Biden to Toughen Testing for International Travelers to Slow Omicron

The president will also extend a mask mandate on airplanes and other public transportation as part of an effort to combat the variant

Within hours of the first confirmed infection from the new omicron variant in the United States, the Biden administration on Thursday announced an array of measures to protect Americans, including campaigns to increase vaccinations and booster shots, more stringent testing requirements for travelers entering the country and plans to make rapid at-home coronavirus testingfree for more people.

Omicron Disinfection in Florida

While some of the measures are new — notably a plan to launch “family mobile vaccination clinics,” where all eligible members of a family can simultaneously get first shots or boosters — others build on existing tactics, such as President Biden’s plan urging businesses to mandate vaccination-or-testing requirements for their employees.

Biden’s package of coronavirus strategies comes as the nation grapples with mounting infections and deaths driven by the delta variant and braces for the emergence of the still-mysterious omicron. Scientists caution that it will take days, if not weeks, to understand if the new variant can evade current vaccines or causemore severe symptoms in infected people.