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Joe Biden unveils new efforts against COVID-19 in the winter months
With a new variant threatening to spread in the US, President Joe Biden and his administration now brace for a possible new surge of cases, especially in the winter months. Biden is set to announce a new strategy to fight COVID-19 in the winter season.
Biden has announced a new strategy Thursday against COVID-19, including new testing requirements for travelers as well as ramping up vaccinations. In his address from the National Institutes for Health, Biden announced the actions his administration will be taking in curbing the coronavirus in the winter months. This comes as the new Omicron variant of the virus threatens to spread worldwide, with the first case in the US already detected Wednesday.
A senior administration official told AFP that foreign travelers would undergo stricter testing rules that will be in effect in the coming days. The administration official explained that travelers would have to test negative within one day of their departure to the US. This rule will be in effect regardless of the vaccination status of the travelers both US and foreign.
For domestic travelers, Biden has announced an extension of the mask mandate on planes, trains, and other public transport through mid-March.
The new steps seek to assure the public that the US leader is doing all he can to prevent the pandemic from putting a damper on the already recovering economy of the US as well as the coming Christmas season. Biden and his officials have also stressed that there will be no mass lockdowns. However, they are also aware of a portion of the public that will oppose collective action.
The US government also faces a looming deadline in funding as lawmakers are scrambling to raise the debt ceiling to prevent a government shutdown, according to Newsweek. Biden was pressed on whether he thinks there will be a government shutdown. The US leader said he does not think there will be a shutdown, having spoken to Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.
“Look, I don’t believe that will happen...I spoke with Mitch McConnell, I spoke with Schumer. There is a plan in place unless somebody decides to be totally erratic,” said Biden.