The United States government has adjusted its COVID-19 entry strategy and has stopped limiting international arrivals from certain countries to 15 airports and is funneling them through enhanced screening and advising them about COVID-19 risks, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Until recently, the COVID-19 entry strategy included enhanced entry health screening reserved for those arriving from, or who have recently visited China (excluding the Special Administrative Regions of Hong Kong and Macau), Iran, the Schengen region of Europe, the United Kingdom (excluding overseas territories outside of Europe), Ireland, and Brazil.
In an effort to innovate and adopt a new approach to keep international air passengers healthy, the U.S. government will adopt a new, more effective strategy that focuses on the individual traveler and will facilitate their ongoing journey to include pre-departure and post-arrival education, efforts to develop a potential testing framework with international partners, and illness response. The U.S. government feels that by refocusing its mitigation efforts on individual passenger risk throughout their air travel journey, they can most effectively protect the health of the American people.
Further, the CDC said that screening for symptoms doesn’t really help much because so many people do not have symptoms. “Transmission of the virus may occur from passengers who have no symptoms or who have not yet developed symptoms of infection. Therefore, CDC is shifting its strategy and prioritizing other public health measures to reduce the risk of travel-related disease transmission,” the agency further added.
The U.S. government will now focus its resources on more stringent mitigation efforts that concentrate on the individual passenger. The aforementioned measures include “pre-departure, in-flight, and post-arrival health education for passengers; robust illness response at airports; voluntary collection of contact information from passengers using electronic means,” the CDC said, adding that these measures should help reduce crowding and long lines at airports.
Testing remains an option, in addition to reminding travelers to watch for COVID-19 symptoms and to prepare to quarantine themselves for 14 days.