2 NYC residents among state’s 12 confirmed cases of new COVID-19 variant, mayor says

Coronavirus testing

A medical staffer works with test systems for the diagnosis of coronavirus, at the Krasnodar Center for Hygiene and Epidemiology microbiology lab in Krasnodar, Russia, Tuesday, Feb. 4, 2020. (AP Photo)

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NEW YORK — Two New York City residents are among the state’s 12 confirmed cases of the new COVID-19 variant, Mayor Bill de Blasio said Wednesday.

One resident is from Queens and the other is from Manhattan, according to Health Commissioner Dr. Dave Chokshi said. Both New Yorkers were originally diagnosed in late December with genetic sequencing to identify the variant.

One of them recently traveled to the United Kingdom, which was where the variant was first reported, Mayor de Blasio said.

The health commissioner said the newly diagnosed cases connect back to the importance of public health guidance, which includes getting tested and isolating if positive for COVID-19.

The announcement comes as the mayor continues to call on the government to restrict flights to and from the United Kingdom.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Tuesday anyone flying to the U.S. will soon need to show proof of a negative test for COVID-19.

The CDC order is to take effect in about two weeks, on Jan. 26. It requires air passengers to get a COVID-19 test within three days before their flight departs to the U.S., and to provide written proof of the test result to the airline. Travelers can also provide documentation that they had the infection in the past and recovered.

Airlines are ordered to stop passengers from boarding if they don’t have proof of a negative test or a prior infection.

Associated Press contributed to this report.

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