British Airways, Virgin Atlantic and Delta require negative virus tests for New York flights

British Airways, Virgin Atlantic and Delta have announced the precaution for people travelling from the UK to New York

FILE PHOTO: Tail Fins of British Airways planes are seen parked at Heathrow airport, in Britain, March 31, 2020. REUTERS/Toby Melville/File Photo

Passengers flying from Britain to New York with British Airways or Delta will have to first test negative for coronavirus, New York governor Andrew Cuomo announced on Monday.

Later on Monday evening, Virgin Atlantic also joined with the measures introduced by the BA and Delta, requiring a negative virus test result from all passengers boarding any New York-bound flight.

The airlines agreed to the measures over growing concerns about the fast-spreading variant of Covid-19 that has prompted more than more than 40 countries to suspend flights from the UK.

"Starting tomorrow @British_Airways will require passengers on UK flights to NY to show a negative Covid test before departure," Mr Cuomo tweeted, later adding that Delta had agreed to the same.

"We can't let history repeat itself with this new virus variant," Mr Cuomo said, referring to when travellers from European countries brought Covid-19 to New York in the spring, ravaging the city.

Mr Cuomo also called on the US government to join the growing list of countries -- including Russia, India, Spain and Argentina -- that have banned flights from Britain.

While experts say there is no evidence the UK variant of the virus, one of several mutations, is more lethal or will affect the impact of vaccines, it may be up to 70 per cent more transmissible, according to early data.

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