Puerto Rico Expands Vaccine Requirements Amid COVID-19 Peak

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) – The governor of Puerto Rico announced on Thursday that vaccinations will be required from government contractors, hotel guests and employees, and all health facility workers to control a spike in COVID cases -19 largely attributed to the Delta variant.

The order comes into effect on August 16; those who refuse to be vaccinated will have to submit a negative COVID-19 test weekly. Violators will be subject to a fine of $ 5,000 or six months in prison, with some exceptions.

“We cannot let our guard down,” said Governor Pedro Pierluisi. ‚ÄúThere are vaccines for everyone. Vaccines are the solution.

The announcement comes as Puerto Rico reports an 11% transmission rate this month, up from a 1.4% rate reported in late June.

Pierluisi said the requirement applies to anyone who works in healthcare facilities, including laboratories and elderly care centers, as well as those who are on short-term rentals, including Airbnbs. . He said government contractors who meet with officials in person would be required to show proof of vaccination.

The governor previously announced that vaccinations would be mandatory for all government employees working in their office.

Carlos Mellado, Puerto Rico’s health secretary, said the majority of cases are due to the Delta variant. He noted that 20% of current hospitalizations are people who have already received two doses of the vaccine and added that the government will only issue health certificates if proof of vaccination is submitted.

The US territory of 3.3 million people has reported more than 128,000 confirmed cases and more than 2,500 deaths. About 76% of people have received at least one dose.

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