De Blasio, Cuomo Calls on Feds, Airlines to Implement Mandatory Tests for European Travelers

NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio at his daily conference, December 21, 2020. (Office of the Mayor)

Mayor Bill de Blasio urged New Yorkers to not travel during these next few weeks and for the federal government and airlines to take action, as a new, faster strain of coronavirus has emerged in Europe.

“In my view, it’s time for a travel ban from Europe, given what we’re seeing with this new strain,” said de Blasio during his Monday press conference. “Or at minimum, a requirement that anyone getting on a plane has proof that they have a negative test if they’re coming out of Europe. We need to be aggressive.”

He warned there maybe more  “onerous restrictions” if cases continue to rise, and urged New Yorkers to not travel, keep from gathering with family or friends, and to get tested.

The city is racing to vaccinate as many people as quickly as possible while coronavirus cases surge.

The city’s current positivity rate 7-day rolling average is 6.25%.

Later on Monday, during his own press conference, Governor Andrew Cuomo said he had formally requested that UK airlines who arrive in New York airports mandate testing for all passengers.

He said that British Airways, Virgin Atlantic and Delta had agreed to.

“I would not be doing my job as Governor of New York if I sat here and let the federal incompetence create another emergency and disaster that cost the lives of New Yorkers,” said Cuomo.

The new coronavirus strain is estimated to be as much as 70% more infectious, and he noted the British government hastily enacted a shutdown this week, and several European countries have banned travel to or from the UK.



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