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Airlines Agree to Pre-Flight COVID-19 Testing From London to New York

Airlines Agree to Pre-Flight COVID-19 Testing From London to New York
Joe Cortez

After a direct request by New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, three international airlines say they will mandate pre-flight COVID-19 testing for flyers bound to the state from London. British Airways, Delta Air Lines and Virgin Atlantic will test passengers to ensure nobody with the novel Coronavirus travels.

Three airlines will mandate flyers take a COVID-19 test before flying from London to New York, after a new variant of the novel Coronavirus was detected in the United Kingdom. CNBC reports British Airways, Delta Air Lines and Virgin Atlantic will all test passengers to ensure everyone aboard does not carry the infection with them to the United States.

New Testing Requirements Come After New Variant Strain Detected

In order to fly from London to the United States, flyers aboard the three must present a negative COVID-19 test prior to boarding. Delta will require flyers to take a PCR test, which has become the standard when checking for current infections.

The call for testing comes after the U.S. Centers for Disease Control said a new strain of the virus was discovered in London and southeast England. The agency predicts that the variant could “potentially be more rapidly transmissible than other circulating strains” of the novel Coronavirus.

“Although a variant may predominate in a geographic area, that fact alone does not mean that the variant is more infectious,” the CDC writes in an online report. “Scientists are working to learn more about this variant to better understand how easily it might be transmitted and whether currently authorized vaccines will protect people against it.”

While research is ongoing, authorities on both sides of the Atlantic are not taking any chances on spreading the variant. In a press conference, Politico reports Cuomo asked airlines to add New York state to the list of 120 countries demanding pre-flight COVID-19 testing for outbound flyers. Meanwhile, a BBC News report says British prime minister Boris Johnson called the new variant up to 70 percent more transmissible, based on a presentation from researchers at Imperial College London.

Airlines Voluntarily Increase Access to COVID-19 Tests

As the pandemic continues, airlines are offering increased access to COVID-19 tests prior to departure, whether or not they are required by destination authorities. American Airlines expanded test access to all flyers in December 2020, while JetBlue worked with several Caribbean nations to create testing protocols with their partner, Vault Health.

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1 Comment

  1. c1ue

    December 24, 2020 at 2:48 am

    The requirements for pre-flight testing are mysterious.
    My wife is scheduled to fly to visit her relatives in Russia for the holidays. Exactly 3 days before departure, she is told she has to get a COVID test before flying.
    Where did this come from? Russia doesn’t require it. She is stopping over in Germany, but does Germany require tests for transit passengers? And if so, why not pay the 50 or 60 euro in the German airport rather than the $250 for rapid COVID testing in the US?

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