The Trump administration is demanding that travelers from the UK test negative for coronavirus 72 hours before flying to the United States, under new restrictions designed to stop the spread of the new strain of the disease.
The U.S. government announced the measure on Thursday evening, becoming the latest country to impose travel restrictions on British travelers since the discovery of the most contagious strain, which has torn up the south-east of England.
Donald Trump, the US president, is expected to sign an order on Friday putting the new restrictions in place, although they don’t take effect until Monday.
The United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said in a statement, “This requirement for additional testing will strengthen our protection of the American public to improve their health and safety and ensure responsible international travel.”
The US move comes after several other countries have taken similar steps to restrict movement from the UK. More than 50 countries have now banned travel from Britain after a warning from Boris Johnson, the British Prime Minister, regarding the new, highly infectious variant of the coronavirus.
Scientists say the new strain is up to 70% more transmissible than others and believe it is responsible for a sudden spike in cases in London and surrounding counties in recent days.
France reopened its border earlier this week to anyone who tests negative, after a 48-hour shutdown that caused huge disruption on Franco-British freight routes.
The Trump administration had already slashed travel from the UK by 90% after it imposed an entry ban in March on anyone who had been to Britain in the previous 14 days. This ban does not, however, apply to US citizens or anyone granted an exemption for reasons of “national interest”.
Some politicians have called on the federal government to tighten restrictions in recent days, either by banning flights outright or by imposing testing requirements.
Mr Cuomo earlier this week accused the Trump administration of failing to act quickly enough to restrict travel from Britain. “That’s what happened in the spring. It’s already seen. It’s the same mistake the federal government made that killed thousands of people, ”he said.
Under the new rules, anyone traveling from the UK will have to take a faster PCR or antigen test and provide written confirmation of a negative result to their airline. Airlines will be required to confirm negative results and ban any traveler who refuses to take a test.
Several US airlines had previously announced that they would impose similar restrictions, including United Airlines and Delta Air Lines.