Two governors announced steps Monday designed to keep a new, highly contagious strain of COVID-19 from being brought to their states or spreading within them.
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said British Airways, Delta Air Lines and Virgin Atlantic agreed to test travelers from the United Kingdom forbefore they board flights for New York. He requested the moves since the virus variant has been infecting people in the U.K.
And Washington Governor Jay Inslee announced new travel restrictions for people arriving from the U.K. and South Africa, where the new strain has also been circulating.
Inslee said he was issuing a proclamation requiring passengers who arrive from the United Kingdom and South Africa to quarantine for 14 days, including passengers who have arrived from those countries in the past few days. It also encourages those people to get tested for the virus.
The quarantine is mandatory and although it’s legally enforceable, Inslee said no one will be taken into custody over it.
At least 40 countries have taken, closing borders, cutting off trade routes and restricting travel, resulting in chaotic scenes at airports and on the roads.
On Monday night, Cuomo called for a federal policy to try to keep the mutated strain from being brought to New York from other states, reports CBS New York.
“Yes, the people who now fly into New York will be negative, but we’ll have flights into Chicago, we’ll have flights into other parts of the country, and then those people can get on flights and come back to New York or infect other states. And this whole notion that any one state can protect itself was foolish from the beginning,” Cuomo said.
Earlier in the day, the governor sounded the alarm.
“This is a major problem. And for us to once again be incompetent as a federal government and take no action is just not a viable option for us in New York,” Cuomo said.
Cuomo added that he believes the new strain of the virus is already in New York, but he’s hoping new travel restrictions would prevent another outbreak like what New York experienced in the spring, when the virus entered the state from Europe without any warning.