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

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Updated Jul 10, 2020 - Health

U.S. coronavirus updates

Data: The COVID Tracking Project; Map: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

South Carolina restaurants and bars will have to close alcohol sales by 11 p.m., beginning Saturday, under an order issued Friday by Gov. Henry McMaster.

The big picture: The U.S. had another record single-day spike of 63,200 new coronavirus cases from Thursday. COVID-19 cases in South Carolina have increased, with 21,560 cases recorded in the last two weeks.

Defense Department produces list of Chinese military-linked companies

The logo of Chinese company Huawei. Photo: Daniel Leal-Olivas/AFP/Getty Images

The Defense Department is making public for the first time a list of Chinese companies that are operating in the U.S. and are tied to the Chinese military. The list, obtained by Axios, includes Huawei, Hangzhou Hikvision, China Railway Construction Corporation, and China Telecommunications Corporation.

Why it matters: President Trump has the authority to invoke emergency economic powers, including sanctions, against the 20 companies on the list.

Trump's national security adviser to hit China in Arizona speech

Photo: Alex Wong/Getty Images

President Trump's national security adviser Robert O'Brien will lambast China's leadership in a speech tomorrow in Arizona, one day after President Trump visits the crucial battleground state to promote his border wall.

What we're hearing: O'Brien's speech "will focus on the challenge presented by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) to American values and the values of democratic societies around the world," a senior administration official familiar with his prepared remarks tells Axios.