TSA tells airlines to ask passengers if they've been to China

TSA tells airlines to ask passengers if they've been to China
© Getty Images

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has told airlines to ask passengers on international flights if they’ve been to mainland China in the past two weeks.

The TSA issued the directive Saturday to go into effect Sunday at 5 p.m. ET in light of the new coronavirus spreading to 14,000 cases in more than 20 countries and territories, CNN reported

U.S. citizens who have traveled to China in the past 14 days will be allowed to enter the country in one of seven airports: Honolulu, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle-Tacoma, Chicago O’Hare, Atlanta and John F. Kennedy International airports, TSA administrator David Pekoske said in an email sent Saturday to employees.

ADVERTISEMENT

But the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is authorized to conduct medical screening with travelers from any airport with direct flights to the U.S., according to the email obtained by CNN.

U.S. citizens who have been to the Hubei province, the center of the epidemic, within the past 14 days will be subject to up to 14 days of mandatory quarantine. Other citizens who have been to mainland China in the past two weeks will experience a health screening and up to two weeks of monitored self-quarantine to limit public health risk

Airlines will deny travel to Chinese nationals coming from China to another foreign airport, with those with pre-clearance being exempted. Non-U.S. citizens who have been to China in the past two weeks also will not be allowed to fly to the U.S., according to the email.

All frontline employees will also be allowed to wear surgical masks. 

The coronavirus has spread to at least 20 countries and territories, killing 304 people in China and one man in the Philippines. 

There are eight confirmed cases in the U.S., but Heath and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said, "I want to stress: the risk of infection for Americans remains low, and with these and our previous actions, we're working to keep the risk low,” CNN reported.