Airport screening for travelers who may have the coronavirus could begin as soon as this week, according to a new report.
A report in The Wall Street Journal indicated that the Transportation Security Administration will be given the job of checking temperatures of air travelers in a program that would begin at a dozen airports.
The plan would refer passengers with a temperature of 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit or higher to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Logistics of when the screening would come in terms of airport security were unclear, the report said.
The TSA conducted a pilot temperature check program at Washington Dulles International Airport last month, according to The Wall Street Journal.
The agency said nothing is definite.
“At this time, no decision has been made regarding specific health screening measures at airports,” the agency said in a statement to CNN on Friday.
“Ongoing discussions with our [Department of Homeland Security] and interagency colleagues, as well as our airport and airline partners, will enable the agency to make informed decisions with regard to the health and safety of the aviation environment. The safety and security of the traveling public and our employees will always be our top priority,” the statement added.
Tripods that can scan many people at once and hand-held devices are likely to be used, an anonymous Trump administration official told Fox Business.
Zolan Kanno-Youngs, a reporter for The New York Times, tweeted that the decision is far from final.
“A Homeland Security officials tells me this is still very much under discussion and no decision has been made. Among the questions TSA has,” he tweeted.
“Who would enforce it? … How would it be enforced? … What do you do with someone who has a high temperature?”
A Homeland Security officials tells me this is still very much under discussion and no decision has been made. Among the questions TSA has:
-Who would enforce it?
-How would it be enforced?
-What do you do with someone who has a high temperature? https://t.co/Vj3zzrzLaU
— Zolan Kanno-Youngs (@KannoYoungs) May 15, 2020
A former DHS official told the outlet that the legal authority to bar a traveler with a high temperature from flying remains unclear.
“It’s definitely not in the core mission of TSA to be in the temperature check business or the health care business,” the former official said.
Former DHS official Jonathan Meyer said the TSA does have the authority.
“The only question really would be whether having a high fever constitutes a threat to security. But it certainly constitutes a potential threat to the health and safety of fellow passengers,” Meyer said.
Kevin Burke, president and CEO of Airports Council International – North America, told Politico that if screening is done, it should be “supported by medical evidence, be performed by federal government officials and minimize the impact on airport operations.”
Airport screening was adopted by many Asian nations as a way of minimizing the impact of the virus.
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