Covid: Biden orders employees of big businesses to be vaccinated or face testing

US President Joe Biden has announced sweeping new Covid-19 measures that require workers at large companies to be vaccinated or face weekly testing.

The measures also include a vaccine mandate for millions of federal government workers and come as cases in the country are surging.

Hospitals in several states have reached capacity amid the spread of the more transmissible Delta variant.

The new requirements cover about 100 million workers.

“This is not about freedom, or personal choice, it’s about protecting yourself and those around you,” said Biden as he unveiled his plan.

More than 650,000 Americans have died with Covid-19 since last year. some 80 million people in the US are still unvaccinated.

Biden announced his plan in a speech at the White House on Thursday.

He said he had directed the US Department of Labor to require all private businesses with 100 or more staff to mandate the jab or request proof of a negative coronavirus test from employees at least once a week.

He further said that nearly 17 million healthcare workers at facilities receiving federal benefits will also face the same requirements.

The plan has however triggered an immediate backlash among some Republicans, who argued that the government should not play a role in the health decisions of individuals.

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