The second case of Omicron has been detected in the US. And to bring control to this variant and decrease the spread of COVID 19, President Biden has tightened the rules for international travellers. The incoming travellers are required to travel with a negative covid 19 test report within 24 hours of their flight instead of the usual 72-hour report. President Biden spoke about this change, saying:
‘This tighter testing timetable provides an added degree of protection as scientists continue to study the Omicron variant.”
This new change will be implemented from Monday onwards. Moreover, this rule will apply to everyone no matter what their vaccination status is or whether they are US citizens or not. While making this announcement on Thursday, President Biden also said:
“Experts say that COVID-19 cases will continue to rise in the weeks ahead of this winter and that we will see more omicron cases here in the United States in the days, weeks, and months ahead. Our best scientists and doctors are on the case and gathering data, but early indications are that our vaccines will provide a measure of protection against this strain.”
Biden Campaign to fight COVID 19 this winter
There will also be a campaign to encourage everyone in the US to get vaccinated. And if someone is already vaccinated, they should contact the booster shot so that their body can fight the virus much better. This campaign will introduce easy access to walk-in appointments for vaccination jabs. Additionally, vaccination sites will now be open for longer hours, even on weekends, to accommodate as many people as possible.
There will be no lockdown. And everyone is required to wear a mask everywhere they go until March 18, 2022. Furthermore, insurance companies will pay 100% for over-the-counter covid 19 tests. However, if someone isn’t insured, the government will provide them with a free-of-cost at home Covid 19 test. 50 million at-home tests are available in health centres to be availed free of cost by the uninsured.
President Biden also said:
“We will beat it back with science and speed, not chaos and confusion – just as we did in the spring and again with the more powerful delta variant in the summer and fall.”
Previous Rules and Regulations
Previously, only unvaccinated individuals were required to travel with a negative covid 19 test within 24 hours. Vaccinated individuals could easily travel with a negative test report valid for 72 hours. But now, since the Omicron virus is affecting vaccinated individuals, the strict testing requirement is a need of the hour. And President Biden has been quick to bring it into action. He announced the new changes an hour after the second case of Omicron was confirmed in Minosetta.
For now, President Biden has only made the above changes. But, it has been made clear that nothing is off the table, meaning if the spread of the virus is not brought under control, travellers will be asked to quarantine. And much more severe restrictions will be added.