Worldview Security Update – September 30, 2020
30-Sep-20

AMERICAS

Costa Rica (Security threat level – 3) : The Movimiento Rescate Nacional (National Rescue Movement) opposition group has called for large-scale anti-government protest actions across Costa Rica on 30 September 2020. Emerging reports indicate that protesters have erected at least two roadblocks — one in Tarbaca district and another along Vuelta Kooper highway in the Chilamate area. Meanwhile, demonstrators are preparing to gather outside the Legislative Assembly building in central San José, the capital. Additional demonstrations are expected to cause disruptions at ports in the cities of Caldera and Limón, as well as on several key transit routes; these thoroughfares include National Route 27, which connects the city and port of Caldera to San José; National Route 32, which connects San Jose to the provinces of Heredia and Limón; and the Pan-American Highway. The opposition group called for the protests to denounce the government’s economic policies, including a proposed increase in taxes as part of negotiations with the International Monetary Fund to secure a loan.

Ecuador (Security threat level – 3): On 29 September 2020, authorities in Ecuador lifted restrictions on air travel for both domestic and international flights. International travelers are required to present a negative COVID-19 PCR test taken no more than 10 days prior to arrival in Ecuador. Travelers who arrive without a negative PCR test will be tested at airports at their own expense and will be required to wait in temporary accommodation until they receive a negative test result. Those who opt not to undergo testing will be required to self-isolate for 10 days.

EUROPE

Netherlands (Security threat level – 2): On 29 September 2020, authorities implemented new nationwide measures — effective for at least the next three weeks — in an effort to slow the spread of COVID-19 in the Netherlands. Prime Minister Mark Rutte has asked residents to avoid travel between Amsterdam, Rotterdam and The Hague, the country’s three largest cities. Additionally, patrons inside commercial establishments in those cities are advised to wear face masks, which is a countrywide requirement for anyone using public transport. Indoor gatherings are limited to a maximum of 40 people, while gatherings occurring outdoors are limited to a maximum of 30 people. Spectators are banned from attending sporting events, and hospitality venues — such as bars and restaurants — must shut down by 2200 local time (2000 UTC) daily. These measures are being enacted as health officials in the country registered a record high 3,011 new COVID-19 cases on 29 September. There has been a notable rise in COVID-19 cases in the Netherlands recently, with nearly 3,000 new such cases being reported daily for the past three days.

Additional details regarding new restrictions outlined by the Dutch government can be viewed here .

MIDDLE EAST AND NORTH AFRICA

Israel / Jordan (Security threat levels – 3 / 3): On 30 September 2020, the Israeli Knesset approved legislation that would prohibit Israelis from participating in protests farther than 1 km (0.6 mi) away from their residences in an effort to curb the spread of COVID-19. The measure authorizes the government to declare a special weeklong state of emergency should the virus continue to spread, at which point the prohibition will come into effect and will also limit the number of participants in such gatherings to a maximum of 20 people. Authorities may extend the emergency, including the ban, for an additional three weeks, but only with the Cabinet’s approval. Opposition politicians and civil activists have denounced the new legislation as an attempt to stifle the ongoing protests against Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu — which often take place outside his residence in Jerusalem — under the guise of curbing the spread of COVID-19. Officials enacted a second nationwide lockdown on 18 September, which is set to remain in effect until 9 October, amid a surge in new COVID-19 infections.

In Jordan, authorities imposed a lockdown on the Beqaa Refugee Camp, located on the outskirts of Amman, on 29 September in an effort to contain an outbreak of COVID-19 at the camp. Officials also imposed lockdowns on the neighborhood of New Zarqa and Batrawi in Zarqa governorate. In addition to the lockdowns, all three areas are under a 24-hour curfew.

Kuwait (Security threat level – 2): On 30 September 2020, Kuwait’s parliament officially swore in Crown Prince Nawaf al-Ahmad al-Jaber al-Sabah as the new Emir of Kuwait following the death of Emir Sabah al-Ahmad al-Sabah the previous day. The incoming leader pledged to continue the policies of his predecessor and work to facilitate closer ties among regional partners and adversaries. Meanwhile, the deceased leader’s body is set to arrive in Kuwait later in the day, and authorities have reported that only close relatives will be permitted to attend funeral services due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. As part of the mourning period — which lasts a total of 40 days — government offices will be closed from 30 September to 2 October.

Analyst Comment: While the transition of power took place without any issues or disagreements within the royal family, the potential for such a development over designating the next crown prince of Kuwait cannot be completely ruled out. Organizations with interests in Kuwait should continue to monitor developments as they unfold.

GOVERNMENT WARNINGS

Costa Rica (Security threat level – 3): On 29 September 2020, the U.S. Embassy issued a Travel Alert regarding coronavirus-related restrictions, which reads in part as follows: "Costa Rica has confirmed 74,604 cases of COVID-19 as of September 29, 2020. Costa Rica’s National Emergency Commission has announced that current COVID-19 related restrictions will continue during the month of October. During October, most commercial establishments can remain open nationwide, including in Orange Alert areas. Vehicle restrictions based on license plates will also continue and are standardized throughout Costa Rica. On weekdays, vehicles with authorized license plate numbers are permitted to drive from 5am to 10pm. On weekends, vehicles with authorized license plate numbers are permitted to drive from 5am to 8pm. Beaches can remain open nationwide from 5am to 2:30pm and National Parks are open nationwide. For an English language summary of the October restrictions, please visit this link . For an interactive map of the areas under Orange and Yellow alert, please visit this link .

"The Ministry of Health expanded the list of states from which tourists can enter Costa Rica. As of October 1, U.S. citizen tourists who are residents of New York, New Jersey, Maine, Connecticut, New Hampshire, Vermont, Virginia, Maryland, the District of Columbia, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts, Colorado, Washington, Oregon, Wyoming, Arizona, New Mexico, Michigan, Rhode Island, California, and Ohio are allowed to enter Costa Rica. Tourists from these states — or from an authorized country, such as Canada — can fly from an authorized state through a non-authorized state (e.g. Florida, Texas) en route to Costa Rica. The maximum layover time in the non-authorized state is 18 hours, and the traveler cannot leave the airport. Tourists coming from anywhere but the United States must have remained in an authorized country for at least 14 days before travel."

The full text of the Travel Alert can be found here .

Oman (Security threat level – 2): On 29 September 2020, the U.K. Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO) issued an update to its travel advice for Oman, which reads in part as follows:

“The Omani government has announced that international flights can resume a limited schedule from 1 October 2020. Initially, only Omani citizens and foreign nationals with valid residence visas are likely to be able to enter. Any other travellers should seek approval via their airline. Alternatively, their sponsors can email the Omani Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) at [email protected]. You should stay in touch with the airlines and monitor local media.

“Oman Air and other airlines also operating ad hoc special flights to London Heathrow and other destinations. Information about these flights, along with details of how to book, will appear in the English-language local media and on the airlines’ social media sites (but not their websites).

“To enter Oman, you will need to have downloaded the Tarassud+ track and trace application (available on iOS and Android phones). While you can do this on arrival in Muscat, you should download it before you leave the UK.

"When checking in at the airport, residents returning to Oman must present either proof of their accommodation (such as a rental agreement) or have a letter from their sponsor confirming that they have accommodation. You must also be able to show you have travel/health insurance for the duration of your stay, covering at least 30 days of coronavirus treatment.”