President Joe Biden is urging Americans to get booster shots and their first Covid vaccines to fight the new Omicron variant (Pictures: AP/Getty Images)
President Joe Biden in his first formal remarks on the new Omicron coronavirus variant said it is ’cause for concern, not cause for panic’ – while urging Americans to get their boosters or first Covid vaccines.
Speaking from the White House on Monday afternoon, Biden said his administration would fight the Omicron variant with vaccinations, ‘not with shutdowns and lockdowns’.
‘First, this variant is a cause for concern, not cause for panic. We have the best vaccine in the world, the best medicines, the best scientists and we’re learning more every single day,’ the president said.
‘We’ll fight this variant with scientific and knowledgeable actions and speed, not chaos and confusion.’
The Omicron variant as of early afternoon on Monday had not been detected in the US
Biden’s second point was that the best protection against the Omicron and any other variants is getting fully vaccinated, including with booster shots.
‘Simple message: If you are vaccinated but still worried about the new variant, get your booster. If you’re not vaccinated, get that shot, go get the first shot,’ he said.
Biden said he would release a more detailed strategy against the Omicron variant on Thursday that would show his administration’s plan to fight it ‘not with shutdowns and lockdowns but with more widespread vaccinations, boosters testing and more’.
Asked further about the prospect of shutdowns related to the Omicron variant, Biden tied the matter back to Americans’ willingness to get inoculated and wear face masks.
‘If people are vaccinated and wear masks, then there’s no need for a lockdown,’ Biden said.
The president that he does not anticipate imposing additional travel restrictions for the time being, but that could change based on the situation. Biden on Friday – the day after South African Health Minister Joe Phaahla revealed the discovery of the new variant – restricted travel from eight southern African countries.
Biden addressed the nation after meeting with his coronavirus advisers on Monday morning.
The World Health Organization has warned that the Omicron variant poses a ‘very high’ global risk as more and more countries report cases. The US has not yet reported an Omicron case, but federal officials are bracing for it, according to CNN.
Breaking story, check back for updates…
The Insidexpress is now on Telegram and Google News. Join us on Telegram and Google News, and stay updated.