The US Centers for Disease Control (CDC) is ending COVID-19 screening for international passengers, as the agency seeks to develop more rigorous testing protocols.

The agency will, from 14th September, end its program that saw incoming passengers submit to temperature checks and health questionnaires. The system was rendered ineffective, because so many people who transmit the disease don’t present with symptoms.

“We now have a better understanding of COVID-19 transmission that indicates symptom-based screening has limited effectiveness, because people with COVID-19 may have no symptoms… or only mild symptoms.” 

CDC
US Airport Coronavirus Screening

The CDC will now focus on less invasive, voluntary, measures such as educating passengers and requesting contact information. Industry bodies, such as the US Chamber of Commerce, have called for a more robust testing program, which may be a key step in restarting international travel.

In total, 675,000 people underwent the screenings and fewer than 15 were identified as having COVID-19.

Travellers arriving from China, Iran, most of Europe, UK and Brazil will also no longer be required to arrive at 15 designated airports, when the new policy goes into effect Monday.

Previously, passengers from the aforementioned high-risk regions had to arrive at one of the following airports:

  • Boston-Logan International Airport (BOS)
  • Chicago O’Hare International Airport (ORD)
  • Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport (DFW)
  • Detroit Metropolitan Airport (DTW)
  • Daniel K. Inouye International Airport (HNL)
  • Fort Lauderdale-Hollywood International Airport (FLL)
  • George Bush Intercontinental Airport (IAH)
  • Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL)
  • John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK)
  • Los Angeles International Airport, (LAX)
  • Miami International Airport (MIA)
  • Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR)
  • San Francisco International Airport (SFO)
  • Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA)
  • Washington-Dulles International Airport (IAD)