THE US is ordering travelers coming in from the UK to test negative before entering the country amid new mutant super-strain fears.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced the new testing mandate on Thursday night that requires passengers to test negative for Covid within 72 hours of departure to the US.
Travelers coming in to the US from the UK will need to test negative for Covid[/caption]
US officials hope the testing mandate to take effect on Monday – which also applies to American citizens – will stop the new strain from spreading the the country.
The move “could potentially affect tens of thousands of travelers per month but it stops short of an outright halt, as dozens of other nations, including Canada, have done,” The Washington Post noted.
But according to researchers studying the new Covid mutation, the new strain might have already arrived in the US.
The US is now the latest in a growing number of countries to places restrictions on travelers coming from the UK[/caption]
“If I had to guess, I would say it’s probably in hundreds of people by now,” Michael Worobey, head of the department of ecology and evolutionary biology at the University of Arizona, told CNN this week.
“It’s very possible it’s arrived multiple times in multiple places.”
The new strain was first detected in Kent – and it could kill more people in the UK in 2021 than the original strain has killed this year, scientists have claimed.
Officials said that the strain seen in the UK is a “more transmissible” Covid-19 variant linked to South Africa.
Shoppers are seen here in London after the new strain hit the UK [/caption]
The new variant of the virus — known as 501.V2 — is now making up about 80 to 90 percent of new cases in Africa’s most industrialized nation.
Last weekend, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson imposed strict lockdown measures in London and neighboring areas where Health Secretary Matt Hancock said the new strain is “out of control.”
Experts have said the early evidence indicates the strain is not more lethal, and they expressed confidence that the vaccines now being rolled out would still be effective against it.
On Sunday, France announced that it was closing its borders to trucks from Britain, leaving hundreds of vehicles, mainly operated by drivers from continental Europe, stranded.
A slew of other countries have also banned or restricted travel from the UK, including Belgium, Germany, Netherlands, Spain, Switzerland, Italy, Russia, Austria, and Denmark, among others.
Middle Eastern countries including Israel, Saudia Arabia, Iran, and Turkey, in addition to several others, also restricted travel.
Countries throughout the globe have restricted travel because of the new mutant strain[/caption]
Countries in Asia, North and South America, and Africa have also restricted travel – including Canada, and now the United States.
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo had previously said he wanted a ban on flights to New York City coming in from Britain.
“If it’s here, we want to know it, we want to isolate it immediately,” he said this week.
NYC – one of the world’s biggest and busiest travel hubs – was the initial epicenter of the US’ coronavirus outbreak.
The new restrictions begin on Monday[/caption]
Travelers from outside the United States flew into largely the New York and New Jersey area, allowing the virus to enter and spread across the country.
New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy on Thursday announced that starting Monday, all travelers from the UK to the US must have a negative Covid test less than 72 hours before boarding their flight.
Last weekend, UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson imposed strict lockdown measures where the new strain was said to be ‘out of control’[/caption]
Earlier this week, Virgin Atlantic, British Airways, and Delta – major airlines that fly people between New York and the UK each day – agreed to require negative Covid tests before departure from Europe.
And New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio revealed new measures meant to protect people from the new mutant strain.
He said that effective immediately, travelers entering New York from the UK will need to quarantine by order of the sheriff’s office.
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“This will be a personal and direct order to every single one of them telling them they must quarantine,” de Blasio said.
“People are going to be held responsible,” he continued. “We cannot take chances with anyone who travels, particularly folks traveling in from the UK.”
“We don’t want to penalize people. Everyone’s been through hell this year. We don’t want to, but if you don’t follow quarantine you’re endangering everyone else in the city, right as we’re fighting the second wave.”