Passengers landing at five U.S. airports who come from any of the three West African nations most affected by the Ebola outbreak—Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea—will have their temperatures taken as a way to screen for the virus, the New York Times reports.
The screenings, which will begin as early as this weekend, will take place in Kennedy International in New York City, Washington Dulles International in Virginia, O’Hare International in Chicago, Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International and Newark Liberty International in New Jersey, since approximately “90 percent of the people arriving from the three countries come through [those] five airports,” federal officials explained on Wednesday.
Affected travelers can look forward to detection procedures that “include taking the passengers’ temperatures with a gun-like, noncontact thermometer and requiring them to fill out a questionnaire after deplaning,” the Times reports.
The airport screenings—along with sending health care and military personnel to West Africa, as well as millions of dollars in aid—are widely seen as the U.S. government’s first large-scale domestic attempt to keep the outbreak from wreaking havoc on U.S. soil. The nation has been on edge since a Liberian man, Thomas E. Duncan, was diagnosed with Ebola in Texas last week. Duncan died on Wednesday.
“We work to continuously increase the safety of Americans,” said Dr. Thomas R. Frieden, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta.
Frieden went on to connect the dots between how America’s safety is tied to West Africa’s capacity to overcome the outbreak: “We believe these new measures will further protect the health of Americans, understanding that nothing we can do will get us to absolute zero risk until we end the Ebola epidemic in West Africa.”
Federal officials will be hands-on at the five airports. According to the New York Times, “The C.D.C. will send personnel to airports to perform the screenings, and Coast Guard members will be deployed to help in the coming weeks.”
Read more at the New York Times.