Sep 10, 2020 - Health

U.S. to end enhanced COVID-19 screenings for international travelers

A Port Authority police officer stands watch at Newark Liberty International Airport

A Port Authority police officer stands watch at Newark Liberty International Airport. Photo: Eduardo Munoz Alvarez/Getty Images

Beginning next week, the U.S. will no longer require travelers arriving from certain countries to be funneled through 15 major airports to undergo enhanced coronavirus screenings, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said Thursday.

What they're saying: The CDC said in a statement that it is removing the requirements on Monday due to a better understanding that "symptom-based screening has limited effectiveness because people with COVID-19 may have no symptoms or fever at the time of screening, or only mild symptoms."

  • "Transmission of the virus may occur from passengers who have no symptoms or who have not yet developed symptoms of infection. Therefore, CDC is shifting its strategy and prioritizing other public health measures to reduce the risk of travel-related disease transmission," the CDC said.
  • "[R]esources will instead be dedicated to more effective mitigation efforts that focus on the individual passenger, including: pre-departure, in-flight, and post-arrival health education for passengers; robust illness response at airports; voluntary collection of contact information from passengers ...; potential testing to reduce the risk of travel-related transmission of the virus that causes COVID-19 and movement of the virus from one location to another..."

Worth noting: The increased screening requirements, which began in January, applied to people arriving from China, Iran, most countries in continental Europe, the United Kingdom, Ireland and Brazil. Most non-U.S. citizens from those countries have been barred from entering the U.S.

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