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TSA chief says more countries facing travel restrictions over coronavirus 'soon'

TSA chief says more countries facing travel restrictions over coronavirus 'soon'
© Greg Nash

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) chief said Tuesday that more countries will face travel restrictions over the coronavirus “soon.”

TSA Administrator David Pekoske made the comments during a Senate Appropriations Subcommittee on Homeland Security hearing on Tuesday.

“There will be additional countries, I’m sure, as we continue to work with the task force, and I think those announcements will be relatively soon,” Pekoske said. 

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President TrumpDonald TrumpBiden prepares to confront Putin Biden aims to bolster troubled Turkey ties in first Erdoğan meeting Senate investigation of insurrection falls short MORE had told reporters earlier Tuesday that "we’ll be making additional decisions" regarding further travel restrictions.

Pekoske said carriers will question passengers on their way to the U.S. and check their passports to ensure they did not travel to China or Iran in the last two weeks. Then, passengers entering the U.S. at the gate will also be screened.

U.S. citizens who have been to China and Iran in the past two weeks will be funneled to one of 11 airports for medical screening. 

Non-U.S. citizens who have been to these two restricted countries will not be permitted to enter the country. Pekoske added that “not a large number” of these passengers have been denied entry. 

The U.S. also has issued advisories for Italy and South Korea. 

The coronavirus has infected more than 90,000 people, including at least 118 in the U.S., killing more than 3,100 people, including seven in the U.S., according to Johns Hopkins University data.