DHS Ramps Up Screening

The US Department of Homeland Security has implemented additional screening measures for travellers flying into the United States from Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea – the three West African countries affected by the ebola virus.

Two weeks ago, DHS – working with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention – introduced enhanced screening measures at New York’s JFK, Newark, Dulles, Atlanta and Chicago that required passengers on flights originating in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea to undergo secondary screening and added protocols that included having their temperature taken, before they can be admitted into the United States.

Those five airports account for about 94% of travellers flying to the United States from these countries. At present there are no direct, non-stop commercial flights from Liberia, Sierra Leone or Guinea to any airport in the United States.

DHS’ new measures, which are now in effect, require passenger whose travel originates in Liberia, Sierra Leone or Guinea to fly into one of the five airports that have the enhanced screening and additional resources in place.

Jeh Johnson, US secretary of DHS, said, “We are working closely with the airlines to implement these restrictions with minimal travel disruption. If not already handled by the airlines, the few impacted travellers should contact the airlines for re-booking, as needed.”

Secretary Johnson continued, “We currently have in place 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.”