Home / News / World /  US to deploy military personnel to fight Omicron, if needed

In its efforts to tackle the surging cases of the Omicron coronavirus variant, the Biden administration has planned to distribute 500 million free Covid-19 tests, increase vaccination capacity and mobilize military medical personnel if needed, reported news agency AFP, quoting officials, on Tuesday.

"We have the tools to get through this wave," the official said, adding there are no plans to impose new restrictions.

If Americans "are vaccinated and follow the precautions that we all know well, especially masking when traveling, they should feel comfortable celebrating Christmas and the holidays," he said.

"There is no need to lock down our schools, nor our economy," the official said.

US govt's response to Omicron

With the holiday travel season already begun, new Covid-19 cases are surging in the United States, prompting local and federal officials to again confront just how far to go to combat the virus.

The Joe Biden administration's response to managing Omicron is based on three principles -- more hospital resources, more testing and more vaccines.

The federal government will mobilize 1,000 doctors, nurses and military medical personnel across the country as needed in January and February.

Washington is already sending additional emergency teams to the states of Michigan, Indiana, Wisconsin, Arizona, New Hampshire and Vermont.

The government is also preparing emergency transport and equipment, including protective gear and respirators, for hospitals that may need them.

"We're prepared for what we think will be an increase in unvaccinated hospitalizations in the coming months," the official said.

Further, the administration has also decided to purchase 500 million at-home rapid tests to ensure proper screening for Covid-19. The Covid tests will be delivered free of charge to Americans who request them via a dedicated website, starting in January.

The government is promising to open new vaccination centers.

"We should take Omicron seriously, but this is a cause for concern, not a cause for panic," the official said, echoing a sentiment often stressed by Biden.

The president has attempted to impose vaccine mandates on private businesses and federal employees but has resorted in recent weeks to little more than publicly beseeching people to get their shots.

He has also decided not to impose further restrictions for the time being, such as by imposing regulations on domestic flights.

Shows and sporting events are increasingly getting canceled in the United States, while some cities such as Boston are implementing beefed up health protocols.

In some areas, schools have decided to temporarily switch to virtual learning after the winter vacation.

With inputs from news agencies.


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