Impacting Travel

Health Officials Say No Need To Ban UK Flights Over COVID Variant

US health officials have determined that it is not yet necessary to ban flights from the United Kingdom (UK), where a rapidly spreading variant of COVID-19 has been identified and is blamed for a number of new cases. in the surrounding regions of London.

Over the weekend, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo called on the Trump administration to halt flights from the UK in hopes of preventing the mutant virus from being imported into the US. Except, he requested that it the federal government at least requires passengers to be tested before flying to America from the UK


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Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that are common in many different species of animals, including camels, cattle, cats, and bats.

In a CNN interview on December 21, Governor Cuomo said: “We now have an agreement with the three airlines that fly from the UK to New York airports: Virgin airlines, Delta and British Airways … have agreed they will test people before they fly into the UK on their way to New York. ” But he also raised concerns that UK flights could land in other US states, where passengers could potentially sow a new infection.

Since British Prime Minister Boris Johnson officially announced the discovery of the new COVID-19 variant on December 19, immediately imposing a level 4 lockdown on south-east England and tightening nationwide restrictions during the festive period, more of 40 countries around the world have stopped flights from the UK and imposed new restrictions on British travelers.

According to USA Today, Eurotunnel, the rail service connecting the British Isles to mainland Europe, has also stopped service. Traffic routes through the English Channel and from the Port of Dover, used by thousands of cargo trucks on a daily basis, were thrown into chaos when France abruptly banned all travel from the UK without making provisions for the essential trade.

British Health Secretary Matt Hancock called the variant “out of control” in London and south-east England, accounting for about 60 percent of new infections in the area. The problem, according to a preliminary analysis by the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), is not that this mutated version is more serious or deadly than others, but that it is estimated to be 70 percent more transmissible than the ones. existing strains.

The Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Boris Johnson, meets with the President of the United States, Donald Trump.
PHOTO: UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson met with US President Donald Trump in 2019 (Photo via Flickr / The White House).

The ECDC said that some cases of the new variant have already been reported in Belgium, Denmark, Iceland, Italy and the Netherlands. This version of the virus was first detected in September, but only now have scientists felt confident declaring that it is significantly more transmissible than other strains. Experts therefore speculate that it may have already reached the US and say that banning flights from the UK would accomplish nothing.

The Trump Administration’s undersecretary of health, Admiral Brett Giroir, said yesterday in an interview with CNN that he had discussed the matter with the director of the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Robert Redfield, but that the agency had done nothing. recommendation to stop traveling from the UK

Giroir said US officials were closely monitoring the situation and would alter course if necessary. “Every hour we get more information,” he said. “So I think anything is possible. We just have to put everything on the table, have an open scientific discussion and make the best recommendation.”

London and Paris
PHOTO: London and the southeast of England are in Level 4 lockdown, due to the new COVID-19 variant. (Photo courtesy of Collette)

Dr Anthony Fauci, America’s leading infectious disease expert, said that based on current information, he would be opposed to implementing new travel restrictions for the British. He told CNN on Monday that the United States should “certainly keep an eye on him,” but should not panic. “Follow him carefully, but don’t overreact,” he advised.

Giroir emphasized that viruses mutate all the time, with “more than 4,000 mutations that we’ve seen so far in this virus, and it continues to essentially act like COVID-19. And vaccines should continue to work very robustly against all of these strains, “he said Sunday.” So I don’t think there should be any reason to be alarmed at this point. “

The White House Coronavirus Task Force will meet this afternoon and will presumably discuss this new development in the pandemic and determine an appropriate course of action to move forward.


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