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Warning that Hong Kong On Verge Of Large Scale Outbreak

The Deciport Daily Quick-Look: 29 July 2020

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A man wearing a protective face mask takes a photo of the sunset at Tsim Sha Tsui waterfront as skyline buildings stand across Victoria Harbor following the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in Hong Kong, China July 28, 2020. REUTERS/Tyrone Siu

Increasing security measures being implemented.

Security (Health) // BLUF: Hong Kong Executive Carrie Lam has warned the city is on the verge of a large scale coronavirus outbreak, with the strictest security measures yet being introduced.

Measures such as the banning of gatherings larger than two people and mandatory face masks will be implemented Wednesday.

Lam has claimed that a large outbreak will overburden the hospital system and put the elderly at risk.

(See Point 4 Below for Further Information)

The Daily Quick-Look for 29 July 2020

The Deciport Daily Quick-Look is your at-a-glance look at several key events and situations around the world over the last 24 hours. Each headline contains the link to its source report.

BLUF = Bottom Line Up Front.

FYSA = For Your Situational Awareness.

1. UNITED STATES, CHINA - Political: U.S. Republicans worry China might use TikTok to meddle in election

FYSA: A group of top Republican U.S. Senators on Tuesday ramped up pressure on TikTok, asking the Trump administration to assess the threat that the popular Chinese-owned video sharing app might meddle in U.S. elections. In a letter dated Tuesday, Marco Rubio, Tom Cotton and other lawmakers cited alleged censorship by TikTok of sensitive content, including a video critical of China’s treatment of Uighur minorities, as well as alleged attempts by Beijing to manipulate political discussions on social media apps. “We are greatly concerned that the (Chinese Communist Party) could use its control over TikTok to distort or manipulate (political) conversations to sow discord among Americans and to achieve its preferred political outcomes,” the lawmakers wrote in a letter to the Office of Director of National Intelligence (ODHI), the acting secretary of the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).(Reuters. See link in heading for further reading)

2. SPAIN - Security (Health): Spain travel row and a local lockdown

FYSA: Boris Johnson warns there are signs of a "second wave" of coronavirus in Europe and said the government would continue to take further action "where it is necessary". But Spain's prime minister Pedro Sánchez says the rules are "unjust", arguing tourists in most regions in Spain would be safer from coronavirus than in the UK. You can read more about the quarantine rules - reintroduced for mainland Spain over the weekend (BBC. See link in heading for further reading)

3. TURKEY - Political: Turkey considers ‘draconian’ social media legislation

FYSA: Turkey’s Parliament on Tuesday began debating legislation that would give the government more control over foreign social media companies operating in the country. Under the proposed measures, social media companies including Facebook and Twitter would be required to appoint local representatives to respond to content removal and data requests from Turkish officials. The Turkish government would also have more power to block sites or shut them down entirely if companies don’t comply with government requests. Turkish officials say the measures are necessary to stop illegal activity online. International human rights organizations have widely condemned the legislation as “draconian.” (The World. See link in heading for further reading)

4. HONG KONG - Security (Health): Hong Kong warns city on verge of large coronavirus outbreak

FYSA: Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam has warned the city is on the brink of a large-scale outbreak of the coronavirus and urged people to stay indoors as much as possible as strict new measures to curb the disease’s spread take effect on Wednesday. The new regulations ban gatherings of more than two people, close dining in restaurants and make the wearing of face masks mandatory in public places, including outdoors. These are the toughest measures introduced in the city since the outbreak. The government has also tightened testing and quarantine arrangements for sea and air crew members, effective on Wednesday. “We are on the verge of a large-scale community outbreak, which may lead to a collapse of our hospital system and cost lives, especially of the elderly,” Lam said in a statement late on Tuesday. (Reuters. See link in heading for further reading)

5. HONG KONG - Political: Hong Kong University sacks veteran democracy activist

FYSA: The University of Hong Kong (HKU) on Tuesday sacked veteran pro-democracy activist Benny Tai from his tenured position as an associate professor of law, a move he called “the end of academic freedom” in the Chinese-ruled city. Tai was a leading figure in Hong Kong’s 2014 “Umbrella” protests, which paralysed the city for 79 days as demonstrators occupied main roads demanding greater democracy. He was sentenced to 16 months in prison last year for two public nuisance offences, but released on bail pending an appeal - a conviction that prompted HKU to begin reviewing his position. (Reuters. See link in heading for further reading)

6. AUSTRALIA - Security (Health): WA borders will stay closed as Premier rejects travel bubble plans

FYSA: Western Australia Premier Mark McGowan has shut down any suggestion of a travel bubble for his state, as NSW and Victoria battle ongoing coronavirus outbreaks. Mr McGowan said despite challenges from billionaire mining magnate Clive Palmer to reopen the state, who is arguing the closure is “unconstitutional”, the Premier has said the hard border will remain because “it’s worked”. (News.com.au. See link in heading for further reading)

7. AUSTRALIA - Security/Political: Australia tells U.S. it has no intention of injuring important China ties

FYSA: The United States and close ally Australia held high-level talks on China and agreed on the need to uphold a rules-based global order, but the Australian foreign minister stressed Canberra’s relationship with Beijing was important and it had no intention of hurting it. (Reuters. See link in heading for further reading)

8. NEW ZEALAND - Security (Cyber): NZDF websites down after 'technical issue' at data centre

FYSA: The NZ Defence Force says a technical issue at one of its data centres has meant the NZDF, navy, army and air force websites have been inaccessible since Monday afternoon. “The NZDF has engineers on site who are investigating the problem as a matter of high priority,” NZDF said in a brief response to questions from Stuff. On Wednesday morning, a “Gateway Timeout” message was appearing when attempts were made to look at the sites. (Stuff. See link in heading for further reading)

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