U.K. travelers must have negative COVID-19 test to head to N.J. amid worry over new strain

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People traveling to Newark airport via United Airlines on flights originating from the United Kingdom will soon be required to test negative for the coronavirus within 72 before departure as fears continue over a mutated strain that has been spreading in the European country.

The requirement takes effect Monday, the airline and New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy announced Thursday.

The move could disrupt travel plans for those traveling the height of the holiday season despite the ongoing pandemic. It takes effect three days after Christmas and four days before New Year’s Day.

“As we continue to experience a second wave of COVID-19 cases, it’s critical that we take any and all precautions to mitigate the potential for further transmission,” Murphy said in a statement. “While New Jersey continues to strongly discourage all non-essential travel at this time, if unavoidable, international travelers should adhere to CDC guidance for pre- and post-flight testing and the recommended self-quarantine period.”

United is installing the provision for anyone flying from London Heathrow Airport to the airline’s hubs in four American cities — Newark, Chicago, San Francisco, and Washington Dulles. The airline is operating four daily flights from Heathrow to those cities this month and will operate two daily flights from the airport to Newark and Chicago in January.

United is the currently online airline providing nonstop service from London to Newark Liberty International Airport, the state said.

The requirement will not apply to travelers aged 5 and under, nor those arriving in Newark from other countries via connecting flights that stopped in the U.K.


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