US ‘WON’T ground UK flights’ over Covid mutant strain as Europe shuts its doors – but non-citizens might be denied entry

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OFFICIALS have said they won’t ground flights between the US and UK despite the spread of the Covid mutant strain, as Europe shuts its doors.

Moncef Slaoui, chief advisor to the government’s Operation Warp Speed vaccine program, told CNN’s ‘State of the Union’ that US officials “don’t know yet” if the variant is present in the country.

Getty Images – Getty

Donald Trump could lift the travel ban on the UK and Europe as early as next week[/caption]

Getty – Pool

US health officials said they had no plans yet to ban flights from the US after Boris Johnson, pictured, introduced new measures to battle the mutant strain of Covid-19[/caption]

Getty – Contributor

A number of European countries have already banned flights from the UK[/caption]

“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 added, no strain of the Covid-19 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.

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

When asked if the US was likely to follow the example of European countries suspending flights from the UK, Giroir said: “I really don’t believe we need to do that yet.”

President Donald Trump is said to be considering lifting the US travel ban on the UK and Europe as early as next week, according to reports on Friday.

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has called for an end to flights from the UK and said the US action on the new strain was “reprehensible”

“There is a disturbing story coming out of the United Kingdom of a highly contagious new variant of the Covid-19 virus,’ he said on Sunday. 

“A number of countries have banned people from the UK, and 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 has a number of flights coming in from the UK each day and we have done absolutely nothing.

“To me, this is reprehensible because this is what happened in the spring.”

Sources within the travel industry told The Telegraph Trump was expected to sign an executive order lifting the travel ban on Tuesday.

A number of European countries have already imposed a travel ban from the UK.

France has joined Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, Belgium, Austria, Bulgaria, Germany, Israel and El Salvador in banning all flights carrying passengers from British airports.

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.”

AFP or licensors

Moncef Slaoui said it wasn’t known if the new variant of Covid-19 was in the UK[/caption]

Getty Images – Getty

Andrew Cuomo has called for an end to flights from the UK[/caption]

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