Ebola Screening Coming to US Airports
Obama vague on details, but says protocols are being worked out
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 7, 2014 7:14 AM CDT
A South Korean quarantine officer, left, checks body temperature of a passenger against possible infections of Ebola virus at the Incheon International Airport in Incheon, South Korea.   (AP Photo/Yonhap, Choe Jae-koo)
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(Newser) – Some 77 travelers destined for America have been prevented from boarding their flights after they were flagged during Ebola screening overseas. Now, it looks like screening is coming to US shores. President Obama yesterday announced "we're going to be working on protocols to do additional, faster screening both at the source and here in the United States." What we know, what it means, and what it doesn't:

  • Currently passengers leaving Liberia, Guinea, and Sierra Leone undergo airport screenings. They can't board any major airline from those locations and reach the US: Most have to transfer in Europe. Dallas Ebola patient Thomas Eric Duncan flew from Liberia to Brussels to Dulles to Dallas.
  • The Washington Post notes that there was no elaboration on the details of any new screening, but it runs down the possibilities: more temperature taking, and careful reviews of the past itineraries of foreigners coming to the US in hopes of revealing, for example, someone who bought two tickets: Africa to Europe and Europe to US.

  • The Post notes there are already quarantine areas in existence at most major US airports. NBC News reports CDC staffers will likely be installed at JFK, Newark, O'Hare, and Dulles.
  • Though some Republicans yesterday clamored for heightened screening (Gov. Rick Perry) or even a potential travel ban (Sen. Ted Cruz), Obama remains in opposition to the latter. Per White House press secretary Josh Earnest: "A travel ban is something that we’re not currently considering."
  • The World Health Organization is against the idea, too, per NBC News. It says blocking flights would exacerbate issues by dealing a blow to those nations' economies and complicating efforts to get food, medicine, and aid workers to affected locations.