United Airlines to require negative Covid-19 tests for travel from Britain

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Earlier on Thursday, United Airlines and Delta Air Lines said they were requiring all passengers on flights from the United Kingdom to the United States to present a negative COVID-19 test taken within 72 hours of departure.

The CDC said because of restrictions in place since March, air travel to the US from the U.K.is down by 90%.

The decision follows the emergence of a highly infectious new coronavirus variant in Britain, which has prompted many countries to shut their borders to travellers from there.

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The new travel rule applies to anyone over the age of 5 whose travel originated in the U.K. Those traveling from elsewhere with connecting flights from London's Heathrow Airport, where rapid testing is available, will not be required to show negative results from a recent test.

"This additional testing requirement will fortify our protection of the American public to improve their health and safety and ensure responsible worldwide travel", the CDC said in a statement.

Under the new policy, passengers departing from the UK for the United States must provide written documentation of their laboratory test result (in hard copy or electronic) to the airline, the CDC said.

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Over 50 countries have banned flights to or from the United Kingdom, including the Netherlands, India and Canada, while lorry drivers have spent days stranded in Kent because the French government will not allow them to cross the Channel without a negative test.

Some health experts, like former FDA Commissioner Dr. Stephen Gottlieb and BioNTech CEO Ugur Sahin, have expressed confidence that the coronavirus vaccines approved for use in the United States will also be effective in blocking the new variant. Some 40 countries have imposed travel bans on Britain, leaving the island nation increasingly isolated.

France relaxed its coronavirus-related ban on trucks from Britain on Tuesday after a two-day standoff that had stranded thousands of drivers and raised fears of Christmastime food shortages in the United Kingdom.

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But the French restrictions were particularly worrisome, given that Britain relies heavily on its cross-Channel commercial links to the continent for food this time of year. Click the link to confirm your subscription and begin receiving our newsletters.

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