Governor Andrew Cuomo forcefully urged the federal government to take action on air travel from the UK, in light of a new and more infectious strain of the coronavirus emerging from the European country.
At his press conference on the Sunday, the governor said that it was “reprehensible that the federal government has not at the very least created a screening program to test for the new coronavirus strain in all passengers flying from London.
Several European countries have announced they will ban travel to or from the UK, including Belgium, Italy, the Netherlands, and Austria.
“Where is HHS? Where is CDC? Where is the NIH? This is the same mistake and literally six flights a day and all it takes is one person,” he said passionately.
Cuomo lamented that state authorities do not have the power to halt or pause travel.
“The Port Authority has no authority to ban passengers, health monitor passengers. It’s federal,” he said. “Doing nothing is negligent. It’s grossly negligent. Just like the spring. Because doing nothing is doing something.”
The new fear of a potentially much more infectious–but not necessarily more dangerous–strain comes as New York struggles with a steady and serious increase of coronavirus cases, the most since May.
According to the state, the current 7-day rolling average positivity rate is 5%. There are currently 6,185 people hospitalized, and the New York City Health + Hospitals paused elective surgeries last Tuesday in order to have as many beds available as possible.
There have been a little more than 120 deaths a day for the past several days.