The United States is taking action following news of a more contagious strain of the Chinese coronavirus breaking out in the United Kingdom and will now be requiring passengers hailing from the U.K. to test negative for the virus prior to their travels.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced the update on Thursday, which requires U.K. travelers to test negative for the virus days ahead of their travels.
“This additional testing requirement will fortify our protection of the American public to improve their health and safety and ensure responsible international travel,” the CDC stated.
Last week, Prime Minister Boris Johnson detailed further restrictions in the U.K. following reports of a mutated strain of the virus, which is believed to be more transmissible.
“When the virus changes its method of attack, we must change our method of defense,” he announced. “We have to act on information as we have it, because this is now spreading very fast.”
The strain is believed to be up to 70 percent more contagious, per officials.
L.A. County, which reported over 13,000 new cases of the Wuhan virus on Christmas Eve, is currently testing samples to see if the mutated strain has reached the U.S. West Coast.
“Scientists are working to learn more about this variant to better understand how easily it might be transmitted and whether currently authorized vaccines will protect people against it,” a Thursday memo from the L.A. County Department of Public Health read.
“At this time, there is no evidence that this variant causes more severe illness or increased risk of death or that available vaccines will not be as effective,” it added.
New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) called for government action this week amid the “disturbing” report from the U.K.
“A number of countries have banned people from the U.K., and 120 countries demand that before you get on a flight in the U.K. to come to their country, you have to have tested negative,” he said in a statement, calling a lack of action from the U.S. “reprehensible.”
“The federal government is being grossly negligent just like the spring, and every day they do nothing on this problem, they do something. It’s high time the federal government takes swift action, because today that variant is getting on a plane and landing in JFK, and all it takes is one person,” he added.