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British Airways agrees to require negative coronavirus tests before New York flights, Cuomo says

British Airways Boeing 747-400 with nickname Queen of the Skies commercial aircraft as seen on final approach with landing gear down landing at New York JFK John F. Kennedy International Airport in USA on 23 January 2020.

Nicolas Economou | NurPhoto | Getty Images

British Airways will require travelers to test negative for the coronavirus before boarding flights bound for New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Monday, as officials grapple with a highly contagious new strain of Covid-19 that’s spreading in the U.K.

British Airways confirmed Cuomo’s comments and a spokesman said the procedure will begin Tuesday.

Cuomo said at a press briefing that he also asked Delta Air Lines and Virgin Atlantic to abide by the same requirements.

“We are aware of what the Governor has said and will work with his office to understand the exact details the State of New York is seeking with respect to flights from the United Kingdom,” said a Delta spokesman. Virgin Atlantic didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.

More than two dozen countries have cut off flights or restricted access from individuals traveling from Britain because of the new strain of the virus.

U.S. and foreign carriers have already cut much of their international service because of Covid-19 and travel restrictions. Since March, for example, the U.S. has barred most foreigners who have been in the European Union or Britain from entering the country.

This week there are 122 flights between the U.K. and the U.S., down from 752 last year, according to flight data provider OAG.