Florida lifts all COVID-19 restrictions

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Miami | The governor of Florida lifted all restrictions related to COVID-19 on Monday, with immediate effect, citing the effectiveness and availability of vaccines to justify his decision.

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Ron DeSantis enacted a law ending the state of emergency on July 1 in the southeastern US state, which imposed restrictions in the face of the coronavirus pandemic, and then signed an executive order advancing the entry into force of this measure on Monday, May 3.

“This is what must be done in view of the data” available, he said at a press conference in St Petersburg, near Tampa, in reference to new infections and daily deaths, in decline while vaccination continues.

Nearly 9 million people, or 41.9% of the 21.5 million inhabitants of this US state, have received at least one dose of an anti-COVID vaccine, according to US health authorities.

“People who are not yet vaccinated today are certainly not because of a lack of stocks or a lack of availability” of vaccines, he said.

The vaccination was opened Friday in Florida to all people 16 years of age and over, without having to present proof of residence in this state, unlike what had been the case since January in the face of strong demand.

This made it possible to vaccinate undocumented migrants and led to what has been dubbed “vaccine tourism”.

Ron DeSantis also criticized the strict restrictions still in place in other US states. He suggested that those who continue to force their residents to abide by such measures indicate that they “do not believe in vaccines”.

The Pfizer, Moderna and Johnson & Johnson vaccines are available, in some cases even without an appointment, at many immunization centers, pharmacies and supermarkets in the United States.