Interfor International - Weekly Security Matters Digest - Aug 24

Interfor International – Weekly Security & Covid Digest – August 24

Interfor’s Weekly Security & Covid Digest -August 24, 2021

Global Security Matters

  • The State Department was reportedly hit by a cyber attack in recent weeks though the extent of the risk to the department’s internal operations remains unknown.  This has reportedly not impacted the ability of the US to evacuate Americans from Afghanistan. 
  • The US special envoy for North Korea is slated to visit South Korea this weekend as a standoff continues over US-South Korean military exercises.  The Biden administration said it will explore diplomatic efforts to achieve North Korean denuclearization but does not wish to ease sanctions.
  • National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan says several thousand Americans are still stuck in Afghanistan as the Taliban controls portions of Kabul’s airport.  The Biden administration has not ruled out sending additional US troops to Afghanistan, though the Taliban has stated a remaining US presence past the August 31st would be crossing a red line. Nearly 50,000 people have been evacuated from Afghanistan since mid-August.

Covid-19 Updates

Total Deaths: 4,444,735 (629,564 in United States) 

Full Vaccinations Administered: 1.92 billion, globally (United States: 171M – 52.1% of population)

  • The Pfizer-BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine received full approval from the FDA on Monday, likely opening the door for more employers to mandate the shots.
  • The US is again averaging more than 1,000 Covid-19 deaths every day for the first time in five months.
  • The Pentagon said that officials will soon issue guidance to require Covid-19 vaccination for the military now that the Pfizer vaccine has been FDA approved.
  • The West Virginia university health system, the state’s largest private employer announced that it will require all employees to be vaccinated by October 31.
  • New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced a Covid-19 vaccine mandate for all education department staff for all public schools across the city without a testing alternative. All school staff are required to provide proof of vaccination of at least one dose of the Covid-19 vaccine by September 27.
  • Hawaii Governor asked tourists to stay away from the Islands amid a surge in cases that has overwhelmed hospitals. Additionally, the Governor put limit of 10 for indoor gathering and 25 for outdoor gatherings.
  • UK scientists are looking into whether smaller doses of Covid vaccine could be used as a booster shot.  This effort would hope to free up more doses for those in developing nations.
  • The Philippines largest public hospital has been so overwhelmed by a continuous stream of coronavirus patients that it temporarily stopped accepting patients at its emergency room.
  • Greece said it would end free testing for unvaccinated people to bolster inoculation rates and slow down any renewed spike in Delta variant infections.
  • Taiwan has begun administrating its first domestically developed Covid-19 vaccine, amid criticism that its approval was rushed. It has received an emergency authorization although clinical trials are yet to be completed.