Washington – US health officials say they still see no need to halt flights from the United Kingdom, even as a growing number of other countries ban British travelers amid The rapid spread of a new variant Coronavirus in London and elsewhere.
Political leaders in New York have called the Trump administration To stop flights From the UK to the US in an effort to limit or prevent the new variant from spreading here.
Canada and dozens of other provinces Announce new restrictions On travelers in the UK after British Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the Coronavirus variant could be 70% more transmissible and lead to an alarming and rapid spread of infection in London and surrounding areas.
The European Center for Disease Prevention and Control said Monday that while a preliminary analysis in the UK indicates that the new variant is “significantly more transmissible”, there is no indication that the infection is more severe. However, experts cautioned that even if the alternative was not more deadly, it could potentially lead to an increase in infections, hospitalizations and virus-related deaths.
Cuomo: Another disaster awaits
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo said: “This alternative is to get on a plane and land at JFK, and all it takes is one person.” Sunday statement. He called on the Trump administration to ban flights from the UK, or if that failed, to airlines to test passengers before they travel from the UK to New York.
On Monday, Cuomo said British Airways has agreed to require passengers on flights from the United Kingdom to New York to take a negative coronavirus test before departure. at TweetHe said New York is working with two other airlines, Delta and Virgin Atlantic, to do the same.
“This is another disaster waiting to happen,” he told a news conference on Monday.
Fauci: “Follow it … don’t go overboard.”
But Assistant Secretary of Health to President Donald Trump, Admiral Brett Gerwier, He said the CDC has not made any recommendation to limit travel from the UK to the US. In a Monday interview with CNN, Gerwier said he had spoken with CDC director Robert Redfield Sunday evening about the matter.
“There was no (CDC) recommendation for that,” Girwer said, although he said US officials would monitor the situation and could change course if needed.
“Every hour we get more information,” he said. “So I think anything is possible. We just need to put everything on the table, have an open scholarly discussion and make the best recommendations.”
The Coronavirus Task Force is meeting at the White House at 2 p.m. on Monday, and the issue may come up for discussion afterwards. The country’s chief infectious disease expert, Dr. Anthony Fauci, said he would oppose the new travel restrictions based on current information about the new variant of the Coronavirus.
Fauci told CNN on Monday that the United States should “definitely watch that”.
He said, “Follow it carefully, but don’t overdo it.”
Dr Ajay Sethi, an epidemiologist at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, said the travel ban needs to be carefully considered because it can cause fear and disruption. Such restrictions, he said, can buy time, but they may not always be effective. Note, for example, that Trump’s often-cited ban on travel from China It occurred after the virus was already spreading in the United States
But British officials said they understood the reaction to the novel coronavirus variant circulating there.
British Health Secretary Matt Hancock said the virus variant was “out of control” around London and the southeast of England.
Canada, India, France, Germany, Italy and Poland are among the countries that have banned flights from Britain. Eurotunnel, the rail service linking Britain with continental Europe, has also suspended the service.
Germany said all flights arriving from Britain, except for cargo flights, are no longer permitted to land as of midnight Sunday. In Canada, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has also moved to ban all flights from the UK starting at midnight Sunday. He said that the travelers who arrived on Sunday will undergo a secondary examination and other health measures.
Giroir indicated that viruses are mutating all the time, and there is no indication that the new variant of the Coronavirus is more deadly.
“So I don’t think there should be any cause for concern now,” he said Sunday. “We continue to monitor.… But then again, viruses mutate, the more than 4,000 mutations that we have seen so far in this virus, and it continues to behave essentially like COVID-19. Vaccines must continue to work aggressively against everyone of these strains.”
Who controls travel?
Traveling from the UK to the US is already much less than usual because Trump released a dossier Presidential Statements Series Early in the coronavirus pandemic to prevent non-US citizens from some countries from entering the United States.
The CDC and State Department can advise Americans not to travel to certain countries based on health threats or other concerns such as crime and terrorism. Center for Disease Control Currently recommended Against any travel to the UK due to the pandemic.
Trump used it Presidential authority To restrict travel to the United States, in particular From China, where the new Corona virus first appeared late last year. On January 31, Trump issued a presidential proclamation limiting travel from China, and it has been repeatedly described as a major success in curbing infections in the United States.
Trump, too Forbidden travelers from the European Schengen area, A group of 26 European countries allowing open travel across their borders, starting March 13th. Three days later, visitors from United Kingdom and Ireland It was banned. There was speculation late last week that UK ban It can be lifted soon.
Contribution: Julia Thompson and Nicholas Bensenstadler, USA Today; Associated Press