US demands negative COVID test for all air travellers from the UK

Anyone travelling to the US from the UK must test negative for coronavirus within 72 hours of their proposed departure time in order to board the flight.

The new restrictions will come into force on Monday and represent a U-turn by the Trump administration, which on Tuesday said it wasn’t planning to require any testing for UK passengers.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said all airline passengers arriving from the UK must test negative in order to fly to the US amid concerns about the new variant of COVID-19 that has taken hold in parts of England.

The decision makes the US the latest country to impose travel restrictions on the UK following the emergence of the new variant.

A further 39,036 confirmed coronavirus cases were recorded in the UK on Thursday – the second-highest daily total to date – according to government figures.

The only day which has surpassed this daily figure was Wednesday, when 39,237 new cases were confirmed.

However, it is important to note the amount of testing has increased in the last week from around 400,000 tests per day to 500,000. This does not account for the total increase in cases but will contribute to the rise.

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Another 574 people have died within 28 days of a positive COVID-19 test.

The number of COVID-19 patients in hospitals is also nearly at the highest it has been since the start of the pandemic.

A total of 21,286 patients were in hospital as of 22 December, which is only slightly lower than the record 21,683 patients on 12 April at the peak of the pandemic.

In more positive news, more than 600,000 people in the UK have received the first dose of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine.

Up until 20 December, some 521,594 people were vaccinated in England while 56,676 were in Scotland, 22,595 in Wales and 16,068 in Northern Ireland.

Health officials are facing a race to vaccinate those most at risk across the UK as cases continue to rise in most areas.

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A record number of people have tested positive for COVID-19 in England, according to the latest Test and Trace figures.

Between 10 and 16 December, 173,875 people received a positive result.

This is the highest weekly total since the scheme began in May and a 58% increase on the previous week.

Of the people who took tests, 8.7% were positive – up on 6.2% the week before.

The jump in cases has been partially blamed on a new variant of coronavirus discovered in southeast England, which is thought to be up to 70% more transmissible.

Mark Gibson

Graduates in Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois 1990. Move to Los Angeles California in 2004. Specialized in Internet journalism.

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