PASSENGERS heading to the US have been warned to get to the airport even earlier than usual to check in for their flight amid the coronavirus outbreak.
The US government has imposed new rules around inbound passengers, which means extra security checks will be carried out before passengers are allowed to board flights.
The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) issued an updated guidance on flights on Sunday, which includes new travel restrictions.
Under the new rules, US citizens who have travelled in China within the last 14 days will be re-routed to one of eight designated airports, where they will undergo enhanced health screening procedures.
US citizens who have been in Hubei province, where the outbreak originated, will be subject to up to 14 days of mandatory quarantine within 14 days of their return.
US citizens who have been in other areas of China within the last 14 days will undergo proactive entry health screening and up to 14 days of self-quarantine.
Meanwhile, most non-US citizens who have travelled in China within the last 14 days will be denied entry into the United States, except for immediate family members of US citizens, permanent residents and flight crew.
The US airports with enhanced coronavirus screening
The eight airports currently offering enhanced screening for coronavirus are:
- John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York
- Chicago O'Hare International Airport, Chicago
- San Francisco International Airport, San Francisco
- Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, Seattle
- Daniel K. Inouye International Airport in Honolulu
- Los Angeles International Airport, California
- Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, Atlanta
- Washington-Dulles International Airport in Virginia
Starting Monday, Newark Liberty International Airport in New Jersey, Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport and Detroit Metropolitan Airport will be added to the list.
Airline officials said that the new rules will mean they must now ask all US-bound passengers if they have visited mainland China.
Airlines are expected to scrutinise passports of travellers, and warned the new rules could require passengers to arrive even earlier for US-bound flights
American Airlines said it encouraged US-bound passengers "to arrive at the airport three hours early as we expect this additional screening will lengthen the normal check-in process."
The DHS has warned passengers that their flights may wind up being rerouted if officials discover mid-flight that someone on board has been in China in the last 14 days.
Chad Wolf, the acting DHS secretary, explained: "While the overall risk to the American public remains low, funnelling all flights with passengers who have recently been in China is the most important and prudent step we can take at this time to decrease the strain on public health officials screening incoming travellers."
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