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Photo: Chris Kleponis/CNP/Bloomberg via Getty Images

A Biden administration rule requiring large companies to mandate COVID vaccines for employees or impose weekly testing is "staggeringly overbroad" and "grossly exceeds [the Occupational Safety and Health Administration's] statutory authority," a federal appeals court said Friday in an order to keep the rule on hold.

Why it matters: Under the rule, companies with 100 or more workers must mandate vaccination or regular testing by Jan. 4.

Details: The U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit acknowledged the pandemic is "tragic and devastating," but said the administration has not proved "COVID-19 poses the kind of emergency that allows OSHA to take the extreme measure."

What they're saying: "Today’s decision is just the beginning of the process for review of this important OSHA standard," the DOJ said in a statement to Axios.

  • "The Department will continue to vigorously defend the standard and looks forward to obtaining a definitive resolution following consolidation of all of the pending cases for further review," the statement added.

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton called the ruling a "massive victory" on Twitter.

What to watch: The 5th Circuit will not be the only court to rule on the mandate, the New York Times writes. Some challenges have been brought in other circuits. The cases will ultimately be consolidated in one randomly chosen federal appeals court.

  • The issue is expected to make its way to the Supreme Court.

Editor's note: This story has been updated with additional details and the DOJ's statement.

Go deeper

Nov 26, 2021 - Health

U.S. to restrict air travel from 8 countries over new COVID variant concerns

A COVID-19 vaccine is administered. Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images

The U.S. will impose new air travel restrictions in response to the Omicron variant, a new COVID strain first detected in South Africa, President Biden announced Friday.

The big picture: Air travel from South Africa, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Namibia, Lesotho, Eswatini, Mozambique and Malawi will be restricted starting on Monday.

Nov 26, 2021 - Health

Fauci: U.S. "rushing" to get scientific data about new COVID variant

Photo: Tom Williams/CQ-Roll Call, Inc via Getty Images

U.S. public health officials were set to speak Friday with their South Africa counterparts as they sought scientific details about a new COVID-19 variant already prompting European and Asian countries to enact new travel restrictions.

Driving the news: Anthony Fauci, President Biden's chief medical adviser, told CNN Friday "we're rushing now to get that scientific data to try and make an informed decision" on a possible travel ban.

Updated Nov 26, 2021 - Health

Europe, Asia tighten borders in fear of new COVID variant

Passengers stand at the check-in at Frankfurt Airport. Photo: Boris Roessler/dpa via Getty Images

Countries across Europe and Asia are rushing through new travel restrictions in response to a new COVID variant identified by scientists in South Africa.

The big picture: Israel, Japan, the U.K., France, Germany, Italy and Singapore are moving to restrict entry from countries in the south of Africa, AP reports. Many are also adding quarantines for their own citizens upon return from the region.