WASHINGTON - The United States extended the COVID-19 pandemic's status as a public health emergency for another 90 days, thereby preserving measures like high payments to hospitals and expanded Medicaid.
The extension was announced by US Health Secretary Xavier Becerra on Thursday. Last month, President Joe Biden said in an interview that "the pandemic is over", which prompted criticism from health experts.
The toll of the Covid-19 pandemic has diminished significantly since early in President Biden's term when more than 3,000 Americans per day were dying, as enhanced care, medications and vaccinations have become more widely available.
But hundreds of people a day continue to die from the coronavirus in the US, according to the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention.
Mr Biden has asked Congress for US$22.4 billion (S$32 billion) more in funding to prepare for a potential case surge.
Former President Donald Trump had declared a national emergency in 2020 to free up US$50 billion in federal aid. REUTERS