As part of ongoing efforts to combat the Covid-19 pandemic, the White House announced a series of new actions this Thursday (2) aimed at combating the new coronavirus and protecting Americans from the Delta variant and the new Ômicron strain .
US President Joe Biden will detail the government’s nine-pronged plan in comments at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) on Thursday, a day after health authorities confirmed the first recorded case of the Ômicron variant in the States States in California.
“While this new variant is a cause for concern, it is not a cause for panic,” a top government official told reporters on Wednesday, ahead of the president’s comments.
“We have the tools we need to tackle this strain, to keep advancing in our fight against the virus, and we’re using those tools to keep people safe, keep our schools open and protect our economy,” the official added.
The plans address several areas:
Guidance for national and international travel
Based on new travel restrictions from regions affected by the spread of the Ômicron variant earlier this week, Biden will announce new steps on Thursday to strengthen Covid-19’s pre-departure testing protocol for all international travelers arriving in the country, requiring a negative test within one day of departure to the United States.
At present, any foreign national traveling to the United States must be fully vaccinated, although no vaccination requirement remains for US citizens traveling by air, either globally or nationally.
The government will also formally announce its plan to extend the mask requirement for domestic travel, originally scheduled to expire in January, until mid-March. The order, which was already extended in early summer (in the northern hemisphere), also applies to train and public transport travel, and comes amid widespread reports of unruly passengers refusing to comply with mask-wearing orders.
Increased vaccine reach and booster for seniors and children
Under the plan announced Wednesday, the Biden administration is increasing the vaccine’s reach, including efforts, in partnership with the US Department of Health and Human Services, the AARP and Medicare, to ensure that nearly 100 million Americans eligible for the Covid-19 vaccine booster receive injections as soon as possible, including launching public education campaigns across the country, offering rides to vaccines, and boosting appointments for “older older Americans”. affected and most at risk” of the country.
The government will also unveil a series of measures aimed at increasing vaccination rates among children, in an effort to keep schools open and protect children age 5 and older.
As part of these efforts, the government will launch “family vaccination clinics” aimed at providing vaccines and boosters to entire families at once and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) offering mobile vaccination clinics to reach hard-to-reach communities .
The government is also issuing a “Safe School Checklist” so that schools can safely encourage vaccinations and booster shots and prevent outbreaks.
Biden will also announce new moves to export vaccines abroad, including an additional 200 million doses in the next 100 days, accelerating delivery to high-risk countries while increasing vaccine manufacturing to increase global production capacity.
Expanding Outbreak Testing and Response Efforts
Biden’s announcement on Thursday will also bring new steps to ramp up Covid-19 testing, including news that private insurers will reimburse in-home testing costs for more than 150 million Americans covered by private insurance.
In addition, local communities such as health centers and rural clinics will offer free testing to those not covered by private insurance.
The President will also announce the deployment of more than 60 “Winter Covid” emergency response teams available to states to combat outbreaks and rising cases of the disease nationwide, expanding a summer and fall program.
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Reference: CNN Brasil