Worldview Security Update – September 8, 2020
8-Sep-20

AMERICAS

Americas: On 4 September 2020, the Belizean government lifted the nationwide state of emergency; however, a number of restrictions remain in place until further notice. The use of face masks and social distancing are compulsory in all public spaces. Academic institutions, bars, entertainment venues, gaming establishments, gyms and recreational centers, nightclubs and places of worship remain closed. Cafes, restaurants and other eateries are permitted to operate takeout and delivery services only. Businesses are limited to a maximum occupancy of 10 people, and gatherings larger than 10 people are prohibited. Violators of health measures may be fined and sentenced to up to one year in prison.

In Costa Rica, beginning on 15 September, the government will allow travelers from the U.S. states of Colorado, Massachusetts and Pennsylvania to enter the country. Residents of Connecticut, Maine, Maryland, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Vermont, Virginia and the District of Columbia have been eligible to enter Costa Rica since 1 September. Those traveling to Costa Rica aboard private aircraft from elsewhere in the U.S. are required to secure advance approval from Costa Rican officials. In addition, entry is permitted for residents of the EU, the passport-free Schengen Zone, Australia, Canada, mainland China, Japan, New Zealand, Singapore, South Korea, Thailand and Uruguay. All travelers are required to complete an online health pass form , provide proof of a negative RT-PCR COVID-19 test taken within 72 hours of their travel date and purchase traveler’s health insurance with COVID-19 coverage. U.S. travelers will also be required to show proof of residence in one of the states listed above. Travelers may be subject to additional health screens and self-isolation requirements on arrival. Additional details regarding current entry requirements for Costa Rica are available here .

United States (Security threat level – 2): On 5 September 2020, a Boeing 767 aircraft made an emergency landing at Honolulu’s Daniel K. Inouye International Airport (PHNL/HNL) at 2045 local time (0645 UTC on 6 September) after one of the engines reportedly began to generate loud noises and flashes of light, indicating a possible fire. There were no reports of injuries among the cited 212 people aboard the aircraft, which was serving as a chartered military flight operated by Atlas Air, en route to Guam’s Andersen Air Force Base (PGUA) from Honolulu. Operations at Honolulu International Airport were not significantly disrupted.

ASIA

North Korea / South Korea / Japan (Security threat levels – 3 / 2 / 1): On the night of 7 September 2020, Typhoon Haishen weakened into a tropical storm and made landfall near the North Korean coastal city of Hamhung. Ahead of the landfall, several cities, including Wonsan, restricted vehicular traffic and evacuated residents from low-lying coastal areas. Video footage showed downed telephone and utility poles and flooded streets in Wonsan and nearby Tongchon county.

Typhoon Haishen made landfall along the southeastern coast of South Korea near the provincial borders of Busan and Ulsan provinces, located south of the city of Ulsan, in the very early hours of 7 September. The storm moved northward through eastern South Korea before entering the Sea of Japan by mid-afternoon. South Korean officials canceled more than 300 flights scheduled to operate through 10 South Korean airports and suspended passenger train services across much of the country’s southeastern areas. Heavy rainfall caused flash floods, while high winds damaged buildings and downed power lines. At least 110 homes were destroyed or inundated, and turbines at two nuclear reactors in the city of Gyeongju automatically stopped; however, there was no leakage of radioactive material. At least five people in South Korea suffered injuries as a result of the storm, including one person who suffered minor injuries when his car flipped in Busan due to high winds. One person was missing in the town of Samcheok, while another was missing in Uljin.

Meanwhile in Japan, the storm left at least one person dead and 84 others injured on the island of Kyushu; four additional people were reported missing. High winds, heavy rainfall and dangerous storm surges caused severe flash floods and landslides that downed power lines, uprooted trees, flooded roadways and caused significant damage to buildings, bridges, roads and other infrastructure throughout Kyushu.

MIDDLE EAST AND NORTH AFRICA

Lebanon (Security threat level – 4): On 7 September 2020, small-scale armed clashes occurred in cities across Lebanon, including in Beirut, Tripoli and Baalbek. In Beirut, armed fighting occurred in the neighborhood of al-Tariq al-Jadideh and involved groups of young men armed with high-powered firearms and rocket-propelled grenades. The fighting killed one person and injured two others. The neighborhood is a stronghold of former Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri, but it is unclear whether al-Hariri’s supporters were involved in the violence. Hariri’s brother issued a statement condemning the violence and calling for an investigation.

Meanwhile in the northern Lebanese city of Tripoli, two groups engaged in a gunbattle before military personnel intervened and arrested the gunmen. There were no reports of casualties in the event.

In Baalbek, armed clashes broke out in the al-Sharawneh neighborhood between members of two different families; one person was killed in the clashes. Local authorities stated that the fighting started after a man from one of the families killed a man from the other in a purported revenge killing.

Middle East and North Africa: As of 8 September 2020, several governments in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region are continuing to revise their restrictions in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Details regarding the latest developments in Bahrain, Oman and the United Arab Emirates are available below.

In Bahrain, the government resumed operating visa on arrival services on 4 September for citizens and residents of select countries. At present, on arrival visa services remain restricted to citizens of a Gulf Cooperation Council member country (excluding Qatar, arrivals from which must obtain a visa prior to their arrival) and residents of 69 additional countries, including Australia, Canada, the U.K. and the U.S. Additional exemptions to the entry ban are in place for select travelers, including airline crew, diplomatic personnel, travelers who obtain an e-visa prior to departure and military personnel. All travelers are required to take a COVID-19 test upon arrival and self-isolate until the results are known; those staying 10 days or longer must take a second test on the 10th day. Each traveler is responsible for paying 30 Bahraini dinars (80 U.S. dollars) per test. Additional information outlined by the Bahraini government is available here .

In Oman, authorities extended the existing ban on international commercial flight operations on 7 September. International air traffic is now scheduled to resume on 1 October, but the ban may be further extended.

In the UAE, officials in Abu Dhabi announced new testing requirements for travelers, which went into effect on 5 September. All travelers — including citizens and residents – arriving in Abu Dhabi must provide evidence of either a negative RT-PCR COVID-19 test or a negative rapid laser (DPI) COVID-19 test taken within 48 hours prior to their travel date in order to enter the emirate. Travelers will be responsible for the cost of the tests, which range from 50 dirhams (about 14 U.S. dollars) for the DPI test to 370 dirhams for the RT-PCR test. Previously, both tests were required in order to enter Abu Dhabi. In addition, those staying six days or longer in Abu Dhabi will be required to take an RT-PCR test on the sixth day after arrival. Travelers may be subject to additional health screenings and quarantine requirements at the discretion of health authorities.

Tunisia (Security threat level – 3): On 6 September 2020, suspected Islamist militants attacked two national guard officers at a security checkpoint near the port of the coastal city of Sousse, located approximately 140 km (85 mi) southeast of the capital Tunis. According to reports, the assailants rammed their vehicle into the checkpoint and attacked the two officers with knives, killing one and wounding the other. The attackers stole firearms and a police vehicle and fled the scene through the tourist district of El Kantaoui, where a gunbattle broke out. Security personnel killed three attackers in the gunbattle. Following the attack, security forces arrested seven individuals, including several family members of the alleged attackers. The Islamic State (IS) group claimed responsibility for the attack. Sousse was the site of a 2015 terrorist attack, during which an armed gunman killed 38 people at a beachside resort, for which the IS also claimed responsibility.

GOVERNMENT WARNINGS

Peru (Security threat level – 3): On 7 September 2020, the U.S. Embassy in Lima issued an alert regarding the resumption of select domestic air and bus travel, which reads in part as follows:

"Per the most recent Supreme Decree quarantine restrictions have been lifted for certain cities within Peru. The following regional airports are currently conducting flights (to/from) Lima: Talara, Tumbes, Piura, Chiclayo, Lima, Arequipa, Iquitos, Tarapoto, Pucallpa. Some commercial bus routes are operating to and from the aforementioned unrestricted areas. Restricted or closed for the next two weeks: Tacna, Moquegua, Cusco, Madre de Dios, Juliaca (Puno), Apurimac, Huancavelica, Junin, Huanuco, Cajamarca, and Ancash. Those traveling domestically to Lima by commercial air or land, must comply with the requirement to possess a complete sworn health declaration, which can be found here (Spanish): Formato de Declaracion Jurada Government of Peru. "

The full text of the alert can be read here .