By Jenna DeAngelis

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – A new strain of coronavirus out of the U.K. is causing major concern around the world.

Dozens of countries have now banned or restricted travel from Britain, and at least one more local leader is now standing behind Gov. Andrew Cuomo‘s call to do the same.

In a press releases, Cuomo said he believes this new, highly contagious strain of COVID-19 is already here, saying this could be another disaster waiting to happen. He’s hoping the federal government acts quickly.

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As CBS2’s John Dias reports, as a new strain of COVID-19 spreads like wildfire in the United Kingdom, countries across the globe are trying to stop the spread.

While much of Britain is under lockdown, more than 40 countries have now banned or restricted travel from the U.K., including France, Germany and Canada.


Cuomo is asking the United States to do the same – a request now picking up momentum from other leaders.

“We are looking at a new strain that is more infectious and makes the job harder, just when it’s going to get better,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio.  

The mayor said he supports a temporary travel ban.

“Every single traveler comes from [the United Kingdom to New York] poses a risk of transmitting a strain that poses new challenges to the already strained healthcare system here,” said Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams.

Adams, who is running for mayor, held a news conference outside the Federal Aviation Administration building to urge the FAA to issue a temporary nationwide ban until we know more about the new strain.

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“This virus moves in a rapid fashion, and we need to have a rapid response,” Adams said.

Monday, Cuomo announced all three airlines that run flights from the U.K. to New York have agreed to screen passengers before flying here, starting Tuesday with British Airways. Delta and Virgin Atlantic are expected to follow suit on Thursday – 120 countries are doing the same.

“Better safe than sorry,” said Five Towns resident David Bodenhim. “Listen, you gotta be careful, know what’s going on, people getting sick.”

“Lots of rules and restrictions but I feel like it’s needed,” said Rego Park resident Lana Vecino.

Vecino, a college student, got tested at John F. Kennedy International Airport after traveling home from school in Florida. She says if she has to do this after flying domestically, stricter rules should apply to international travelers, given the new strain.

“It’s new so we have to take extra protocol and be extra careful,” she said.

The new strain is more contagious, but not more lethal.

Pfizer and Moderna are testing their coronavirus vaccines against the new strain to see if it works. They have proved promising to other mutations of the virus.

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Jenna DeAngelis