Interfor International - Weekly Security Matters Digest - May 17

Interfor International – Weekly Security & Covid Digest – May 17, 2022

Interfor’s Weekly Security & Covid Digest – May 17, 2022

Global Security Matters

  • Russia’s invasion of Ukraine means the country has been unable to export staple items such as grains and fertilizer.  The development has caused worry among the international community. For example, India recently banned wheat sales to manage its own food security. 
  • Finland and Sweden have announced their intentions to join NATO, ending decades of neutrality.  Most NATO member nations have expressed support for the bid.  Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov called the move a “mistake” with “far-reaching consequences,” though most observers believe these are empty threats.
  • Former President of Somalia, Hassan Sheikh Mohamud, won the presidency for a second time.  He faces a series of challenges, including the worst drought in four decades and continuing conflict in many areas of the country. The Biden administration has just approved a return of US troops to Somalia.

Covid-19 Updates

Total Deaths: 6,266,004 (998,671* in United States) 

At least one dose administered: 67.3 % globally (United States: 78.4% of population)

  • Coronavirus cases are spreading across the United States, particularly in the Northeast and the Midwest, as the country’s death toll nears, or possibly has surpassed, the 1 million mark (depending on the source).
  • The FDA (Food and Drug Administration) is expected to authorize a booster shot of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for children ages 5 to 11.
  • A third round of free at-home Covid-19 tests is now available for Americans as part of a Biden administration push to increase testing capacity.
  • New York City is expected to enter the high Covid-19 alert level in the coming days, and health officials are strongly recommending wearing masks in public indoor settings.
  •  North Korean leader Kim Jon Un criticized officials over slow medicine deliveries and mobilized the military to respond to a surge in suspected Covid-19 infections.  The WHO (World Health organization) expressed concern over the outbreak. Since North Korea reported its first Covid-19 case a few days ago, the country has reported eight total deaths from the virus.  Given low vaccination rates and a poor healthcare system, North Korea is especially vulnerable.
  • The CDC moved up four destinations to the “high” risk Covid-19 level: Antigua and Barbuda, Lesotho, South Africa, and Taiwan
  • A group of students at China’s Peking University protested strict Covid-19 lockdown requirements. The government quickly moved to censor videos and photos from the site.