US President Joe Biden announced the new steps to be taken in the country’s fight against Covid during a press conference at the White House.
Saying it is disappointing that tens of millions of Americans still do not have the Covid vaccine, Biden announced his six-point plan, which has been prepared with the aim of reducing the number of those who are not vaccinated .
The Covid vaccine requirement, which was previously imposed on some federal government officials, has been extended to all federal employees.
According to the new measures announced by Biden, employees of companies with more than 100 employees will also have to be vaccinated or take a negative Covid test once a week. About 80 million workers in the private sector will be affected by the new directive submitted to the US Department of Labor.
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“It’s not about freedom or personal choice, but about protecting yourself and those around you,” Biden said as he announced the new measures.
Biden said, “This epidemic is the epidemic of those who are not vaccinated,” speaking to those who are not vaccinated, and said: “What are you waiting for? We are patient, but we are running out of patience. Now do the right thing and get vaccinated. “
The roughly 17 million health and care workers who receive federal benefits will also be subject to the same rules.
Biden also announced that the penalties for people who refuse to wear a mask on public transport will be increased by two cards, warning “If you refuse the mask, be prepared to pay a penalty.”
BBC North America correspondent Anthony Zurcher said that “the days when Americans were gently called out for vaccinations are over, it is time for government mandates.”
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According to data from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 64% of the US population is fully vaccinated, while 75% have received only the first dose of the Covid vaccine.
More than 650,000 Americans have died from Covid-19 so far.