US now requires negative tests from all UK travellers as mutant Covid spreads

The US has announced it will now require airline passengers from the UK to produce a negative coronavirus test before their flight to the country.

It’s the latest country to impose travel restrictions on Britain following the spread of a new mutant strain of Covid-19.

The Centres for Disease Control and Prevention said in a statement that airline passengers from the UK will need negative tests within 72 hours of their flight.

The rules will come into effect from Monday and any passenger who does not get a test will be denied boarding.

The move is a U-turn by the Trump administration, which on Tuesday said it wasn’t planning to require any testing for UK passengers.

But this week, New York governor Andrew Cuomo said three airlines with scheduled flights from London to New York – British Airways, Delta and Virgin Atlantic – had agreed to require passengers to take a test before they get on the plane.

Due to travel restrictions in place since March, air travel to the US from the UK is already down by 90%.

But since the UK Government revealed the spread of the new variant – thought to be 70% more infectious than the normal strain of coronavirus – a number of countries have closed their borders to the UK.

Prime Minister Boris Johnson said the new variant of coronavirus seemed to spread more easily than earlier ones and was moving rapidly across the country.

But he stressed there is ‘no evidence to suggest it is more lethal or causes more severe illness’, or that vaccines will be less effective against it.

Mutant Covid has since been found elsewhere in Europe and countries are desperately trying to contain its spread.

Britain has become increasingly isolated as the list of countries residents are not allowed to travel to grows daily.

But France was forced to relax a ban on lorries crossing the Channel on Tuesday after thousands of drivers were left stranded in Kent and fears of Christmas food shortages were raised.

French authorities, who imposed the ban to try to protect the continent from the new variant, said delivery drivers could enter by ferry or tunnel provided they showed proof of a negative test.

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