British Airways has announced that passengers traveling from the UK to New York City will be required to take a COVID-19 negative test prior to flight after being urged to take action by New York Governor Andrew Cuomo.
The airline agreed on Monday that 40 countries around the world have banned travel from the UK because of a new strain of COVID-19 discovered there. The new strain is 70 percent more contagious than before.
Cuomo had asked the federal government to ban all travel from the UK, but after his request fell on deaf ears, he went to the airlines instead.
Delta has not yet said whether it will enforce testing, nor has Virgin Atlantic, American Airlines, or United Airlines.
It is also unclear whether British Airways will run negative tests on flights to other parts of the US or if this will only apply to flights to New York.
At least 25 flights from London to New York City are expected to arrive on Monday alone.
According to JFK's website, 24 flights were scheduled from Heathrow on Monday. There was also a United Airlines flight from Heathrow to Newark that landed at lunchtime.
A global flight map on Monday shows dozen of flights across the Atlantic, including many from London to JFK, while more than a dozen countries are cutting off the UK on the new COVID-19 variety
All of these flights are from Heathrow to JFK, and at least one more should arrive at Newark. Governor Cuomo calls for a travel ban from the UK to the US
The National Guard screened people at JFK Airport on December 21, 2020 if passengers were arriving from overseas. It is unclear what they asked her. New York law states that people traveling from other states test negative results within 72 hours, quarantine for three days, and retest negative on day four. The CDC policy for overseas people is that they be quarantined for 14 days, if they can even get into the country
The National Guard screened people at JFK Airport on December 21, 2020 if passengers were arriving from overseas. Dozens of flights are still arriving from the UK despite being banned by other countries
JFK's Terminal 4 on Monday morning, where dozens of flights were supposed to arrive from the UK throughout the day
JFK Airport on December 21, 2020 as overseas passengers arrive. It's up to them to honestly fill out test and tracking forms and then quarantine them
Currently, travelers can only enter the US with the exception of the UK or continental Europe. Generally, if a person has been to Europe, Iran, China and / or the UK in the past 14 days, they will not be able to enter the country under Trump's March Executive Order. American citizens and green card holders can return to the country.
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo is calling for a ban on all travel from the UK to the US
Once they arrive in New York, the law requires that they test negative within 72 hours of arrival, quarantine for three days, and test negative again on day four, or quarantine for 14 days. The CDC policy for overseas people is that they be quarantined for 14 days, if they can even get into the country
But it hasn't stopped dozens of flights from the UK arriving in the US every day and comes when the worrying new variant spreads.
Thirty-two countries have now completely banned flights from the UK because of the pollution, and 120 countries are demanding that travelers from the UK test negative before being allowed to board planes. On Sunday Argentina and Chile announced the travel ban on direct flights, which came into effect in both countries on Monday.
On Monday, New York Governor Andrew said the new strain is likely already in the US and "a serious problem".
He had previously asked the federal government to ban travel from the UK. After being ignored, he is now appealing to airlines to test passengers before they leave. British Airways has agreed.
He is waiting for Delta and Virgin Atlantic to agree, too, he said.
& # 39; I have no legal authority to travel internationally.
“Only CBP has that jurisdiction, that's my problem here – I can't stop flights.
“You end up on New York soil, however … I would prefer what the other countries did – stop the trip.
"If you can't do that, a negative test will be required before boarding the flight," he said.
Cuomo has not asked airlines to implement the same mandate for flights to other states, and it is unclear if they do or why they haven't done it all along.
Fast PCR testing is relatively easy to get in the UK for around £ 100.
The US still has the highest number of COVID cases and deaths in the world, but the UK has a higher number of deaths per capita. Belgium is the worst
& # 39; This is very worrying. They don't know if there is a higher death rate if the vaccine is as effective with the new strain.
& # 39; That's two. This would be a mutated virus coming back … if you think it's serious enough that Boris Johnson made a 180 degree turn and then shut down parts of the UK, seriously, my friends.
“We are informed – why are we not acting intelligently for a change?
“Why don't we order tests or stop the flights now? Many other countries have done this, ”he said.
The new variant has now been discovered in Australia, Denmark, Gibraltar, the Netherlands, Italy and Great Britain.
It's not believed to be any more deadly than the more common strain, but it's far more common and put the UK in intense lockdown just five days before Christmas.
Cuomo said he refused to "victim" New York again due to a lack of federal measures.
“If we're incompetent and don't take action, this is simply not a viable option for us in New York.
“We learned this the hard way and we won't go through it again. We were bullied.
COUNTRIES THAT HAVE BANNED TRAVEL TO THE UK
& # 39; There are three airlines from the UK – British Airways, Delta and Virgin. They bring several thousand passengers a day.
& # 39; I urge these airlines to add New York State to the list of 120 countries that require testing before flights leave the UK. My request is simple – please add New York to the list of countries. I know we are not a country, but as governor of New York State, I asked them to.
& # 39; British Airways, I spoke to myself and they have volunteered to add New York to the 120 countries that will be doing pre-boarding tests.
"They start tomorrow," he said.
Travel to and from London was interrupted on Saturday night, causing insane numbers of travelers to train stations.
No travel is allowed between England and Scotland. Much of Europe is now also closing off Great Britain.
Travel to France was banned, creating a sudden threat to food supplies and causing people to panic in supermarkets.
Trump's surgeon general and Joe Biden's choice for the position have both said they see no increased risk from the virus mutation.
"We don't even know if it's more contagious or not, or if it happens to be a strain that was involved in a super-spreader event," said Surgeon General Jerome Adams on Face the Nation.
"At the moment we have no evidence that this will affect our ability to continue vaccinating people, or that it is more dangerous or deadly than the strains that are out there and we are currently aware of."
Dr. Vivek Murthy, the election of Mr. Biden to the general post of surgeon, echoed Mr. Adams' comments.
“While it appears to be more easily transmissible, we still have no evidence that this is more of a deadly virus to a person who acquires it. However, there is no reason to believe that the vaccines developed against this virus are not effective either, ”said Dr. Murthy.
Mr Slaoui and Mr Giroir's comments followed reports on Friday that Mr Trump is considering lifting the US travel ban to the UK and Europe as early as next week.
Mr Trump is expected to approve the lifting of the travel ban through an executive order on Tuesday, The Telegraph reported, citing senior sources in the travel industry.
However, a number of countries banned travel from the UK on Sunday.
Canada announced a ban on passenger aircraft yesterday evening in a notice to pilots.
The restrictions do not apply to cargo planes or planes landing for safety reasons. This emerges from the notification to the aviators that the move is "necessary for flight safety and the protection of the public".
In the UK, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said ahead of a meeting of the Cobra Committee chaired by the Prime Minister that immediate action would be taken to tackle the backlog of trucks heading towards the canal ports.
However, he tried to downplay the potential impact, stressing that container freight was not affected by the French travel ban.
Markets fell in response to the escalating coronavirus crisis and the looming prospect of a no-deal Brexit at the end of the transition period on December 31.
Within minutes of opening, more than £ 33 billion was wiped off the FTSE 100 as the index fell more than 2 percent, though it later rebounded to a decline of around 1.4 percent.
Along with France, countries around the world announced travel restrictions for the UK after it was revealed that the highly infectious new strain is widespread in south-east England.
Italian authorities said the mutant strain was discovered in a traveler who had recently returned to the country from the UK. The French Health Minister Olivier Veran said it was already "quite possible" that the new variant – VUI 202012/01 – was already in circulation there, although tests had not found this.
Health officials across the UK recorded 35,928 positive cases – a new record – and another 326 deaths yesterday
Daily deaths in the US are also highest since the pandemic began