DHS Announces that Travelers from West African Countries Affected by Ebola Must Land at Designated U.S. Airports for Enhanced Screening

As part of the Department of Homeland Security’s (DHS’) efforts to prevent the spread of Ebola to the U.S., DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson announced travel restrictions in the form of additional screening and protective measures at U.S. ports of entry for travelers from the three West African Ebola-affected countries: Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Guinea. The new measures are effective immediately.

Together with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), DHS has implemented enhanced screening measures at five U.S. airports: John F. Kennedy Airport (JFK) in New York; Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR) in New Jersey; Washington Dulles International Airport (IAD) in Virginia; Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL) in Georgia; and Chicago O’Hare International Airport (ORD) in Illinois. These airports account for about 94% of travelers flying to the U.S. from Liberia, Sierra Leone, or Guinea. Passengers flying into one of these airports from flights originating in the affected countries are subject to secondary screening and added protocols, including having their temperature taken, before they can be admitted into the U.S. All passengers arriving in the U.S. whose travel originates in Liberia, Sierra Leone, or Guinea are required to fly into one of these five airports. DHS is working closely with the airlines to implement these restrictions with minimal disruption to the affected travelers. If not already handled by their airline, affected travelers should contact the airline for rebooking, as needed.

Secretary Johnson indicated that measures are in place at all land, sea, and air ports of entry into the U.S. to identify and screen anyone whom DHS has reason to believe has been present in Liberia, Sierra Leone, or Guinea in the preceding 21 days. He added that DHS is continually evaluating whether additional restrictions or added screening and precautionary measures are necessary to protect the American people and will act accordingly.

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