Passengers coming to the US from countries that were hit hard by a coronavirus (Italy, South Korea) expressed their frustrations on social media about a lack of testing and monitoring by customs agencies. They were only asked if they are coming from China, and let to stroll through major airports like JFK and LAX.
Vice President Pence said: “Anyone traveling on a direct flight to the United States of America receives multiple screenings at all airports in Italy and South Korea.” Still, CDC requires screening passengers who arrive in the country from China and Iran only. Others are expected to follow CDC guidelines, which dictate that anyone who has just returned from Italy and South Korea must stay home for 14 days.
As of March 8th, 2022, there have been 447 confirmed cases and 19 deaths due to COVID-19 in the United States. The FDA is yet to approve a test that would be able to tell a person if they had the virus or not within 15 minutes.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, the White House coronavirus expert, said what was being reported about screening in airports was not what was meant to be happening.
JFK pointed out to a travel advisory that passengers should have had their temperature checked in Italy, where supposedly no one will be able to board with a temperature of 99 degrees or more. Whether people’s temperatures are being taken before they get on the flights was left unclear.
Travelers arriving at Chicago O’Hare Airport and Atlanta are not being screened at all. Instead, Customs are relying heavily on departure countries to check passengers for any symptoms. In the meantime, all you can do is wash your hands. Thoroughly.