New York City Sheriffs Will Check on Arrivals from the UK to Enforce NYC's 14-day quarantine, according to Mayor Bill de Blasio. Those who violate it are subject to a $1000 fine per day. Sheriffs will call on travelers at the home or hotel address provided in their New York Health Form. The increased enforcement is due to the more contagious coronavirus strain prevalent in southeastern England, which has caused over 40 countries to ban or restrict arrivals from the UK. British Airways, Virgin Atlantic, and Delta are requiring negative COVID-19 test results for travelers from the UK to New York, from a test taken within the 72 hours prior to flight departure.
The new UK COVID-19 variant, called B.1.1.7, has a number of mutations, and, as with another significant new COVID-19 variant that is becoming prevalent in parts of South Africa, B.1.1.7 has a mutation on the virus genome N501Y, which encodes for COVID-19's distinctive spike protein. Scientists believe that the mutation allows the virus to more easily attach to human cells, contributing to its greater transmissibility in the absence of strong public health measures to contain viral spread.
So far there is no evidence that the mutations will compromise the efficacy of vaccines, but the longer the virus is allowed to continue to spread throughout human populations and evolve, the greater the potential risk that in time certain mutations may negatively impact the effectiveness of existing vaccines.
NYC COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths increased from early November through mid-December, with a slight dip over the last few days, but still at very high levels compared to summer and early fall.
COVID-19 positivity rates vary dramatically within NYC, ranging from over 13% in Borough Park in Brooklyn to under 2% in the Financial District and TriBeCa, Chelsea, Flatiron and Gramercy.
According to Mayor De Blasio, all international travelers to New York City will receive a Department of Health Commissioner’s order to quarantine, delivered via certified mail, and travelers that are found to be violating quarantine face the $1000 fine per day fine for violating the rules.
Meanwhile, NYC is also stepping up its staffing of sheriff deputies at airports, train stations and highways. Travelers who started their journey outside of states contiguous with New York (New Jersey, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Massachuestts and Vermont) must also quarantine for 14 days, unless they obtain a negative result from a pre-travel COVID-19 test taken within 72 hours prior to arrival, quarantine for at least 3 days, and take a second COVID-19 test on the 4th day that is also negative.
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