Interfor’s Weekly Security & Covid Digest-September 28
Global Security Matters
- Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced that two Canadian citizens detained in China on charges of espionage have been released. Hours before, Meng Wanzhou, Huawei Technologies chief financial officer and the daughter of the company’s founder, resolved fraud charges against her in a deal with the US government.
- Ahead of Germany’s parliamentary elections, the European Union warned Russia against cyberattacks or spreading disinformation in the 27 member countries. EU foreign policy chief Joseph Borrell said the attacks have targeted government officials, politicians, and civil society.
- A recent letter to Congress revealed that several members of the US Intelligence Community use ad blockers as a layer of security protection. Attackers have been known to run malicious ads or taint legitimate-looking ads to steal data or place malware onto a device.
- Private companies are now developing ways to make open-source intelligence, including satellite imagery, available to the public. Commercial satellites assisted in the US evacuation of Kabul, revealed drone activities in West Africa, and located hidden North Korean missile silos.
- National security advisor Jake Sullivan arrived in the Middle East Monday for several meetings regarding tensions in Iran and Yemen. According to a White House release, Sullivan will discuss security cooperation for a ceasefire in Yemen and the threat posed by Iran.
Total Deaths: 4,758,486 (690,555 in United States)
Full Vaccinations Administered: 2.59 billion, globally (United States: 184M – 56% of population)
- President Biden received his third dose of the Pfizer/BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine on Monday at the White House during an on-camera event.
- Nearly 2,200 schools across 539 districts in 43 states have temporarily closed in-person learning because of Covid-19 outbreaks so far this school year.
- In New York, 92% of hospital employees have now received at least one shot of a Covid-19 vaccine.
- Pfizer has begun a large study to test its oral antiviral drug for the prevention of Covid-19 infection among those who have been exposed to the virus.
- Pfizer-BioNTech has submitted data to the FDA to clear its Covid-19 vaccine for use in children ages 5-11.
- The CDC raised the Covid-9 travel advisory level for Singapore and Hong Kong from level two to level three, indicating a high level of infections in those countries.
- Japan is ending its state of emergency measures on Thursday as the number of new daily cases fall and the percentage of the vaccinated population increases. It is the first time since April that no part of Japan is under a state of emergency.
- Australia surpassed 100,000 confirmed Covid-19 cases as the country continues to battle the third wave of infections.
- Travelers to Scotland from non-red list countries who have been fully vaccinated will not be required to provide evidence of a negative test result before departure starting October 4.
- Thailand is preparing to reduce its Covid-19 quarantine requirements for fully vaccinated international travelers from 14 days to 7 days and reopen the country in four phases starting October 1.