UK air travelers to Newark will need negative COVID-19 test

Beginning next week, United Airlines travelers to Newark Liberty International Airport from the United Kingdom will have to show a negative COVID-19 test.

New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy and United Airlines announced Thursday that the restriction goes into effect Monday.

United fliers with flights originating in the U.K. will have to present proof of a negative test obtained within 72 hours of departure. The restriction doesn’t apply to travelers originating from outside the U.K. who connect to a Newark-bound flight at London's Heathrow Airport. Passengers can take a same-day, rapid test at Heathrow.

The measure is being taken to curb the spread of a new strain of the coronavirus that has surfaced in the U.K.

"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.

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United said it is operating four daily flights this month from Heathrow to Chicago, Newark, Washington and San Francisco. Next month it will operate two daily flights to Newark and Chicago.

This week, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said three airlines with scheduled flights from London to New York — British Airways, Delta and Virgin Atlantic — had agreed to require passengers to take a COVID-19 test before they get on the plane. He also has called on the federal government to temporarily halt all flights from the U.K.