NEW YORK CITY — Two cases of a highly-transmissible coronavirus variant from the UK were found in New York City, Mayor Bill de Blasio said.
De Blasio on Wednesday said the two cases were among 12 recently confirmed across the state.
“Obviously, they’re being followed up on and supported,” he said. “Test and Trace engaged with them and we’ll keep people updated as we have more information.”
Health Commissioner Dave Chokshi said the cases involved two people who live in Manhattan and Queens, respectively.
“Both were diagnosed in late December with genetic sequencing,” he said. “That’s the special testing that’s done to identify the variant, returning results just within the last few hours.”
De Blasio said one person had recently traveled to the UK, which recently entered a strict round of new lockdowns to slow the new strain’s spread.
The strain’s emergence in the city showed the continued need for harsh restrictions on travel from the UK, de Blasio said.
“I’m very concerned about this variant,” he said. “This is why we need a travel ban immediately.”
Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Tuesday revealed that officials identified 12 new UK variant cases across the state. He repeated fears that the strain — which spreads far faster than the initial wave of coronavirus that prompted continued varying degrees of restrictions — could outpace the rate of COVID-19 vaccinations.