West Africa Travelers Now Required to Enter US Through 5 Airports

Oct 21, 2014

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The following is an update of last week’s coverage the CDC’s new Ebola airport screening program.

The Department of Homeland Security announced today that starting Wednesday October 22, all travelers coming to the U.S. from West Africa nations affected by the Ebola outbreak will be required to enter through one of five U.S. airports where enhanced screenings are currently taking place. These airports include New York’s John F. Kennedy, Washington’s Dulles International Aiport, Chicago’s O’Hare, New Jersey’s Newark and Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson international airports.

Travelers from West Africa will be required to enter the US through these five airports starting Wednesday. Photo by USA Today.
Travelers from West Africa will be required to enter the US through these five airports starting Wednesday. Image by USA Today.

This enhanced screening implemented by Customs & Border Protection includes checking travelers’ temperature and inquiring about possible exposure to the Ebola virus. It’s estimated that 150 passengers from West Africa arrive in the United States every day. The West Africa nations affected by the Ebola outbreak include Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea.

“We are working closely with the airlines to implement these restrictions with minimal travel disruption,” said Jeh Johnson, secretary of Homeland Security. “If not already handled by the airlines, the few impacted travelers should contact the airlines for rebooking, as needed.”

According to representatives from American Airlines and British Airways, they don’t expect the restriction to have a major impact on their passengers either.

New travel restrictions affect West Africa’s Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. Image courtesy of Shutterstock.
New travel restrictions affect West Africa’s Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone. Image courtesy of Shutterstock.

With these new restrictions in place, some lawmakers are calling for further oversight, like restricting visas from such nations. “In addition to requiring all travelers from at-risk countries to fly through airports with enhanced screening measures in place, I continue to call on the administration to suspend all visas from Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea,” said Rep. Michael McCaul, R-Texas, the head of the House Homeland Security Committee.

via USA Today

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