The Trump administration intends to end coronavirus screenings of passengers arriving to the United States from overseas, according to three officials familiar with the plans.
The US began conducting enhanced screenings of passengers arriving from Wuhan, China, where there had been coronavirus outbreak, at select airports in January. Over the following months, additional airports began the process of checking passengers from high-risk countries. For a brief period, the screenings resulted in long lines and overcrowded conditions at US airports.
The administration now appears set to end those screenings, a move first reported by Yahoo News. US Customs and Border Protection deferred to the Department of Homeland Security, which hasn’t returned request for comment.
A TSA official told CNN that a draft public affairs guidance memo lays out the rationale for ending airport screening — of the 675,000 passengers screened at 15 airports, fewer than 15 had been identified as having COVID-19.
It’s been difficult to measure how effective the screenings were to begin with. Data provided to the House Oversight Committee earlier this year revealed few passengers were stopped in initial screenings of international flights from early coronavirus hotspots outside of China.
The screenings included questions about medical history, current condition, and contact information for local health authorities.