US to stop Covid-19 screenings at airports for international passengers

10 September 2020 (Last Updated September 10th, 2020 10:50)

The US is reportedly set to stop conducting enhanced screening of international passengers for Covid-19 at designated airports.

US to stop Covid-19 screenings at airports for international passengers
The enhanced screening of international passengers for Covid-19 is expected to be withdrawn early next week. Credit: Rudy and Peter Skitterians from Pixabay.

The US is reportedly set to stop conducting enhanced screening of international passengers for Covid-19 at designated airports.

According to a Reuters report, the changes are expected to become effective from early next week. However, a formal announcement is due from the government.

In February, the US administration implemented enhanced screening requirements for travellers coming from high-risk countries.

This involved temperature checks, visual observations, traveller declaration and procuring information for contact tracing.

It also banned most of the non-US citizens who have been to Covid-19-affected nations in a bid to restrict the spread of the disease.

The government designated 15 airports for international flights coming from select high-risk countries.

However, the US decided to withdraw the enhanced screening procedure as the system identified very few passengers with a health issue.

Around 675,000 passengers were screened at the 15 airports while fewer than 15 were identified to have Covid-19, Reuters reported citing a government document.

However, a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) spokesperson did not comment on the issue.

Earlier, Airlines for America, which represents American Airlines, Delta Air Lines and United Airlines, was quoted by the news agency as saying: “Spending scarce screening resources where they can best be utilised and no longer believe that it makes sense to continue screening at these 15 airports given the extremely low number of passengers identified by the CDC as potentially having a health issue.”

The plan to withdraw enhanced screening was also confirmed by a Yahoo News report.

Earlier this month, the US Government announced that it will allocate more than $1.2bn in infrastructure grants for airports.