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White House limiting size of gatherings amid omicron wave

The White House is at present limiting gatherings on the complicated to below 30 individuals amid the surge in COVID-19 instances because of the wave of the omicron coronavirus variant, White House press secretary Jen PsakiJen PsakiUS appears to be like to keep at bay Ukraine battle in talks with Russia Overnight Health Care — Insurance will quickly cowl COVID-19 assessments Democrats face second of reality in filibuster combat   MORE stated Tuesday. 

Psaki informed reporters aboard Air Force One that the coverage has been put in place “over the last several weeks” and will stay “for this era of time.”

Psaki additionally stated the White House has continued to stick to different strict protocols designed to forestall the unfold of COVID-19 amongst these within the West Wing, akin to testing people who find themselves anticipated to return in shut contact with President BidenJoe BidenBiden coronavirus vaccine-or-test mandate goes into impact On the Money — Democrats develop much less assured in Manchin Fed Vice Chair Clarida to resign over pandemic inventory trades MORE and Vice President Harris.  

Psaki stated that the White House is strictly imposing a masks requirement for the West Wing that extends to officers who’re of their places of work, except they’re alone. Video calls are additionally generally held in lieu of in-person conferences, Psaki stated, although she famous that coverage has been in place for months.

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“We already had very strict precautions in place long before omicron,” Psaki stated. “We have continued those and of course we will continue to build on those.”  

Cases in Washington, D.C., and different components of the nation have skyrocketed over the past month because the omicron variant unfold all through the United States. The improve in instances has induced some disruptions to enterprise operations and colleges.  

On Capitol Hill, Democrats are restoring social distancing protocols for flooring votes and urging lawmakers to make use of K95 or N95 masks, which provide extra safety than material masks.  

Biden has not held a big occasion on the White House in a number of weeks, and the White House additionally in the reduction of Christmas celebrations on the finish of the yr, opting to carry vacation excursions as an alternative of conventional events.  

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The White House Correspondents’ Association additionally briefly decreased capability within the White House briefing room to 14 journalists because of the COVID-19 spike initially of the month.  

Still, Psaki’s feedback Tuesday had been the primary time that the White House disclosed a coverage change for bigger gatherings throughout the omicron wave.  

The White House is topic to Biden’s coronavirus vaccine requirement for federal employees and has reached one hundred pc compliance with the rule, a White House official stated final week.  

The COVID-19 vaccines shield towards extreme sickness or dying from the virus, together with the omicron variant, however the virus has nonetheless resulted in breakthrough instances amongst vaccinated people.  

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A handful of Biden administration officers have reported testing constructive for the virus for the reason that begin of the administration, together with Psaki and extra just lately Defense Secretary Lloyd AustinLloyd AustinOvernight Defense & National Security — US, Russia have face-to-face sit down Fight over vaccine mandate for National Guard rages The Hill’s Morning Report – Presented by Altria – Democrats eye similar performs hoping for higher outcomes MORE.   

A White House aide who had traveled with Biden subsequently examined constructive final month. Biden, who’s vaccinated and has acquired a booster shot, later examined detrimental for the virus. 

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