Travelers coming into New York City from the UK will now be under a mandatory quarantine order, Mayor Bill de Blasio said on Wednesday.
“For folks coming in from the United Kingdom, we will have a new approach given this new strain that we’re seeing there,” de Blasio said at a press conference. “Effective immediately all travelers, literally every single traveler coming in from the United Kingdom, will receive a Department of Health Commissioner’s Order directing them to quarantine.”
De Blasio said that city sheriff’s deputies will now visit the hotel rooms or homes of every traveler arriving from the UK, where a new strain of the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus has become prevalent, in order to make sure they are isolating themselves for 14 days. Anyone found in violation of the quarantine order could face a fine of $1,000 for each day of noncompliance.
“We cannot take chances with anyone who travels, particularly people coming in from the UK,” de Blasio said.
In addition, visitors from any state that is not contiguous with New York will need to complete a health form with their contact information as well as where they are staying, and then complete a 14-day quarantine. Those who fail to meet the quarantine requirement will also be fined by $1,000 per day.
“We don’t want to penalize people. Everyone’s been through hell this year,” de Blasio said. “But if you don’t follow quarantine you’re endangering everyone else in the city, right as we’re fighting the second wave.”
The drastic measures come as over 40 countries in Europe, Asia, and the Middle East have banned UK arrivals because of concerns about the spread of the new CCP virus variant.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo has called on the federal government to either impose a UK travel ban or a mandatory testing of all UK travelers.
“Why don’t we act intelligently for a change?” Cuomo asked on Monday. “Why don’t we mandate testing before people get on the flight or halt the flights from the UK now? Many other countries have done this.”
British Airways, alongside Virgin Atlantic and Delta, has agreed to test all passengers boarding New York-bound flights at the request of Cuomo’s office.
Admiral Brett Giroir, one of the Trump administration’s top health officials, said that the U.S. government won’t impose any travel restriction on the UK without consulting the experts.
“I think everything is possible. We just need to put everything on the table, have an open scientific discussion, and make a best recommendation,” Giroir told CNN.
Giroir also said he is “very encouraged” that this new variant of the CCP virus is not going to compromise the vaccine’s effectiveness.