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Joe Biden Set To Announce New Travel Requirements, Expanded At-Home Covid Testing As White House Grapples With Omicron Variant

Joe Biden Set To Announce New Travel Requirements, Expanded At-Home Covid Testing As White House Grapples With Omicron Variant

Joe Biden will deliver a speech from the White House later on Thursday in which he will announce a Covid-19 strategy during the winter months, with a resurgence looming following the discovery of the Omicron variant.


Under the plan, all international travelers to the United States will be required to test within one day of departure, regardless of nationality or vaccination status. The administration last month implemented vaccination requirements for those coming to the U.S.


Another aspect of the plan will be to expand the availability of at-home testing, with a requirement that insurers reimburse their customers for the cost of at-home tests. The rapid at-home tests also will be distributed to those not insured at community clinics and health centers.

The administration also will make a P.R. push to encourage those who are vaccinated to get booster shots, with expanded availability at pharmacies. The Centers for Disease Control updated its guidance earlier this week to recommend that all adults get boosters.


“This effort will put a special focus on seniors who are the most vulnerable, including seniors from communities of color and seniors from underserved communities,” according to the White House. “The campaign will feature paid advertising across multiple channels, engagement with community organizations, robust stakeholder outreach, and earned media campaigns.”


The administration also announced the extension of a mask requirement on public transportation and air and rail travel through March 18.


A senior administration official told reporters that they are not announcing any new requirements for testing and quarantining after travelers arrive in the U.S., after reports that such a plan was under consideration. “If additional measures are recommended, if additional measures can be implemented well and are effective, we won’t hesitate to take them,” the official said.


MORE TO COME…