Delta, British Airways to require negative virus tests for UK flights to New York
Airport (AFP)

Passengers flying from Britain to New York with British Airways or Delta will have to first test negative for coronavirus, New York Governor Andrew Cuomo announced Monday.

The airlines agreed to the measures over growing concerns about the fast-spreading variant of Covid-19 that has prompted more than two dozen countries to suspend flights from the UK.

"Starting tomorrow @British_Airways will require passengers on UK flights to NY to show a negative Covid test before departure," Cuomo tweeted, later adding that Delta had agreed to the same.

Cuomo added that he was also in talks with Virgin Atlantic about requiring passengers to provide evidence of a negative test before boarding a flight to New York.

"We can't let history repeat itself with this new virus variant," Cuomo said, referring to when travellers from European countries brought Covid-19 to New York in the spring, ravaging the city.

Cuomo also called on the US government to join the growing list of countries -- including Russia, India, Spain and Argentina -- that have banned flights from Britain.

While experts say there is no evidence the UK variant of the virus -- one of several mutations -- is more lethal or will affect the impact of vaccines, it may be up to 70 percent more transmissible, according to early data.