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Worldview Security Update – March 10, 2020


Chile (Security threat level – 2): Shortly before 1230 local time (1530 UTC) on 9 March 2020, an armed gang stole a cash shipment worth approximately 15 million U.S. dollars from a warehouse located adjacent to Santiago’s Arturo Merino Benítez International Airport (SCEL/SCL). At least seven men arrived at the airport’s cargo area aboard two vehicles — including one painted with the logo of courier company DHL — and held the security guards at gunpoint. Two security guards were wounded during the robbery. Police officers stated that they suspect the gang had inside information about the shipment. Following the robbery, the General Directorate of Civil Aviation raised the level of alert at the airport. Reports indicate that a number of ambushes on vehicles at or near the airport have occurred since October 2019.


Malawi (Security threat level – 3): On 10 March 2020, police officers clashed with hundreds of opposition supporters in Area 3 of the capital Lilongwe following reports that authorities had arrested the chairperson of the opposition Human Rights Defenders Coalition (HRDC). Police officers fired tear gas to disperse the group, but there were no reports of injuries. On the previous day, police officers arrested two other HRDC leaders on charges of threatening to incite violence. The arrests follow the HRDC’s announcement that its members will hold demonstrations to force the closure of government buildings across Malawi on 25 March. The HRDC aims to pressure President Peter Mutharika to enact electoral reforms and appoint a new electoral commission ahead of the presidential runoff election scheduled for 19 May.


World: As of 10 March 2020, there are at least 115,829 confirmed cases of the COVID-19 coronavirus worldwide. At least 4,087 individuals have died of the virus. The countries with the largest outbreaks are China (80,756), Italy (9,172), Iran (8,042), South Korea (7,513), Spain (1,500), France (1,412) and Germany (1,281).

Beginning on 10 March, Italian officials have restricted all movement throughout the country in light of the COVID-19 outbreak. Under the decree, movement will only be allowed for work and unspecified emergencies. In addition, all public gatherings are banned and all public gathering sites — including cinemas, theaters, gym and pubs — will be closed indefinitely. The U.K. Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) advises against all but essential travel to Italy. British Airways has canceled all flights to and from Italy until 4 April; in addition, Ryan Air suspended flights through 9 April and Jet2 airline suspended flights through 26 April. Meanwhile, Austrian officials announced an entry ban on individuals arriving from Italy without a health certificate and will require returning Austrian nationals to self-isolate for 14 days after returning to the country. In Moldova, authorities banned foreign travelers from countries with confirmed cases of COVID-19 from arriving to Moldova aboard aircraft. In North Macedonia, authorities are allowing travelers from northern Italy only through Skopje International Airport (LWSK/SKP) and Ohrid Airport (LWOH/OHD), in addition to Blace, Bogorodica, Deve Bair, Kafasan and Tabanovce border crossings.

In Mongolia, authorities have restricted inter-city travel nationwide, including to and from the capital Ulaanbaatar, until at least 16 March following the country’s first confirmed case of COVID-19. The patient is reportedly a French national who arrived in Ulaanbaatar on 2 March from Moscow, Russia. Separately, beginning at 0000 local time on 13 March (1600 UTC on 12 March) all travelers from Italy — including visitors to Italy within two weeks of their arrival in Hong Kong — will be sent to quarantine centers for 14 days. The same measures will also apply to individuals who have traveled to Japan’s Hokkaido island, the German state of North Rhine-Westphalia and the French regions of Bourgogne-Franche-Comté and Grand Est regions within 14 days of their arrival in Hong Kong. The quarantine is mandatory for international travelers as well as Hong Kong residents. Japanese authorities announced that individuals coming from the Lombardy region of Italy will not be allowed entry into Japan.

Meanwhile, on 9 March Israeli officials announced that all persons entering Israel will be required to self-quarantine for 14 days upon arrival in the country due to concerns over the COVID-19 outbreak. Israeli nationals will be required to comply immediately, and the requirement will go into effect for foreign nationals on 12 March. The self-quarantine requirement will remain in place for all travelers arriving through at least 23 March. Israeli authorities will deny entry to foreign nationals if they are unable to present documents with the means to self-quarantine.