Interfor’s Weekly Security & Covid Digest-September 21, 2021
Global Security Matters
- The French government recalled its ambassadors to the US and Australia over a new national security deal. The security endeavor known as AUKUS hopes to enhance alliances to meet emerging threats in the Indo-Pacific. The deal resulted in Australia scrapping a $90 billion contract signed with France in 2016.
- Taiwan welcomed support from major allies after a US-Australia ministerial forum promised stronger ties and the EU called for a bilateral trade deal. China’s president, Xi Jinping, promised to resist “interference from external forces.”
- Emergency software patches to phones and computers are becoming more common. Project Zero, a Google team is devoted to identifying and cataloging major security flaws in devices, has already tallied 44 this year. This is a sharp rise from the 25 total of last year.
- New satellite images show North Korea is ramping up its nuclear weapons program through the expansion of a uranium-enrichment plant. The news comes two weeks after the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) found North Korea had restarted its nuclear reactor.
Total Deaths: 4 , 702 , 286 ( 676,268 in United States) Full Vaccinations Administered: 2.51 b illion, globally (United States: 182 M – 55.4 % of population)
- US land border restrictions on non-essential travel from Canada and Mexico have been extended again through October 21.
- The US is opening travel to foreign visitors who are fully vaccinated in early November, including those currently affected by the travel ban. Travelers will need to show proof of vaccination prior to boarding planes and a negative Covid test will be required within three days of departure.
- All adults regularly in public and private or day care centers in Washington, DC must be vaccinated by November 1. The city’s mayor announced there will be no testing option.
- New York City will start conducting weekly random Covid tests of unvaccinated students.
- Johnson & Johnson released new data showing a booster dose of its vaccine given two months after the first shot provides 94% protection against moderate to severe Covid-19 symptoms.
- American Samoa reported its first case of Covid-19 on Friday. The case was of an infected traveler who flew on the first day of newly resumed commercial flight from Hawaii to Samoa.
- The Czech Republic began offering a third dose of the Covid vaccine amid a rise in infections. The booster shot is for anyone older than 60, health workers and other vulnerable groups.
- Greece will make a Covid-19 booster vaccine available to doctors and other medical staff in the coming weeks after already recommending a booster shot for vulnerable groups with underlying conditions and individuals over the age of 60.
- India, the world’s largest vaccine producer, will resume exports and donations of surplus Covid vaccines in October after pausing due to a surge of Covid in the country.