To contain the corona pandemic, US President Joe Biden is relying on orders to vaccinate and increasing pressure on unvaccinated Americans.

New vaccination regulations are expected to apply to nearly 100 million private and healthcare workers, about two-thirds of the total workforce in the United States.

Biden also announced a tightening of vaccination requirements for federal employees and all government contractors.

"We will protect vaccinated employees from unvaccinated colleagues," said Biden on Thursday in the White House.

"We will curb the spread of Covid-19 by increasing the percentage of vaccinated workers in companies across America," he said as he presented a plan of action to combat the pandemic.

Strict guidelines for companies

Companies with more than 100 employees should be required to have all employees vaccinated or to be tested for an infection with the coronavirus at least once a week.

The regulation is currently being developed under the leadership of the Ministry of Labor and will apply to around 80 million private sector employees, the White House said.

In addition, all employees in hospitals and health care facilities who accept payments from state health insurances will have to be vaccinated against Corona in the future. The regulation will apply to around 17 million employees, it said. The state programs Medicare and Medicaid mainly cover the elderly, the disabled and the needy. Biden also called on all US states to make the corona vaccination compulsory for school employees and teachers.

"Many of us are frustrated with the nearly 80 million Americans who are still not vaccinated, even though vaccinations are safe, effective, and free," said Biden.

Thanks to the vaccines, they have the means to contain the pandemic.

To the address of the unvaccinated, Biden said: "We have been patient, but we are running out of patience." His demand: "Get vaccinated."

White House leads by example

Shortly beforehand, the White House had already confirmed that all employees of the federal government will shortly be vaccinated. There will be only a few exceptions for specific health or religious reasons, said Biden's spokeswoman Jen Psaki. The previously introduced option of exempting yourself from mandatory vaccination through regular corona tests is to be discontinued. Employees have up to 75 days to fully vaccinate, said Psaki. Employees who had not been vaccinated by then faced disciplinary measures up to and including dismissal.

As one of the largest employers in the country, the government wants to provide a model for all companies with the regulation, said Psaki. The steps announced by the White House would provide additional support for the vaccination requirements that already exist at the federal level. The regulations of the Ministry of Defense and the authorities for veterans already affect around 2.5 million employees, it said. Recently, Biden had repeatedly advertised compulsory corona vaccination in companies and urged employers to act.

The Los Angeles school district, the second largest in the USA, has meanwhile introduced compulsory vaccinations for all students aged twelve and over.

Those who do not have a medical or other special permit must be fully vaccinated for classroom classes from January 10, said the California school district.

The district is responsible for around 640,000 children and young people in all grades, from kindergarten to high school graduation.

The vaccination campaign in the USA is making very slow progress despite many incentives.

So far, 53.4 percent of the around 330 million people in the country have been vaccinated.

The vaccinations are approved for adolescents from 12 years of age and adults.

In the population group aged 12 and over, 62.5 percent are fully vaccinated.

Due to the particularly contagious Delta variant of the corona virus, the pandemic in the USA had recently picked up speed again.

The CDC health authority reported almost 140,000 new infections and around 1,100 deaths per day on average each week.

Biden also announced a number of other measures, including increased investments in corona tests and more staff for particularly affected regions.

In addition, significantly more people should be given free antibody treatment in order to reduce the risk of hospitalization.

At the same time, the US government doubled the fines for mask refusers in airports, train stations and when traveling on planes, trains and buses. A first-time violation of the mask requirement can be punished with a fine of 500 to 1000 US dollars (420 to 840 euros) from Friday, as the Department of Homeland Security announced. Repeat offenders would now face fines of $ 1,000 to $ 3,000. The rule therefore applies above all to travel between states that are under the supervision of the Transport Safety Authority (TSA).

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