President Joe Biden on Thursday tightened the mask wearing rules and ordered quarantine for people flying into the United States, as he got to work on tackling the coronavirus pandemic on his first full day in power.
Washington DC: In addition to requiring a test before they fly, travellers to the US will need to quarantine upon arrival, US President Joe Biden said Thursday as he announced a raft of measures aimed at containing the spread of Covid-19.
"In addition to wearing masks, everyone flying to the United States from another country will need to test before they get on that plane, before they depart, and quarantine when they arrive in America," said Biden.
Signing 10 executive orders in the White House, Biden told the nation that the Covid-19 deaths would likely rise from 400,000 to half a million next month -- and that drastic action was needed.
"We're in a national emergency. It's time we treated it like one," he said, adding that he wants to restore public trust in the wake of the divisive Donald Trump era.
Biden's other orders included reenergizing a so far stumbling vaccination program and expanding requirements to wear masks on public transport.
Wearing masks "has become a partisan issue, unfortunately, but it's a patriotic act," Biden said in a marked contrast to Trump, who for months gave mixed messages about whether or not to encourage the practice.
Biden has announced a goal of 100 million vaccines administered in 100 days, with his top experts saying it remains possible. So far, only 16.5 million doses have been injected.
When asked Thursday if he had been ambitious enough, Biden shot back: "When I announced it, you all said it's not possible. Come on, give me a break, man."
Biden said the administration was expanding places where Americans will be able to get their doses, with new community centers and extra medical staff to administer the vaccine.
He has also restored top infectious diseases doctor Anthony Fauci to a leading, visible advisory role in the White House, after Trump complained about the expert's warnings on Covid.
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Last Updated Jan 22, 2021, 11:15 AM IST