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Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts says he plans to join other Republican governors in challenging U.S. President Joe Biden’s sweeping new vaccine requirement in court.
Ricketts said on Fox News Sunday that Nebraska’s attorney general has been consulting with other attorneys general who believe the federal government is overstepping its authority by mandating that all employers with more than 100 workers require them to be vaccinated or test for the virus weekly, affecting about 80 million Americans. The roughly 17 million workers at health facilities that receive federal Medicare or Medicaid also will have to be fully vaccinated.
“This is really going to create huge problems for all small businesses and for our American workers,” Ricketts said. “You shouldn’t have to make the choice of keeping your job or getting a jab in the arm.”
In Nebraska, Ricketts has encouraged people to get vaccinated and wear masks but he has resisted mandates to do either.
The seven-day rolling average of daily new cases in Nebraska has risen over the past two weeks from 715.14 new cases per day on Aug. 27 to 822.86 new cases per day on Friday as the highly contagious delta variant of the virus spreads.
Ricketts said he is focused on making sure hospitals have enough capacity to handle the surge in COVID-19 cases.
In Arkansas, Gov. Asa Hutchinson said the federal vaccination mandate hurts efforts to overcome the public’s resistance to taking the COVID-19 vaccine.
The Republican governor has been notable in working to persuade reluctant Arkansas residents to be vaccinated against the coronavirus. But in an appearance on NBC’s Meet the Press on Sunday, Hutchinson said a comprehensive federal vaccination mandate “hardens the resistance.”
The measure will be implemented through an emergency temporary standard issued by the U.S. Department of Labour’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), which regulates workplaces. The rule is expected in the coming weeks, and it was not clear when it would take effect.
OSHA can implement an emergency standard when workers are exposed to a “grave danger” and the standard is needed to protect them. This allows the agency to cut short the usual process for developing a standard, which averages seven years.
While many large employers have said they plan to comply, some businesses are also likely to sue.
-From The Associated Press and Reuters, last updated at 11:10 a.m ET
What’s happening across Canada
What’s happening around the world
As of early early Monday evening, more than 225.1 million cases of COVID-19 had been reported worldwide, according to Johns Hopkins University, which has been tracking cases. The reported global death toll stood at more than 4.6 million.
In the Asia-Pacific region, New Zealand’s largest city, Auckland, will remain in the strictest type of lockdown until Sept. 21 after the government on Monday reported 33 new COVID-19 infections. The nation has been battling an outbreak since last month that came from Australia. The outbreak had grown to 955 cases by Monday with 21 infected patients in hospital and four in intensive care.
India is worried that growing complacency as infection rates and deaths decline could lead to people skipping their second vaccine doses, leaving communities vulnerable to the virus, said two health experts briefed on the matter.
Singapore’s health ministry reported 607 new COVID-19 cases on Monday, the highest since August last year. The country’s COVID-19 cases have hit a one-year high in the recent days as it entered a phased reopening after more than 80 per cent of its population was fully vaccinated.
Vietnam’s coronavirus outbreak epicentre Ho Chi Minh City will extend its restrictions, state media reported, as Hanoi and several provinces sought an easing of curbs and the aviation authority proposed domestic flights resume.
In Africa, South Africa will ease COVID-19 restrictions and shorten its nationwide curfew after a decline in infections, President Cyril Ramaphosa said in a televised address.
In Europe, Britain decided Monday to follow other countries in offering coronavirus vaccines to children 12 and up, as the government gambled that expanded vaccination and mild tweaks to social behaviour can avert the need for lockdowns in the winter.
Vaccinations for children and booster shots for at-risk adults are expected to be part of a “tool kit” to control COVID-19 infections this fall and winter that Prime Minister Boris Johnson plans to announce Tuesday at a news conference.
Slovenia, meanwhile, will from this week require that all people who enter indoor spaces, with few exceptions, be vaccinated against COVID-19 or show negative tests unless they have had the disease in the previous six months.
In the Americas, almost 800,000 additional doses of COVID-19 vaccine arrived in Peru on Sunday, local media reported. The country’s health ministry said millions of doses are expected this month.
In the Middle East, Oman’s fiscal deficit and debt are expected to decline sharply, the International Monetary Fund said on Sunday, as the Gulf state implements a medium-term plan to fix finances hit by the pandemic and low oil prices.
–From The Associated Press, Reuters and CBC News, last updated at 6 p.m. ET
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