The Biden administration seems to be scrambling to contain the virus as the new variant brings new worries to the table. In a new development, CDC has announced stricter Covid testing for air travelers, as well as other people entering the country via road.
The announcement has come soon after the World Health Organization announced the new variant of Covid-19, ‘Omicron’. All air travelers are now required to show a negative COVID-19 test carried out within one day of their departure date. The previous policy gave a margin of 3 days for travelers to get their negative Covid test submitted before the departure date.
The statement issued by the agency confirmed, “as we learn more about the Omicron variant; a revised order would shorten the timeline for required testing for all international air travelers to one day before departure to the United States,” This would include another test to be submitted after someone’s arrival, adding to the stricter Covid testing, “travelers should get a COVID-19 viral test 3-5 days after arrival, post-travel quarantine for any unvaccinated travelers.”
Rochelle Walensky, the CDC director commented on the stricter Covid testing saying the agency, “is evaluating how to make international travel as safe as possible, including pre-departure testing closer to the time of flight and considerations around additional post-arrival testing and self-quarantines.”
The rising cases in the country were alarming enough, the new variant has added pressure on healthcare professionals and lawmakers to contain the virus. These stricter Covid testing are just one measure, the current administration is trying to ensure a holistic approach to contain the spread of the virus.
The Biden administration had issued vaccine mandates that would help vaccinate millions of healthcare workers, as they are at the forefront of the health crisis. But these efforts are not always welcomed as a large part of both people and institutions are anti-vax, and they continue to push back against any big-scale measures to get vaccinated.
The most recent pushback has come directly from the federal judges who have blocked the Biden administration’s attempt to regulate and implement vaccine mandates that would get the nearly 2 million unvaccinated healthcare workers to get vaccinated.
Two federal judges including, U.S. District Judge Terry Doughty in Monroe, Louisiana, and Judge Matthew Schelp in St. Louis, have both in separate rulings, blocked the vaccine mandates. With Judge Doughty saying, “There is no question that mandating a vaccine to 10.3 million healthcare workers is something that should be done by Congress, not a government agency,”
With Judge Schelp remarking how big the decision is, “Congress did not clearly authorize CMS to enact this politically and economically vast, federalism-altering, and boundary-pushing mandate, which Supreme Court precedent requires.”