NY governor calls for bans on UK flights amid surge in virus variant in London, southern England

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New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) said Sunday that flights from the U.K. should be banned in response to the emergence of a more infectious coronavirus strain in London and southern England.

In a statement Sunday, the governor blasted the Trump administration for not implementing such a shutdown, saying it failed to learn from the initial hit of the virus in the spring.

“The United States has a number of flights coming in from the UK each day and we have done absolutely nothing. To me, this is reprehensible because this is what happened in the spring,” Cuomo said in a statement Sunday.

“How many times in life do you have to make the same mistake before you learn? The federal government is being grossly negligent just like the spring, and every day they do nothing on this problem, they do something,” he added. “It’s high time the federal government takes swift action, because today that variant is getting on a plane and landing in JFK, and all it takes is one person.”

Cuomo noted several European nations have banned flights from the U.K. in light of the new strain, including Austria, the Netherlands, Belgium, Germany and France.

Cuomo’s comments come as British Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced the nation would not be able to relax restrictions on Christmas gatherings as initially planned.

“Given the early evidence we have on this new variant of the virus, and the potential risk it poses, it is with a heavy heart that I must tell you we cannot continue with Christmas as planned,” Johnson tweeted Sunday.

Italy’s health ministry, meanwhile, announced Sunday that the new strain had been detected in a patient who had recently returned from the U.K.

Vivek Murthy, President-elect Joe Biden’s nominee for surgeon general, told NBC’s “Meet the Press” Sunday that while the variant was more contagious, it does not appear to be any deadlier.

“While it seems to be more transmissible, we do not have evidence yet that this is a more deadly virus to an individual who acquires it,” siad Murthy, who served as surgeon general in the Obama administration.

Tags Andrew Cuomo Coronavirus Joe Biden Vivek Murthy

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