A new strain of COVID-19 was identified last week in the UK and other countries across the globe. According to health officials, the new-found variant is highly contagious, up to 70% more than the original strain, though it reportedly does not differ in death rates. As a precaution, many nations have imposed travel bans on the country.
Governor of New York Andrew Cuomo has urged the US federal government to stop all travel from the UK completely, or at least impose a mandatory requirement of pre-boarding testing for airlines between the US and the nation, Cuomo stated during a press conference on Monday.
The governor also announced that he asked three major airlines to add the state of New York to the list of 120 countries requiring their passengers from the UK to provide a negative COVID-19 test result before getting on a flight.
At the moment all three companies, namely British Airways, Virgin Atlantic and Delta, have agreed to require a negative COVID-19 test in a bid to prevent the import of a new coronavirus variant to the US.
“This is another disaster waiting to happen,” Cuomo said. Even though New York State is not a country, Cuomo said it’s under a public health emergency and that “incompetence from the federal government is not an option for us in New York.”
Cuomo also cited UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson, who stated that the new strain of the COVID-19 virus raging across England’s south is considered to be 70% more contagious than the old strain.
On Sunday, several countries imposed temporary bans on flights from the UK. Cuomo said that should be enough of a sign for the United States to take action. France has halted all land movement of trucks for 48 hours while the new coronavirus strain is assessed by officials. The action has raised some concerns that food shortages in the winter months could occur as a result.
Currently, cases of the new strain appearing in the US have not yet been confirmed. However, the NY governor said he believes the new variant is already in the country.
According to official data, New York State health officials registered 9,007 new cases on Monday.