New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo is doubling down on his demands that the federal government step in and mandate mandatory pre-flight COVID-19 testing for international travelers coming into the country.
During his third COVID-19 briefing of the week on Wednesday, Jan. 6 in Albany, Cuomo said that with the new, more-transmittable UK strain beginning to spread around the country, it is imperative that the federal government demands testing for travelers before stepping foot stateside.
“We’ve seen many countries say that this virus has mutated (repeatedly), so any international traveler coming into our country needs to be tested,” Cuomo said. “And that makes all the sense in the world, but here in this country, we have done nothing.
“New York State took action before this country took action,” he continued. “One hundred and forty countries took action before this country took action, and now we have the UK strain, which … surprise, surprise, is creating complications for us.”
Cuomo noted that a lot of international flights and travelers make their way to their destination in the United States through area airports in JFK, LaGuardia, and Newark.
The governor also added that pre-flight testing is now mandatory for travelers coming into New York from the UK, but that he had to get that done himself, without the aid of the federal government.
“Where is the United States Secretary of Health and Human Services, or the president, or the vice president? They’re technically in office until they’re not,” Cuomo said. “If they’re not going to protect us, at least let New Yorkers protect ourselves.
“As a governor, I don’t have the legal authority to say international travelers have to get tested,” he added. “With the UK (mandate) I called the airlines myself and asked them to voluntarily do it and then they did it.
According to Cuomo the state runs airport facilities through the Port Authority, but it’s up to U.S. Customs and Border Protection to test anyone coming in from out of the country.
“We don’t want tens of thousands of people coming through our airports every day from countries around the world who were not tested,” he said. “It just makes total common sense.
“The UK strain was actually connected to UK travel, so if we had tested people from before they got here, we wouldn’t have had the UK travel spread,” Cuomo added. “It’s just good common sense.”
Click here to sign up for Daily Voice's free daily emails and news alerts.