Live updates: Biden promises full support for states

WASHINGTON -- Monday's statement by President Joe Biden included a pledge of federal support to the states that are experiencing an increase in COVID-19 cases due to the more-transmissible Omicron variant, and a run of at-home testing.

Live updates: Biden promises full support for states

Biden joined a meeting between the National Governors Association and his coronavirus response group. He said that "My message was: If you have any questions, just say it. We will be there for you every way we can."

Biden acknowledged the long lines and chaotic scenes that Americans faced as they sought testing amid the surge in cases and as they tried to gather with loved ones over the holiday.

He referenced his administration's plan to make 500 million rapid tests available to Americans beginning next month through an as-yet-to-be-developed website.

According to a White House official, the new tests will be performed using new manufacturing capabilities and won't affect existing supply chains.

WASHINGTON -- Dr. Anthony Fauci is the U.S.'s top infectious disease expert and said Monday that the U.S. should seriously consider mandating vaccinations for domestic travel.

Fauci, President Joe Biden’s chief science advisor on COVID-19, spoke to MSNBC. He stated that "when you make vaccination mandatory, that's another incentive for more people to get vaccinated."

The United States currently requires that all foreign nationals travelling to the U.S. are fully vaccinated against coronavirus. However, it has not established one for domestic travel.

Although the administration has considered domestic vaccination requirements at times, which could include proof of positive test or vaccination, two officials stated that Biden's science advisors have not yet made the recommendation to the president. Officials noted that they were not keen to require vaccination for domestic flights because they anticipated it would face legal challenges immediately, which could limit its effectiveness as a tool to increase vaccinations.

Biden's employer-vaccination requirements have been mired by legal wrangling. The Supreme Court is set to hear arguments in January in cases seeking their overturn.

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ATHENS -- Authorities in Greece announced additional restrictions following the announcement of the highest daily confirmed infection rate, 9.284, since the outbreak of the pandemic.

Thanos Plevris, Health Minister, announced that from Jan. 3, mandatory use of high-protection and double masks will be required at supermarkets and public transport. Entertainment venues will close at midnight. Capacity will be reduced to 10% at soccer stadiums. Remote work will be allowed at the public sector. Nursing home visits will not be allowed for those with negative PCR results.

Plevris stated that the omicron variant was now evident in all parts of the country, particularly in Greater Athens where there have been an increase in cases.

He stated that the restrictions will take effect after the new year because they are concerned that if they were placed earlier, it would cause an increase in private gatherings.

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