The United States began intensifying screenings of passengers arriving from Wuhan, China, where there was an outbreak of the virus, at selected airports in January. In the following months, additional airports began the process of screening passengers from high-risk countries. For a short period, the screenings led to long queues and overcrowded conditions at US airports.
Now the administration seems set to stop these screenings, a move first reported by Yahoo News. US Customs and Border Protection postponed a comment to the Department of Homeland Security, which declined to comment.
A TSA official told CNN that a draft memorandum on public affairs justified the termination of the airport inspection: Of the 675,000 passengers screened at 15 airports, fewer than 15 were identified as Covid-19.
Airlines for America, an aviation industry group, agreed with the decision to end screenings, saying in a statement: “We continue to support the spending of scarce screening resources where they can be best used and we no longer believe it makes sense to we continue to check at these 15 airports given the extremely low number of passengers identified by (US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) as potentially having a health problem. “
It is difficult to measure the effectiveness of projections. Data provided to the Chamber’s Oversight Committee earlier this year reveals that few passengers were stopped during initial screenings of international flights from early coronavirus hotspots outside China.
Screenings included questions about medical history, current condition and contact information with local health authorities.