President Joe Biden (right) announced that federal employees and on-site contractors must be vaccinated against the coronavirus or wear masks (Pictures: REX/Getty Images)
President Joe Biden has announced that all federal employees and on-site contractors must get vaccinated against the coronavirus or wear face masks, as the Delta variant continues to spread among unvaccinated populations. Biden also called on state and local governments to give $100 to newly vaccinated Americans.
Federal workers and contractors who do not attest to their vaccination status ‘will be required to mask no matter where they work, test one or two times a week to see if they have acquired Covid, socially distance and generally will not be allowed to travel for work’, Biden said on Thursday.
‘If you want to do business with the federal government, get your workers vaccinated,’ Biden said, referring to contractors.
The president’s announcements come as the US’s seven-day average of new coronavirus cases on Thursday neared 64,000 – up from 11,480 on June 19.
‘After months and months of cases going down, we’re seeing a spike in Covid cases and they’re going up. Why? Because of this new variant, called the Delta variant,’ said Biden, speaking from the White House. ‘This is a much different variant from the ones we dealt with previously.’
Biden continued: ‘It’s highly transmissible and it’s causing a new wave of cases among those who are not vaccinated.’
Biden also directed the Department of Defense to examine how and when coronavirus jabs could be added to the required vaccines list for US military members, according to the White House.
On Tuesday, Biden said that requiring all federal employees to get vaccinated against Covid-19 was ‘under consideration’ in light of the Delta variant surging across the US.
Biden called Covid-19 ‘a pandemic of the unvaccinated’.
‘About 90million Americans eligible to get the shot but haven’t gotten it yet,’ Biden said. ‘As I mentioned, nearly all of the cases, hospitalizations and deaths due to Covid-19 today are form unvaccinated people.’
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