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Airports across the United States will no longer screen international arrivals for COVID-19

The new guidelines go into effect this Monday.

By
Anna Ben Yehuda
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Starting this upcoming Monday, September 14, international travelers flying into the United States will no longer have to undergo COVID-19 health screenings. The changes in process are a direct result of new orders from the White House.

The directive indirectly effects previously established re-routes. Since March, when the pandemic first took hold, incoming international passengers have only been allowed to land in 13 different U.S. airports that had the capacity to carry out enhanced entry screenings. Given the change in guidelines, international flights will no longer be re-routed to the following 13 airports: 

1. Boston-Logan International Airport (BOS), Massachusetts
2. Chicago O’Hare International Airport (ORD), Illinois
3. Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport (DFW), Texas
4. Daniel K. Inouye International Airport (HNL), Hawaii
5. Detroit Metropolitan Airport (DTW), Michigan
6. Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL), Georgia
7. John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK), New York
8. Los Angeles International Airport (LAX), California
9. Miami International Airport (MIA), Florida
10. Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR), New Jersey
11. San Francisco International Airport (SFO), California
12. Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA), Washington
13. Washington-Dulles International Airport (IAD), Virginia

As for the reasoning for the change, according to CNN, "a draft public affairs guidance memo lays out the rational for ending airport screening: of the 675,000 passengers screened at [the] airports, fewer than 15 had been identified as having COVID-19."

The former process required travelers to submit to temperature checks and present their medical history and current health conditions. Airports also had to obtain the passengers' contact information to give out to local health authorities in an effort to facilitate contact tracing if needed. 

The news follows the U.S. State Department's decision to no longer advise U.S. citizens to avoid all sort of international travel, opting instead for country-by-country directives. 

In an official statement, Katherine Estep, a spokeswoman for industry trade group Airlines for America, agreed with the White House's decision: "We continue to support spending scarce screening resources where they can be best utilized and no longer believe that it makes sense to continue screening at these airports given the extremely low number of passengers identified by the CDC as potentially having a health issue," she said.

To delve into a country's specific advisories and travel-related updates, feel free to browse through the State Department website right here.

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