Everyone coming to the United States from the three West African countries at the center of the Ebola outbreak will now be screened for the deadly disease at one of five airports, the Homeland Security Department has said. Earlier this month, Customs and Border Protection officers at New York’s Kennedy, Newark Liberty, Washington’s Dulles, Chicago’s O’Hare and Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta airports started screening people arriving from West Africa. The screening includes using no-touch thermometers to determine if travelers have a temperature, one symptom of a possible Ebola infection. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention is also working with DHS on the screening.
There are no direct flights to the United States from the three Ebola-stricken countries in West Africa. About 94 percent of the roughly 150 people traveling daily from West Africa to the U.S. arrive at the one of the five airports. Homeland Security Secretary, Jeh Johnson said Tuesday that now everyone traveling from Liberia, Sierra Leone or Guinea will have to land in the U.S. at one of the five airports and then fly on to their destination.
The new requirement means that people traveling from the region who were not originally passing through one of those five airports will have to rebook their flights.
Johnson said DHS now has “measures to identify and screen anyone at all land, sea and air ports of entry into the United States who we have reason to believe has been present in Liberia, Sierra Leone or Guinea in the preceding 21 days.”