Reports across country reveal jam-packed airport terminals, long lines, and hours of delays as travelers wait to be questioned by health authorities about potential coronavirus exposure


Boston (March 15, 2020) – Senator Edward J. Markey, top Democrat on the Security subcommittee of the Senate Commerce, Science, and Transportation Committee, today sent a letter to U.S. Customers and Border Protection (CBP) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), urging immediate action to address reports of confusion and dysfunction at some of the 13 U.S. airports implementing enhanced health screening of travelers from Europe.


Effective yesterday, travelers on flights from designated areas in Europe are being channeled through one of the 13 U.S. airports, where they will undergo “enhanced health screenings” for the coronavirus.  These screening procedures include a review of each traveler’s medical history, an examination of symptoms, and instructions for self-quarantine. Shortly after the new screening procedures began, reports and complaints about massive crowds and hours-long waits at customs emerged from travelers at some of the designated points of entry, including Chicago O’Hare International Airport and Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport.


“I am concerned that this chaos is not only adding to the public anxiety about coronavirus, but endangering public health by forcing large groups into close proximity with potentially infected individuals,” writes Senator Markey in his letter to Acting CBP Commissioner Mark Morgan and CDC Director Robert Redfield. “I therefore request details about both of your agencies’ enhanced screening procedures, as well as the actions you are taking mitigate and prevent the spread of this dysfunction at our airports.”


A copy of Senator Markey’s letter can be found HERE.