Biden vows immediate, science-based action on virus

WILMINGTON, UNITED STATES (AFP) – United States (US) President-elect Joe Biden vowed on Saturday immediate action to contain the US’ coronavirus crisis, signalling science would dominate the national response once US President Donald Trump leaves the White House.

Biden’s pledge, in his first national address since defeating Trump, followed three days of record infections in the US and came as the nation’s death toll surpassed 237,000.

Europe’s second-wave woes also deepened, with Greece becoming the latest European nation to enter a lockdown on Saturday and Poland introducing new restrictions on people’s movement.

In France, where a dramatic increase in infections has heaped pressure on hospitals, 306 new confirmed fatalities took the national death toll above 40,000.

The US has long been the worst-hit nation.

Critics of Trump have blamed this on his chaotic response, which has seen him discredit the top US infectious disease expert, discourage face masks and speak at crowded campaign rallies.

At Biden’s victory event, which took into account social-distancing guidelines, the president-elect announced top scientists would be appointed to his coronavirus task force today.

“On Monday I will name a group of leading scientists and experts as transition advisors to help take the Biden-Harris plan and convert it into an actual blueprint that will start on January 20, 2021,” Biden told supporters.

Earlier in the day, he had emphasised the urgency he placed on beating the pandemic.

United States President-elect Joe Biden in Wilmington, Delaware. PHOTO: AFP