL). The storm is expected to intensify, track toward the southeast and produce heavy rainfall in the capital Athens and central areas in the country; an estimated 150-250 mm (6-10 in) of rain, with isolated maximums of up to 500 mm, is in the forecast over the next 48 hours. Thus far, there have been no reports of significant injuries or deaths.

GOVERNMENT WARNINGS

Cameroon (Security threat level – 4): On 17 September 2020, the U.S. Embassy in Yaoundé issued a Demonstration Alert that reads in part as follows:

“Location: Population centers throughout Cameroon

“Event: The Embassy informs U.S. citizens that several political parties have called for demonstrations around the country on Tuesday, September 22. The Cameroonian government has not granted permission for these demonstrations. There will likely be increased law enforcement presence and the potential for conflict between security forces and demonstrators.”