Puerto Rico orders government workers to get vaccinated

SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico (AP) — Puerto Rico’s governor announced Wednesday that all public employees must be vaccinated against the coronavirus starting next month as the U.S. territory reports a new rise in cases.

The executive order goes into effect Aug. 16 with few exceptions. Those who refuse to get inoculated will be required to submit a negative virus test weekly. If an employee refuses to get tested, they will be forced to use their vacation days and eventually may not be paid, Gov. Pedro Pierluisi said.

“To finish defeating the pandemic, this is the step to follow,” he said. “Vaccination is the solution.”

Some 27,000 government employees are affected by the order, which comes a day after Pierluisi ordered that masks once again be worn indoors.

The island of 3.3 million people has reported more than 124,000 confirmed coronavirus cases and more than 2,500 deaths related to COVID-19. More than 76% of the population has received at least a first vaccine dose.

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