Covid: Biden hails ‘great day’ as he sheds mask in Oval Office

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President Joe Biden has hailed a “great day for America” as US officials said vaccinated people can go mask-less in most indoor and outdoor settings.

The president removed his mask in the Oval Office with Republican lawmakers as the guidance was being announced.

The advice still calls for wearing masks in crowded indoor settings like buses, planes and hospitals.

The Biden administration has faced pressure to ease restrictions on fully vaccinated people.

In another major step for the US in returning to pre-pandemic life, the president of the 1.7m-member American Federation of Teachers labour union called for schools to reopen fully in the autumn.

It comes after Pfizer’s vaccine was approved for children aged 12 to 15.

The US coronavirus caseload has fallen to its lowest point since last September, with deaths at their fewest since last April.

According to the new guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), physical distancing can also cease for the fully vaccinated.

Mr Biden, Vice-President Kamala Harris and staff went without facial coverings during a White House Rose Garden event to trumpet the new guidelines.

“We’re not going to go out and arrest people,” added Mr Biden, urging non-vaccinated Americans to wear masks.

His Twitter account posted: “The rule is now simple: get vaccinated or wear a mask until you do. The choice is yours.” The US president has no power to order Americans to get vaccinated or wear masks.


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