Airline passengers heading to the U.S. from the UK must test negative for COVID-19 before departure, the Centers for Disease Control said late Thursday. This comes following the discovery of a new variant of the coronavirus that may be up to 70% more transmissible and is spreading in Britain and elsewhere.
Airline passengers from the United Kingdom will need to get negative COVID-19 tests within three days of their trip and provide the results to the airline, the CDC said in a statement. If a passenger chooses not to take a test, the airline must deny boarding to the passenger. The agency said the order will be signed today, December 25, and go into effect on Monday.
Last weekend, Britain’s Prime Minister Boris Johnson said while the new variant of the virus appeared to spread more easily, he stressed “there’s no evidence to suggest it is more lethal or causes more severe illness,” or that vaccines will be less effective against it.
This week, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo clinched an unusual agreement with three airlines with flights from London to New York – Delta, British Airways and Virgin Atlantic — which agreed to test passengers flying from the UK to New York. On Thursday, United Airlines agreed to do the same for its flights to Newark, NJ.
More than 40 countries have restricted travel from the UK, and in some cases, also travel from other countries that have documented cases with the variant since it was discovered.
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