Latimer demands FAA test incoming international passengers at county airport for new strain of COVID-19
Westchester County Executive George Latimer is calling on the FAA to put a testing protocol in place to screen international passengers due to the outbreak of a new strain of the coronavirus.
Although there are no direct international flights in Westchester County Airport, Latimer tells News 12, "International flights might go into another American city or Canadian city and then an individual will transfer from there to a flight that would take them into Westchester.”
Right now, the airport operates flights from JFK as well as parts of Florida, North Carolina, and Indiana.
According to Latimer, his office has asked the federal government to help them interact with testing capacity at Westchester County Airport.
Gov. Andrew Cuomo demanded the federal government either mandate testing or halt flights from the U.K. after Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced that the country has discovered a new COVID-19 strain that is 70% more contagious than the original.
He asked several airlines to require COVID-19 testing before the flights leave for the U.K. to the state.
British Airways, Virgin Atlantic, and Delta have all agreed to screen outbound passengers before leaving the U.K. heading to New York.
This isn't the first time the county has asked for additional screening support. The New York National Guard was at the airport around Thanksgiving making sure incoming passengers filled out health assessment forms and weren’t showing any symptoms.
It's a welcomed proposal for people News 12 spoke with who were traveling for the holidays today. "It's good to know that they're testing people before they come into certain cities. I just think it's got to be consistent,” says traveler Lamicah Jacobs.