US will not impose Covid screenings for flights from UK

US will not impose Covid-19 screenings for flights from Britain

Over 50 countries have suspended travel with the UK so far

Passengers arrive on a flight from London amid new restrictions to prevent the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) at JFK International Airport. Credit: Reuters Photo

The US government does not intend to impose Covid-19 screenings for passengers travelling from Britain after the emergence of a highly infectious new coronavirus variant there, people briefed on the decision said.

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White House coronavirus task force members backed requiring negative pre-flight tests after a meeting on Monday, but the Trump administration has decided not to take any action for the time being, the people said.

Much of the world shut their borders to Britain after the discovery of a mutated variant of the novel coronavirus, though the European Union recommended on Tuesday that members roll back sweeping closures to allow freight to resume and people to return home for Christmas.

Several airlines are requiring New York-arriving passengers from the UK to get negative Covid-19 tests within 72 hours of departure after a request from the state's governor.

The Trump administration has repeatedly refused to issues mandates for many federal Covid-19 safety policies for air travel, making only strong recommendations on issues such as mask-wearing. President-elect Joe Biden has vowed to mandate masks in interstate air, bus and train travel after taking office on Jan. 20.