Governors impose new restrictions on travelers from Britain as holiday travel ratchets up.

Alarmed by the coronavirus variant spreading in Britain, Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo of New York announced on Monday that British Airways, Virgin Atlantic and Delta Air Lines have agreed to require a negative coronavirus test result from passengers boarding flights from Britain to New York.

Gov. Jay Inslee of Washington State ordered on Monday that travelers from Britain and South Africa undergo a 14-day quarantine. He said more countries may be added to the travel proclamation.

Mr. Inslee said he was hopeful that the rules would help limit the spread of the mutation and said acting quickly was needed to make the effort successful. Mr. Inslee said the virus mutation was a warning that the nation is perhaps months away from the worst of the pandemic being over. “It is a vivid reminder of the uncertainties and unpredictability of this pandemic,” Mr. Inslee said.

The governors were taking action as Americans are traveling for the holiday season, despite repeated pleas from scientists and public health officials. More than one million people traveled through the Transportation Security Administration checkpoints from Friday through Sunday, according to the agency. The last time passenger figures topped one million was during the last major holiday, Thanksgiving.

“I would not be doing my job as governor of New York if I sat here and let the federal incompetence create another emergency and disaster that cost the lives of New Yorkers,” Mr. Cuomo said, alluding to the thousands of travelers who arrived from Europe earlier this year and unknowingly spread the virus when the federal government’s focus was mostly on China.

States have little power to limit air travel, which is mostly regulated by the federal government, leaving Mr. Cuomo with few options but to pursue voluntary agreements with the airlines.

Mr. Cuomo later said that Virgin Atlantic had agreed to a similar requirement. The pre-boarding testing requirement for British Airways and Delta flights goes into effect Tuesday, he said, and the test result must be from within 72 hours before boarding.

“I am only a governor, but I will do anything I can and whatever I can to protect the people of the State of New York,” said Mr. Cuomo, a third-term Democrat. “That is my job and I know and I believe my intuition is correct that this is another disaster waiting to happen.”

Mayor Bill de Blasio of New York City also urged further restrictions. “In my view, it’s time for a travel ban from Europe,” Mr. de Blasio said at a news conference on Monday. “Or at minimum a requirement that anyone getting on a plane has proof that they have a negative test if they’re coming out of Europe.”

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