Returning Americans face long screening lines at airports

Returning Americans face long screening lines at airports
© Greg Nash

Required coronavirus screenings at U.S. airports led to long lines and congestion for returning travelers, with passengers at O’Hare International Airport in Chicago waiting for up to four hours.

Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker (D) in a Saturday evening tweet called the congestion “unacceptable."

“@realDonaldTrump@VP since this is the only communication medium you pay attention to—you need to do something NOW,” Pritzker tweeted.

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“To the frustrated people trying to get home, I have spoken with the mayor and our Senators and we are working together to get the federal government to act to solve this,” Pritzker added. “We will do everything within our power to get relief.”

Sen. Tammy DuckworthLadda (Tammy) Tammy DuckworthBiden unveils disability rights plan: 'Your voices must be heard' Warren calls for investigation into OSHA inspections during pandemic Senate Dems press DOJ over coronavirus safety precautions in juvenile detention centers MORE (D-Ill.), the top Democrat on the Senate Transportation Committee, also criticized the wait times, tweeting: “This is unacceptable, counterproductive and exactly the opposite of what we need to do to prevent the spread of #COVID19. The Trump Administration must send more support to O’Hare immediately.”

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Acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad WolfChad WolfHundreds of migrant children, teens deported under pandemic border policy: report Trump administration finalizes indefinite extension of coronavirus border restrictions   US-Mexico border restrictions extended to June 22 MORE, meanwhile,  tweeted that his department was working to expand its screening capacity Saturday night.

Passengers faced similar crowds at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York, CNN reported. Passengers told the network that many of them had to wait for forms detailing which countries they had visited and any symptoms they were experiencing.

"They didn't have pens and told us to share," Kaitlyn Deibler, who landed at the airport from Kyiv, Ukraine, told the network. "Which sounds like a great thing in the middle of the pandemic."

At least three passengers screened at JFK were later taken to hospitals with symptoms of the virus, according to CNN, citing a source with knowledge of the screenings.

Public health officials have warned Americans to practice “social distancing” to prevent the spread of the coronavirus and many jurisdictions have banned large gatherings.