Interfor’s Weekly Security & Covid Digest -August 17, 2021
Global Security Matters
- In the aftermath of the Taliban’s takeover of Kabul, a top US general said that the United States could face a rise in terrorist threats from a Taliban-run Afghanistan. This warning comes after the US-backed Afghan military collapsed with shocking speed.
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- The Department of Homeland Security is considering hiring private companies to analyze social media accounts for potential signs of domestic or foreign threats. The effort has not received approval or funding and would involve sifting through internet traffic to help identify developing attacks.
- FireEye, a US-based cybersecurity firm, said a Chinese group carried out a widespread espionage attack against Israeli entities. Hackers were able to gain access to Israeli government bodies and companies, likely motivated by business and technology interests.
- T-Mobile is investigating claims that hackers have data on nearly all of the company’s US customers, over 100 million people. The data reportedly includes social security numbers, names, and addresses. The hackers have posted their intent to sell the data on an underground forum.
Total Deaths: 4,373,927 (622,437 in United States)
Full Vaccinations Administered: 1.85 billion, globally (United States: 169M – 51.4% of population)
- The White House is developing a plan to distribute Covid-19 vaccine booster shots as soon as October. The first doses are likely to go to nursing home residents and health care workers followed by other senior citizens.
- Federal law enforcement agencies have confiscated thousands of counterfeit vaccine certification cards. Senate Majority Leader, Chuck Schumer, is demanding stiff penalties for false claims of vaccination.
- The CDC has added Dominica, Jersey, Montenegro, and Turkey to the list of highest risk destinations for travelers.
- New York, the nation’s first major city to require at least partial vaccination for indoor activities such as dining and using gyms, will begin to require proof on Tuesday. Additionally, The State Department of Health issued an order requiring all health care workers be vaccinated against Covid-19 by September 27.
- In New Orleans, vaccine mandates for all indoor and outdoor gatherings of more than 500 people went into effect Monday.
- Public health experts are raising alarms about a surge in Covid hospitalizations among children across the county. There have been nearly 94,000 new child Covid-19 cases reported earlier this month.
- Over 5,000 students and hundreds of employees in a Florida school district have tested positive for Covid-19 or may have been exposed to the coronavirus. Hillsborough County Public Schools said in a statement that 5,599 students and 316 staff members are in isolation or quarantine.
- New Zealand will go into a snap three-day lockdown after confirming one case of Covid-19 in the community. Auckland will be in lockdown for seven days. The case is New Zealand’s first in six months.
- In England, all 16 and 17-year olds are now offered their first Covid-19 vaccine dose or the chance to book one by August 23. The health secretary said offering vaccines by this date will allow kids to have some protection before starting school next month.
- Police in Australia increased fines for people breaking lockdown rules in Sydney and the rest of its home state and strict stay-at-home orders were extended statewide amid a record jump in daily new Covid-19 infections.
- Data published by the Israeli Ministry of Health shows that protection from the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine dropped off sharply after six months, down to 40%-50% effectiveness.
- Malaysia’s Prime Minister, Muhyiddin Yassin, has stepped down following mounting criticism over his Covid-19 policies. Defecting members of the Prime Minister’s coalition claimed that his lockdown policies were inconsistent and failed to prevent a rise in deaths.