US to send 500mn free tests, deploy military personnel to fight COVID-19 surge

WION Web Team
Washington Published: Dec 21, 2021, 03:51 PM(IST)

Pedestrians wearing face masks walk past a store in Hollywood Photograph:( AFP )

Story highlights

The White House had declared earlier that the Biden administration will not be locking down the country even as COVID-19 cases continue to rise.

According to a White House official, the US will distribute 500 million free COVID-19 tests and mobilise military medical practitioners and push ahead with vaccination amid a surge in coronavirus cases in the country.

Reports say the US government is ready to provide 1,000 doctors, nurses and military medical staff including emergency equipment for hospitals across the country.

Dr Anthony Fauci had said earlier that the US government is planning to ease travel restrictions of southern African countries amid the rise in Omicron cases. Travellers from the southern African countries were barred into the country in November end after South Africa declared the presence of the new variant.

Also Read: Within a week, Omicron strain increased from 3% to 73% of US COVID-19 cases

Fauci conceded that the virus may not be "eradicated" while adding that it should not "interfere" with daily life. Fauci had however warned that the US could experience a "tough few weeks to months" amid a new coronavirus wave.

The White House had declared earlier that the Biden administration will not be locking down the country even as COVID-19 cases continue to rise. US health officials said the Omicron variant accounted for 73 per cent of new COVID-19 cases and 12 per cent of all cases in the country.

Watch: Omicron variant has spurred a new wave of infections in the US

Meanwhile, New York mayor Bill de Blasio said the city will witness "a really fast upsurge in cases" with "a lot of New Yorkers affected by Omicron".

Blasio conceded that the city is experiencing a surge in COVID-19 cases. Reports say the average daily cases has doubled in just over a week. According to New York government data, the virus among unvaccinated patients has risen exponentially. 

Also Read: China's Xi'an starts testing for millions as Covid cases surge

The seven day average of COVID-19 cases has reached 7,200 cases per day. The New York mayor said at least 80 per cent of citizens have received at least one dose of the vaccine and 71 per cent of the population has been fully vaccinated.

The authorities will be opening new testing sites as COVID-19 cases continue to rise across the country.

(With inputs from Agencies)

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