US President Joe Biden is directing the US authorities to acquire an extra 500 million Covid-19 assessments to assist meet surging demand throughout the nation amid the unfold of the Omicron variant, a White House official advised Reuters on Thursday.
The order comes on high of one other 500 million assessments that the White House pledged could be accessible to Americans in January.
“In addition to the 500 million tests that we are in the process of acquiring, today he is directing his team to procure 500 million more tests – to meet future demand,” the official mentioned, talking on situation of anonymity.
Biden has come beneath criticism for not focusing extra on testing earlier as a part of his technique for preventing the pandemic. A nationwide scarcity of assessments has plagued the response in latest weeks in the course of the rampant unfold of the extremely contagious Omicron variant.
Biden plans to announce his order for the extra procurement in a while Thursday.
At a drive-up Covid-19 testing clinic in Puyallup, Washington. (AP)
The official mentioned the assessments could be free for American shoppers and that the White House would share extra particulars about their distribution at a later date. Details in regards to the web site that can have data on the primary tranche of 500 million assessments will likely be accessible on Friday, the official mentioned.
When the unique 500 million assessments had been introduced, specialists mentioned the White House’s actions weren’t daring or quick sufficient to take care of Omicron’s unfold.
Tests have been troublesome for a lot of Americans to search out, pushed partially by fast check provide shortages in addition to staffing shortages on the pressing care facilities, pop-up websites and pharmacies that administer the assessments. More just lately, staffing on the laboratories that course of the extra complicated PCR assessments has additionally turn into an element, irritating many searching for to know rapidly whether or not they’re contaminated with COVID-19.
While the official depend of Omicron circumstances within the United States continues to rise, there are indicators that in some areas that had been hit early on, such because the Northeast, the tempo of latest infections has begun to gradual.