Boosters, home testing: Biden's new COVID strategy amid Omicron scare
- Eight Omicron cases have been found in US so far
- Biden pushed to keep schools open by boosting protection for children
- Inbound international travelers will have to get tested, regardless of vaccination status
United States President Joe Biden announced new steps that will be taken by his administration to tackle Omicron, the new COVID-19 strain that has been tagged as a "variant of concern" by the World Health Organization. Eight Omicron cases have been found in the country so far.
“Experts say the COVID-19 cases will continue to rise in the weeks ahead this winter, so we need to be ready,” Biden said during a visit to the National Institutes of Health in suburban Maryland after a briefing with scientific advisers.
What is included in the new White House strategy to tackle Omicron variant?
-Booster shots for all adults
Biden is set to announce new steps to ensure that the nearly 100 million eligible Americans who have not yet gotten their COVID-19 booster shot.
-Vaccinations to protect kids and keep schools open
Biden is expected to announce that kids aged five and above to get boosted protection against the virus in order to prevent another shut down of schools across the country, a White House press release explained. The Administration will issue a new “Safe School Checklist” to give schools a clear game plan for how to get as many of their staff.
-Tightening travel guidelines
United States will tighten pre-departure testing protocols by requiring all inbound international travelers to test within one day of departure globally, regardless of nationality or vaccination status. Biden administration will also expand the requirement to wear a mask on airplanes, rail travel, and public transportation.
-Expansion of at-home testing for COVID-19
A White House press release published on Thursday explained that Biden is expected to double the commitment from September to distribute 25 million free tests to community sites to 50 million tests and will add rural clinics to the programme.
“My plan I’m announcing today pulls no punches in the fight against COVID-19, and it’s a plan that I think should unite us,” he Biden said.