In this June 26, 2017, file photo, a sign for International Arrivals is displayed at the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport in Seattle. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren, File)

WASHINGTON (AP) — The United States plans to end enhanced health screening of travellers from certain countries next week, and those visitors will no longer be funnelled through 15 large US airports.

These requirements were imposed in February to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said the government will remove those edicts beginning Monday.

The CDC said the current screening, which includes temperature checks and travellers vouching for their health, “has limited effectiveness” because some infected people show no symptoms.

The health agency said instead it will focus on other measures including a stronger response to reports of illness at airports, collecting passenger-contact electronically to avoid long lines, and “potential testing to reduce the risk of travel-related transmission” of the virus.


The extra health screening applies to people who have been in China, Iran, most countries in continental Europe, the United Kingdom, Ireland, and Brazil.

Most people coming from these countries who aren’t US citizens have been barred from entering the country.

The Homeland Security Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

A trade group representing the nation’s largest carriers praised the change.

“We continue to support spending scarce screening resources where they can best be utilised,” Airlines for America said in a statement Thursday, “and, given the extremely low number of passengers identified by the CDC as potentially having a health issue, agree that it no longer makes sense to continue screening at these airports.”

Separately, 18 travel and airline groups asked the administration to start pre-flight virus testing as a way to reopen international travel.

The groups argue that more screening could allow countries to lift travel restrictions and quarantines that have shut down most travel between the US and Europe.

Source: The Jamaica Gleaner