Cuomo demands the federal government BAN or require testing of ALL travelers from the UK while the nation battles a 70% more infectious 'Super-COVID' as Canada and Europe block flights

 Andrew Cuomo on Sunday slammed the 'reprehensible' inaction as the United States 'continues to let in six flights a day' from Britain, where a new coronavirus strain is spreading - as more countries, including Canada, ban flights from the UK.

The New York governor told reporters: 'Right now, this variant in the UK is getting on a plane and flying to JFK. Right now. Today. Literally six flights a day. And all it takes is one person.' 

Authorities had earlier said they were looking 'very carefully' into the virus variant spreading in the United Kingdom, while indicating that a ban on travel from there was not currently in the cards.


Cuomo called the US inaction on the new strain 'reprehensible' but Moncef Slaoui, chief advisor to the government's Operation Warp Speed vaccine program, told CNN's that US officials 'don't know yet' if the variant is present in the country.

'We are, of course... looking very carefully into this,' including at the National Institutes of Health and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, he said.

At the moment, he said, no strain of the virus appears to be resistant to the vaccines available. 'This particular variant in the UK, I think, is very unlikely to have escaped the vaccine immunity,' Slaoui said.

Andrew Cuomo, pictured Friday, on Sunday slammed the United States' 'reprehensible' inaction as the country 'continues to let in six flights a day' from Britain

Andrew Cuomo, pictured Friday, on Sunday slammed the United States' 'reprehensible' inaction as the country 'continues to let in six flights a day' from Britain

Eleven countries have suspended flights from the UK amid fears over the virus variant

Eleven countries have suspended flights from the UK amid fears over the virus variant

Although he admitted that health officials 'don't know' if the mutation is in the United States, he noted the success of the vaccines. 


'I don't think there's any reason for alarm right now,' agreed Admiral Brett Giroir, the US official overseeing coronavirus testing, when asked about the new variant on ABC's The Week. 

He emphasized that researchers have noted almost 4,000 different mutations of the coronavirus and said there's 'no indication' that the new variant is 'overcoming England.' 

 'I read the British medical journals this morning, it's up to 20% of cases in one county, aside from that it is very low and we don't know that it is more dangerous,' Giroir said.  

'Up to now, I don't think there has been a single variant that would be resistant to the vaccine,' Slaoui said. 'We can't exclude it, but it's not there now, and this particular variant in the UK, I think, is very unlikely to escape vaccine immunity.'

The US currently bars most non-American residents who have been in Europe in the previous 14 days. Those restrictions have been in place since March to address the coronavirus pandemic. Nearly all of Europe still bans most US travelers from visiting, while Britain allows American visits but requires a two-week quarantine on arrival.

But Cuomo hit back, telling reporters: '120 countries demand that before you get on a flight in the UK to come to their country, you have to have tested negative. The United States does not require it.

'Now, to me this is reprehensible because this is what happened in the Spring. How many times in life do you have to make the same mistake before you learn? 

'The Port Authority has no authority to ban passengers, health monitor passengers, it's federal. Why at a minimum you wouldn't require a test like the 120 other countries, or why you wouldn't consider a ban like the other European countries?'  


Asked whether the United States was likely to follow the example of European countries that have suspended flights from the United Kingdom, Giroir replied: 'I really don't believe we need to do that yet.' 

Trump's surgeon general and President-elect Joe Biden's pick for the position both have said they don't see heightened danger from the virus mutation.

'We don't even know if it's really more contagious yet or not, or if it just happened to be a strain that was involved in a super-spreader event,' Surgeon General Jerome Adams said on 'Face the Nation'. 'Right now, we have no indications that it is going to hurt our ability to continue vaccinating people or that it is any more dangerous or deadly than the strains that are out there and we currently know about.'

Dr. Vivek Murthy, Biden's pick for the surgeon general post, echoed Adams' comments.

 'While it seems to be more easily transmissible, we do not have evidence, yet, that this is more a deadly virus to an individual who acquires it, there's no reason to believe the vaccines that have been developed will not be effective against this virus as well,' Murthy said.

Slaoui and Giroir's comments followed reports on Friday that President Donald Trump is considering lifting America's travel ban on the UK and Europe as early as next week. 

Trump is expected to authorize the lifting of the travel ban through an executive order on Tuesday, The Telegraph reported, citing senior sources in the travel industry. 

Yet on Sunday a slew of countries banned travel from the UK. Canada has joined France, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, Belgium, Austria, Bulgaria, Germany, Israel and El Salvador in banning all flights carrying passengers from the UK. 

Canada announced its ban Sunday night on passenger planes in a notice to pilots. The restrictions do not apply to cargo planes or planes landing for safety reasons, according to the notice to airmen, which said the move is 'necessary for aviation safety and the protection of the public.'

One road haulage boss told the BBC that while lorries are still allowed from France to the UK, he feared that many European drivers would be unwilling to make the trip fearing they could not get home for Christmas – meaning British supermarket shelves could empty.

He told the broadcaster: 'Just when you thought it couldn't get any worse – disaster upon disaster. I fear for supermarket supply chains. Many will be reluctant to make the crossing to UK if they can't get back given there is already congestion.'   

The Eurotunnel Le Shuttle has said that the UK-France border will close at 11pm on Sunday night and the last shuttle between the UK and France is at 9.24pm with access to the UK prohibited from 10pm.

It comes as the Eurostar has also cancelled its trains between London, Brussels in Belgium and Amsterdam in the Netherlands, starting from Monday.  

Operation Warp Speed advisor Moncef Slaoui (pictured) on Sunday said the US will not follow Europe's lead with a ban on flights from the United Kingdom

Operation Warp Speed advisor Moncef Slaoui (pictured) on Sunday said the US will not follow Europe's lead with a ban on flights from the United Kingdom 

The Netherlands was the first country to announce a travel ban, which will remain in place until January 1, its government said in a statement early today.  

France's Prime Minister Jean Castex tweeted: 'All flows of people from the United Kingdom to France are suspended from midnight tonight, for 48 hours, and for all means of transport.'   

Ireland has imposed a 48-hour travel ban on non-essential flights from Britain from midnight which includes passengers on flights and ferries. However there will be no ban or travel restrictions for passengers travelling between the Republic and Northern Ireland.  

Germany announced all UK flights, with the exception of cargo flights, would no longer be allowed to land in the country.  

Belgium also said it was suspending flight and train arrivals from Britain from midnight for 24 hours. 

Italy's health minister Roberto Speranza said an order was signed today blocking flights from Britain and preventing anyone who had been to the UK in the last 14 days from entering Italy. The order bans plane travel until January 6.  

Meanwhile El Salvador has banned travellers who have been in the UK or South Africa in the last 30 days or whose flights included a layover those countries.  

On November 25, Reuters reported the White House was considering rescinding entry bans for most non-US citizens who recently were in Brazil, Britain, Ireland and 26 other European countries.

Since then there has been no decision by President Donald Trump, but UK officials have held a series of high-level talks with White House and Cabinet officials.

The White House declined to comment on Friday.

But in an email to Reuters, a spokeswoman for the UK Department for Transport said 'restarting transatlantic flights is of critical importance to the economic recovery of the UK and the US, the airline industry and for British nationals, most of whom cannot enter the US. 

'British officials continue to pursue the resolution to this issue.'

Trump is expected to authorize the lifting of the travel ban through an executive order on Tuesday, The Telegraph reported, citing senior sources in the travel industry

Trump is expected to authorize the lifting of the travel ban through an executive order on Tuesday, The Telegraph reported, citing senior sources in the travel industry 

Holiday air travel surges despite dire health warnings
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Nearly eight million more COVID-19 vaccine doses are to ship across the United States on Monday, Slaoui told CNN on Tuesday - two million of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine and 5.9 million of the Moderna shot that was greenlighted on Friday.

The first Moderna shot was 'most likely to be tomorrow morning,' he said.

Slaoui spoke after some states had complained of delays in receiving doses of the Pfizer vaccine - a delay which General Gus Perna, who is overseeing the logistical operation as part of Operation Warp Speed, apologized for on Saturday.

'We will work and learn from our mistakes,' Slaoui said. The US government still expects 20 million people to be vaccinated by the end of the year or the first week of January.

While Vice President Mike Pence has done so publicly, and President-elect Joe Biden is to do so Monday, President Donald Trump has so far not indicated he will take the vaccine any time soon.


Boxes containing the Moderna Covid-19 vaccine are prepared to be shipped at the McKesson distribution center in Olive Branch, Mississippi, on December 20, 2020

Boxes containing the Moderna Covid-19 vaccine are prepared to be shipped at the McKesson distribution center in Olive Branch, Mississippi, on December 20, 2020

Moderna coronavirus vaccine prepped and loaded for delivery
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With vaccine skepticism a concern, Giroir encouraged Trump to do so for his own health - 'and also to generate more confidence among the people who follow him so closely.'

But surgeon general Jerome Adams told CBS's Face the Nation that, due to the antibodies the president received during his own bout with COVID-19, 'that is actually one scenario where we tell people maybe you should hold off on getting the vaccine'.

More than 316,000 people have been killed by COVID-19 in the United States, with new daily infections regularly topping 200,000 and deaths hovering at around 3,000 people every 24 hours.

With vaccines on the move there is light at the end of the tunnel - but Slaoui warned the situation will 'get worse' before it gets better, citing a surge after Thanksgiving and the coming year-end holidays.

On Sunday, incoming Biden administration surgeon general Vivek Murthy told NBC's Meet the Press that he expects the general public to receive vaccinations by mid-summer or early fall.

On Sunday the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention advisory panel said that frontline essential workers and persons 75 years and older should be prioritized. 

Around 30million first responders, teachers, food and agriculture workers, those in manufacturing, the U.S. Postal Service, public transit, and grocery store workers, have been included in the first group, after months of consultation.  

The panel voted 13-1 in favor of the move that, in all, would make 49 million people eligible to receive the vaccine in the next round.

Adults 75 and older, about 19 million people, were included as they account for 25 percent of hospitalizations and a significant share of deaths from COVID-19.  

The recommendations will guide state authorities in deciding who should have priority to receive limited doses of vaccines made by Pfizer-BioNTech and the Moderna.  

Boxes containing the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine are prepared to be shipped at the Pfizer Global Supply Kalamazoo manufacturing plant

Boxes containing the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine are prepared to be shipped at the Pfizer Global Supply Kalamazoo manufacturing plant

Pfizer has said that it has 'millions of doses' of its COVID-19 vaccine that are awaiting shipping instructions from the government. Above, workers prepare the vaccine for shipment

Pfizer has said that it has 'millions of doses' of its COVID-19 vaccine that are awaiting shipping instructions from the government. Above, workers prepare the vaccine for shipment

The group also voted on a subsequent, secondary priority group.

Around 57 million non-frontline workers, like those in media, finance, energy and IT communication industries, and persons in the age group of 65-74 and those aged 16-64 years with high-risk conditions are proposed to receive the vaccine in the ensuing round, as reported by Reuters. 

States will still have the flexibility to make decisions locally. 

Grace Lee, a committee member and a professor of pediatrics at Stanford University School of Medicine, warned that the industries chosen 'are going to be imperfect', as reported in The Washington Post. 

The 14 members of the panel have been working on how to balance fairness and speed since the wider global outbreak of the novel coronavirus in spring.

Since then they have held nearly a dozen public meetings to examine evidence to address how best to balance saving the lives of the most vulnerable against stopping the spread of the virus, whilst addressing health inequities related to race, wealth, industry, geography and more.

Chuck Schumer said late Saturday night that there will likely be a vote in the 'House and Senate' on the next coronavirus relief package before extended funding expires at midnight on Sunday.

The Senate minority leader left the Capitol around 11:00pm on Saturday and told a reporter outside his office 'we're getting very close' to a deal.

'It looks like we'll be able to [vote in the House and Senate]. If things continue on this path and nothing gets in the way, we'll be able to vote tomorrow,' Schumer said.

Cuomo demands the federal government BAN or require testing of ALL travelers from the UK while the nation battles a 70% more infectious 'Super-COVID' as Canada and Europe block flights Cuomo demands the federal government BAN or require testing of ALL travelers from the UK while the nation battles a 70% more infectious 'Super-COVID' as Canada and Europe block flights Reviewed by STATION GOSSIP on 08:33 Rating: 5

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