Delta, Virgin Atlantic, and British Airways will require testing of United Kingdom passengers heading to New York, granting a request from New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo as a new, highly contagious COVID-19 virus mutation deepens global concerns.
The new strain found in the U.K. already has led countries around the world to suspend travel to and from there or require additional testing.
American Airlines is not currently flying passengers between New York and London, and United Airlines flies to New Jersey (Newark), so both of those airlines are currently exempt.
On Monday night, Cuomo requested a similar federal policy, according to 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.
Dr. Anthony Fauci told CNN that, at this point, “we don’t want to overreact” and would advise against suspending flights from the U.K. That sentiment was echoed by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Director Robert Redfield.
The virus’ mutation could be up to 70% more transmissible, Matt Hancock, the UK’s health minister said.
A Delta spokesperson told Business Insider, “Customers will be required to take a LAMP or PCR test up to 72 hours prior to departure adding another layer of safety when they travel,” remarking that Delta will work with Cuomo’s office “on the implementation of our plans as they specifically relate to our flights from London Heathrow to New York-JFK.”