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Critical Infrastructure News

The city of Orlando and its water utility made an urgent appeal Friday afternoon for residents to cut back sharply on water usage for weeks because of a pandemic-triggered shortage of liquid oxygen used to purify water.

If commercial and residential customers are unable to reduce water usage quickly and sufficiently, Orlando Utilities Commission may issue a system-wide alert for boiling water needed for drinking and cooking. Without reductions in water usage, a boil-water alert would come within a week, utility officials said.

Read more: Orlando Sentinel

China partly shut the world’s third-busiest container port after a worker became infected with Covid, threatening more damage to already fragile supply chains and global trade as a key shopping season nears.

All inbound and outbound container services at Meishan terminal in Ningbo-Zhoushan port were halted Wednesday until further notice due to a “system disruption,” according to a statement from the port. An employee tested positive for coronavirus, the eastern Chinese city’s government said.

The closed terminal accounts for about 25% of container cargo through the port, calculates security consultant GardaWorld, which said “the suspension could severely impact cargo handling and shipping.” Germany’s Hapag-Lloyd AG said there will be a delay in sailings.

Read more: Al Jazeera

The rapidly escalating surge in COVID-19 infections across the U.S. has caused a shortage of nurses and other front-line staff in virus hot spots that can no longer keep up with the flood of unvaccinated patients and are losing workers to burnout and lucrative out-of-state temporary gigs.

Florida, Louisiana, Arkansas and Oregon all have more people hospitalized with COVID-19 than at any other point in the pandemic, and nursing staffs are badly strained.

In Florida, virus cases have filled so many hospital beds that ambulance services and fire departments are straining to respond to emergencies. Some patients wait inside ambulances for up to an hour before hospitals in St. Petersburg, Florida, can admit them — a process that usually takes about 15 minutes, Pinellas County Administrator Barry Burton said.

Read more: NPR

Nuclear accounts for 20 percent of electricity production in the United States today and is therefore part of the nation’s critical infrastructure. The nuclear industry’s response to the ongoing and evolving COVID-19 crisis has been largely ad hoc, based on generic pandemic plans. From regulatory oversight to day-to-day plant operations, most pandemic mitigations have been reactionary rather than proactive. And yet, at least for the time being, the industry appears to be performing admirably under adverse and unprecedented conditions.

Our team looked, first and foremost, at the health and safety of personnel involved in the nuclear industry, from plant workers to regulators, and from reactor operators to instructors. We also considered cybersecurity in the context of massively expanded work-from-home settings. Finally, we examined the pandemic impact on the industry’s infrastructure, including fuel cycle interruptions, supply chain issues, and transportation.

Read more: HS Today