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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.

Go deeper

Updated Dec 4, 2021 - Politics & Policy

Omicron dashboard

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

  1. Health: Coronavirus variant surveillance varies widely by state — Omicron cases confirmed in 5 U.S. states America probably won't lead the effort to understand Omicron.
  2. Vaccines: Omicron adds urgency to vaccinating world — Omicron fuels the case for COVID boosters — Moderna loses patent battles tied to COVID vaccine — Pfizer could have vaccine data for children under five by end of 2021, CEO says.
  3. Politics: Nevada to impose insurance surcharge on unvaccinated state workers — New Jersey GOP lawmakers defy statehouse COVID policy — Oklahoma sues Biden administration over Pentagon vaccine mandate — Omicron travel bans are sign of what's to come.
  4. World: WHO: Delta health measures help fight Omicron — COVID cases surge in South Africa in sign Omicron wave is coming — Germany approves new restrictions for unvaccinated people.
  5. Variant tracker: Where different strains are spreading.
Dec 19, 2020 - Politics & Policy

FDA authorizes Moderna's COVID-19 vaccine for emergency use

Photo: Robin Utrecht/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images

The Food and Drug Administration has issued an emergency use authorization (EUA) for Moderna's COVID-19 vaccine, one day after it was endorsed by a panel of independent experts.

Why it matters: The authorization of a second coronavirus vaccine, coming exactly one week after the FDA cleared Pfizer-BioNTech's vaccine for emergency use, increases vaccine access for millions of Americans and marks another milestone on the country’s path to curbing the pandemic.

Dec 18, 2020 - World

Mexico City bans nonessential activities as COVID-19 cases overwhelm hospitals

Relatives of patients hospitalized in the General Hospital of Zone 1 of the Mexican Social Security Institute (IMSS) wait outside for updates. Photo: Alfredo Estrella/AFP via Getty Images

Mexico City and the neighboring State of Mexico will ban nonessential activities in an effort to curb a spike in COVID-19 cases that has overwhelmed hospitals, officials announced Friday.

Driving the news: Mexico City Mayor Claudia Sheinbaum said hospital capacity is at about 75%, but the federal government put the number at 80%, per AP. Families have reported searching for hours to find open hospital beds in the capital.