The united states government will enhanced screening at JFK International Airport coming this Saturday to prevent a possible spread of the Ebola virus, officials said in a statement Wednesday.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention they will be working in conjunction with the Department of Homeland Security’s Customs and Border protection to implement the new screening that will include additional staff and added detection measures.
“We work to continuously increase the safety of Americans,” said CDC Director Tom Frieden. “We believe these new measures will further protect the health of Americans, understanding that nothing we can do will get us to absolute zero risk until we end the Ebola epidemic in West Africa.”
Travelers from Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone — west African nations hardest hit by Ebola — will be personally escorted by CBP agents to a specific area of the airport that will be reserved solely for screening.
They will be monitored constantly for Ebola symptoms and various signs of illness. Passengers will be questioned about their health and possible exposure to infected victims of the disease.
The traveler’s temperature will also be taken with a non-contact thermometer — which works by using an infrared laser aimed at a person’s forehead.
If a person shows any symptoms of Ebola, or answer the health questionnaire in a manner which raises alarm, that person will be closely evaluated by a CDC quarantine station public officer.
The person will then be taken to an area hospital for further treatment and evaluation. In New York City the dedicated hospital will be Bellevue Hospital in Manhattan.
Anyone flying in from west Africa who does not fit any of the categories for isolation or additional questioning will be given advice and health information on how to monitor themselves.
Screening will not just take place upon arrival, though.
Exit screening measures similar to the ones that will take place at JFK have been added around the affected West African nations as CDC experts work alongside local authorities to implement a proper procedure of detecting people traveling with Ebola.
“CBP personnel will continue to observe all travelers entering the United States for general overt signs of illnesses at all U.S. ports of entry and these expanded screening measures will provide an additional layer of protection to help ensure the risk of Ebola in the United States is minimized,” said Deputy Secretary of Homeland Security Alejandro Mayorkas.
“CBP, working closely with CDC, will continue to assess the risk of the spread of Ebola into the United States, and take additional measures, as necessary, to protect the American people.”
Since exit screening began two months ago, 36,000 people have been screened leaving affected west African nations, according to the CDC.
Of those screened, 77 people were denied boarding a flight because they couldn’t pass the health assessment. None of those people turned out to be infected with Ebola but several were instead diagnosed with malaria.
credit : ghanaweb.com