Biden to sign ten executive orders to tackle COVID-19
Washington – President Joe Biden is set to sign ten executive orders to boost the fight against COVID-19 which has ravaged the United States.
Vaccination will be accelerated and testing increased. Emergency legislation will be used to increase production of essentials like masks.
In a break with former President Donald Trump, the policy stresses a national strategy rather than relying on states to decide what is best.
The moves comes a day after Biden was sworn in as the 46th president.
The Trump administration was widely accused of failing to get to grips with the pandemic.
In terms of total deaths from coronavirus (COVID-19), the US is the worst-hit country with more than 406 000 lives lost, according to Johns Hopkins University. Nearly 24.5 million have been infected.
What’s in the plan?
In his inauguration speech, Biden warned that the coronavirus pandemic in the US was entering its “deadliest period”.
Biden’s Covid-19 task force co-ordinator, Jeff Zients, told reporters that under Trump there was no strategy at federal level and a comprehensive approach was lacking.
“As President Biden steps into office today, that all changes,” he said.
The plan itself says: “The National Strategy provides a roadmap to guide America out of the worst public health crisis in a century.”
The aim is to give 100 million vaccine doses by the end of April, and reopen most schools safely within 100 days.
Vaccine centres will be established at stadiums and community facilities.
There will be more funding for state and local officials to help tackle the pandemic, and a new office will be established to co-ordinate the national response.
The Defense Production Act will be used to speed up production of personal protective equipment and essential supplies needed for vaccine production. Trump used the same piece of legislation to compel the production of items in short supply last year. (BBC)