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Fauci warns against 'overreacting' to new strain, advises against banning UK flights

Anthony FauciAnthony FauciNoem touts South Dakota coronavirus response, knocks lockdowns in CPAC speech Sunday shows preview: 2024 hopefuls gather at CPAC; House passes coronavirus relief; vaccine effort continues Underfunding classics and humanities is dangerous MORE, the nation’s top infectious diseases expert, said Monday that he would not recommend suspending flights from the United Kingdom over a more infectious coronavirus strain detected in southern England.

The U.S. should “without a doubt keep an eye on it,” but “we don’t want to overreact,” Fauci told CNN.

"Follow it carefully, but don't overreact to it," he added.

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Adm. Brett Giroir, the White House coronavirus testing czar, also told CNN that travel restrictions came up during a discussion late Sunday with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Director Robert RedfieldRobert RedfieldFauci defends Birx: 'She had to live in the White House' US considering mandatory COVID-19 tests for domestic flyers, CDC official says CDC gets a second opinion: Seven steps to heal our COVID-19 response MORE.

"I think we're waiting for CDC kind of recommendations. Last night, talking to Dr. RedfieldRobert RedfieldFauci defends Birx: 'She had to live in the White House' US considering mandatory COVID-19 tests for domestic flyers, CDC official says CDC gets a second opinion: Seven steps to heal our COVID-19 response MORE, there was not a recommendation for that. Again, every hour we get more information. I think, as we have done and we need to do, we need to listen to the best experts," Giroir said Monday morning.

Asked later if restrictions are on the table, Giroir replied: "I think everything is possible. We just need to put everything on the table, have an open scientific discussion and make a best recommendation.” 

Fauci’s and Giroir’s comments come as numerous European nations have announced restrictions on travel to and from the U.K. in light of the new strain. Other countries imposing restrictions or bans include Argentina, France, Canada, Ireland, Chile, Colombia, Hong Kong, Estonia, Poland, Norway, Turkey and Latvia.

New York Gov. Andrew CuomoAndrew CuomoNY billboard calls for Cuomo's impeachment amid controversies On The Trail: Cuomo and Newsom — a story of two embattled governors Stefanik renews call for Cuomo to resign amid new sexual harassment accusation MORE (D) and New York Mayor Bill de BlasioBill de BlasioDe Blasio calls for investigation into former aide's claims against Cuomo The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by The AIDS Institute - Finger-pointing on Capitol riot; GOP balks at Biden relief plan New Yorkers should double mask until at least June, de Blasio says MORE (D) have both called on the federal government to ban travel from the U.K. as well.

“Why don’t we act intelligently for a change?” Cuomo asked during a press briefing Monday, echoing an earlier statement from his office. “Why don’t we mandate testing before people get on the flight or halt the flights from the U.K. now? Many other countries have done this.”