New York Governor Andrew Cuomo called on the federal government to take action in the wake of a new, highly contagious variant of the COVID-19 virus circulating in the United Kingdom. Several European countries have already imposed new restrictions on individuals traveling from the United Kingdom, including banning travelers and mandatory testing measures, yet the United States has not yet taken action in response.
The Governor called on the federal government to consider multiple restrictions in the wake of the new variant of COVID-19, including imposing mandatory testing of individuals traveling from the United Kingdom on flights to the United States, as well as a new travel ban from Europe. The Governor's office says the actions being recommended take into account lessons learned from March 2020, when the federal government was late to impose a European travel ban allowing the virus to spread throughout New York State and the country.
In a press release, the Gov. Cuomo said, "There is a disturbing story coming out of the United Kingdom of a highly contagious new variant of the COVID-19 virus. A number of countries have banned people from the U.K., and 120 countries demand that before you get on a flight in the U.K. to come to their country, you have to have tested negative. The United States has a number of flights coming in from the U.K. each day and we have done absolutely nothing. To me, this is reprehensible because this is what happened in the spring," Governor Cuomo said. "How many times in life do you have to make the same mistake before you learn? The federal government is being grossly negligent just like the spring, and every day they do nothing on this problem, they do something. It's high time the federal government takes swift action, because today that variant is getting on a plane and landing in JFK, and all it takes is one person."