Next week, a small airport in Iowa will become the first to implement a program to screen passengers for coronavirus symptoms before they enter security.
Last month, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) approved the plans created by the Eastern Iowa Airport in Cedar Rapids.
If proven to be successful at deterring sick passengers from boarding flights, the program could be carried out across America’s more than 500 airports.
It comes months after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) canceled its own program after detecting just nine cases and the U.S. launched an effort to screen all international travelers by having them provide a negative test before entering the country.
A first of its kind screening program is being launched next week at Eastern Iowa Airport (pictured) in Cedar Rapids
Passengers will have their temperature taken by a technician from local health care group, Mercy Medical Center, and fill out a questionnaire. Pictured: Travelers are screened and have their temperature checked by airline employees as they check in luggages at Los Angeles International Airport, November 24
‘We’re excited to get this launched,’ Marty Lenss, director of the Eastern Iowa Airport told The Washington Post.
‘We’ve been working on it for a while. We have always looked at it as one more layer in a multilayered approach in restoring passenger confidence.’
Currently, airlines requires passengers to fill out a questionnaire during check-in that they have no symptoms and to wear a mask.
The new plan take efforts a step further by having a professional health screening.
The plan involves all passengers meeting a screening technician from local health care group, Mercy Medical Center immediately before entering a Transportation Security Administration (TSA) checkpoint.
They will fill out a questionnaire about their health and have their temperatures taken.
Lenss told The Post that screeners would be able to determine within 15 sections if passengers can enter the checkpoint.
If they fail the initial screening, passengers will be taken to a separate area where they will be connected with a physician remotely.
In a few weeks, Lenss said this step may include rapid testing.
Depending on answers to the physician’s questions, the passengers may be advised to not travel and told to visit their airline’s check-in desk.
If they fail, they will be taken to a separate area where they will be connected with a physician remotely and advised not to travel. Pictured: A traveler receives a a temperature check before checking in for a China Airlines flight at Los Angeles International Airport, December 22
The CDC recently launched a program requiring all international travelers showa negative COVID-19 test. Pictured: Travelers wait for their luggage at Newark International Airport in Newark, New Jersey, November 21
The airline will make the final determination on whether or not passngers are allowed to board their flight.
The CDC initially launched a program to screen passengers between late January and early September.
However, it was shut down after just nine cases were detected among more than 766,000 travelers.
‘I’m sure we’re going to learn something,’ about the new program, Lenss told The Post.
‘We’ve never seen this as a silver bullet by itself.’
The U.S. already requires all international travelers coming into the US to show proof of a negative COVID-19 test in order to enter the country.
Passengers are required to get tested no more than three days before their flight and show a negative result to the airline before boarding.
The CDC then recommends getting tested again three to five days after arrival and staying in one location for seven days post-travel.
Earlier this week, former President Donald Trump announced he was lifting coronavirus-related travel restrictions for Europe, the UK, Ireland and Brazil, effective on January 26.
However, a spokeswoman for President Joe Biden said that despite the order, the new administration will not be lifting the restrictions.
‘On the advice of our medical team, the Administration does not intend to lift these restrictions on 1/26,’ Press Secretary Jan Psaki wrote on Twitter.
‘In fact, we plan to strengthen public health measures around international travel in order to further mitigate the spread of COVID-19.’