Nebraska Gov. Pete Ricketts says he plans to join other Republican governors in challenging 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.”
-From The Associated Press, last updated at 6:30 a.m. ET
What’s happening across Canada
What’s happening around the world
As of early Monday morning, more than 224.6 million cases of COVID-19 had been reported worldwide, according to Johns Hopkins University, which has been tracking cases from around the world. 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.
Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern said lockdown restrictions were working to eliminate the outbreak of the highly transmissible delta variant.
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’s health secretary said Sunday that authorities have decided not to require vaccine passports for entry into nightclubs and other crowded events in England, reversing course amid opposition from some of the Conservative government’s supporters in Parliament.
Sajid Javid said the government has shelved the idea of vaccine passports for now but could reconsider the decision if COVID-19 cases rise exponentially once again.
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 7 a.m. ET