By John Dias

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — New COVID testing requirements took effect Tuesday for international travelers coming into the U.S..

This comes as a new variant has been discovered in the country, and concerns grow nationwide about a shortage of vaccine doses.

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The new travel rules require all air passengers 2 and older to show proof of a negative test within three days. That applies for travelers and U.S. citizens.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced the change in mid-January, but it’s now federally mandated under President Joe Biden.

COVID VACCINE

CBS2’s John Dias spoke with travelers at John F. Kennedy International Airport about the changes. After a month in Peru, Jean Pierre Ramirez and his mother were happy to be back in the Tri-State Area.

“We just got tested, and it was negative,” Ramirez said. “I felt a little bit more comfortable… Because I know the results are negative. If they were positive, they wouldn’t be able to be on the plane.”

Even with the new precautions to minimize spread, his home state still has at least two cases of the U.K. strain.

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“I’m knocking on wood as I say this, I think we are in a plateau right now,” said Gov. Phil Murphy. “Our cases — the rise has begun to sort of go a little bit sideways, our hospitalizations are down. As I say, I’m knocking on wood, because we’ve got the variant — the U.K. variant — in our state, like most states have.”

CORONAVIRUS PANDEMIC

Connecticut now has eight cases of the U.K strain, and the first case of a highly contagious new variant from Brazil has been detected in Minnesota. Scientists worry the vaccines may not be as effective at stopping it.

In New York City, Mayor Bill de Blasio has indicated that when it comes to vaccine supply, the city has hit rock bottom. As of Tuesday morning, only 7,700 first doses were on hand. He called on President Joe Biden to invoke the Defense Production Act.

“I need hundreds of thousands more,” de Blasio said. “I’m very, very convinced that the commitment is there and we’re going to see a lot of impact from the Biden White House. In the meantime right now, we are dealing with residue of what was left to us previously.”

Biden hopes to increase vaccinations to 1.5 million Americans vaccinated a day.

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John Dias