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Catch up on coronavirus stories and special reports, curated by Mike Allen everyday

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Combination images of Madeleine Albright, secretary of state in the Clinton administration, and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush. Photos: David M. Russell/CBS via Getty Images and Getty Images

Liberal democracy is at risk from the coronavirus pandemic, warns an open letter signed by prominent figures including former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, ex-Trump national security adviser H.R. McMaster and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush (R).

Details: The letter, also signed by Nobel Prize winners and current and former leaders from around the world, notes democratically elected governments are "amassing emergency powers that restrict human rights and enhance state surveillance," with little oversight.

"Parliaments are being sidelined, journalists are being arrested and harassed, minorities are being scapegoated, and the most vulnerable sectors of the population face alarming new dangers as the economic lockdowns ravage the very fabric of societies everywhere."

Of note: Signatories to the letter, organized by the Stockholm-based think tank IDEA, pointed to restrictions in China, where the pandemic began, "where the free flow of information is stifled and where the government punished those warning about the dangers of the virus."

The big picture: Governments across the Americas, Europe, the Middle East, Africa, Asia and the wider Asia-Pacific region have passed emergency measures in response to the pandemic. Israel, South Korea and Singapore are among the countries to have introduced "invasive" coronavirus tracking methods, per the New York Times.

  • Authorities in China, Egypt, Turkey, Bangladesh, Thailand, Cambodia and Bolivia have censored during the outbreak critics, who live under the threat of arrest or who have been detained, according to Human Rights Watch.
  • Meanwhile, the U.S., EU states and the U.K. have "increased collection of visa and immigrant data and counter-terrorism powers," Reuters notes.

Read the letter in full via DocumentCloud:

Go deeper: Coronavirus is being used to suppress press freedoms globally

Go deeper

Sep 2, 2020 - World

Thailand goes 100 days with no local coronavirus cases

Thai students wear face masks and sit at desks with plastic screens used for social distancing at the Wat Khlong Toey School in Bangkok, Thailand, in August after lockdown measures eased. Photo: Lauren DeCicca/Getty Images

Thailand on Wednesday marked 100 days with no detected local coronavirus cases, per the health ministry.

Why it matters: The Southeast Asian country joins a small club of places "like Taiwan where the pathogen has been virtually eliminated," Bloomberg notes. Thailand was the first country outside China to report a COVID-19 case.

Updated 41 mins ago - Politics & Policy

Capitol review panel recommends more police, mobile fencing

Photo: Olivier Douliery/AFP via Getty Images

A panel appointed by Congress to review security measures at the Capitol is recommending several changes, including mobile fencing and a bigger Capitol police force, to safeguard the area after a riotous mob breached the building on Jan. 6.

Why it matters: Law enforcement officials have warned there could be new plots to attack the area and target lawmakers, including during a speech President Biden is expected to give to a joint session of Congress.

CDC says fully vaccinated people can take fewer precautions

Photo: Filip Filipovic/Getty Images

People who have been fully vaccinated against COVID-19 can take fewer precautions in certain situations, including socializing indoors without masks when in the company of low-risk or other vaccinated individuals, according to guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released Monday.

Why it matters: Per the report, there's early evidence that suggests vaccinated people are less likely to have asymptomatic infection and are potentially less likely to transmit the virus to other people. At the time of its publication, the CDC said the guidance would apply to about 10% of Americans.

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