Stricter screening for Ebola at five US airports

8 October 2014 (Last Updated October 8th, 2014 18:30)

Passengers travelling to the US from countries affected by Ebola will have to go through stricter screening procedures at five major US airports.

Passengers travelling to the US from countries affected by Ebola will have to go through stricter screening procedures at five major US airports.

Chicago's O'Hare International Airport, JFK and Newark in New York, Washington's Dulles Airport and Atlanta International Airport will start screening passengers in the coming days.

White House spokesman Josh Earnest was quoted by ABC News as saying that temperatures would be taken with a device that would avoid direct contact with the travellers.

"As long as Ebola continues to spread in Africa, we can't make the risk zero here."

He also said that these five airports cover the destinations of 94% of the people who travel to the US from Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea which are the worst hit countries.

Passengers travelling from these will now have to answer additional questions and also have their temperatures taken.

Earnest also estimated that 150 people would be checked every day under the new procedures.

Apart from distributing factsheets about the symptoms of Ebola, travellers will be given a questionnaire. If they answer yes to any questions or are running a fever, a representative of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) will intervene and provide a public health assessment. Any passenger showing symptoms will be sent to local health workers.

President Barack Obama said the new efforts would help in strengthening the protection at key US points of entry.

ABC News quoted CDC director Thomas Frieden as saying: "However, the focus is still on stopping the epidemic in West Africa. As long as Ebola continues to spread in Africa, we can't make the risk zero here."

More than 3,400 have died from Ebola in West Africa to date.