A new, highly contagious strain of the coronavirus in the United Kingdom has New York Governor Andrew Cuomo calling for action before it's too late.

Several European countries have imposed new restrictions on individuals traveling from the United Kingdom, including banning travelers and mandatory testing due to the new variant of COVID-19. "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," said Governor Cuomo.

Thousands of people fly into New York from the UK on a daily basis.  "We have done absolutely nothing and to me, this is reprehensible because this is what happened in the spring," Governor Cuomo said.

Governor Cuomo called on the federal government implement restrictions and require mandatory testing for anyone traveling from the UK to the United States, as well as a new travel ban from Europe. "It's another disaster waiting to happen," Cuomo said during his daily briefing. "How many times do you have to make the same mistake before you learn? The federal government is being grossly negligent just like the spring, and every day they do nothing on this problem, they do something. It's high time the federal government takes swift action, because today that variant is getting on a plane and landing in JFK, and all it takes is one person."

Even though the federal government hasn't made any decisions on dealing with the new COVID strain, Governor Cuomo asked the three airlines that fly from the UK to make testing mandatory for anyone flying into New York state. "The U.S. should halt travel until we know more about this new strain."

28,598 people have died in New York State from COVID since the virus reached the U.S.

The Governor is also asking the federal government to help local and state governments. The latest $900 billion pandemic bill didn't include any funding for governments to cover budget deficits. "I can't cover a $15 billion deficit due to COVID with dramatic tax increases and major state layoffs," Cuomo said. "Those are two things we just can't do when we're already struggling."

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