Early pandemic efforts to screen international passengers for coronavirus at US airports were largely “ineffective,” according to a new report published at the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Weekly Journal of Morbidity and Mortality..
In January, the CDC and the US Department of Homeland Security announced Screening program for air passengers arriving from specific countries To reduce imports COVID-19 case study A total of 766,044 passengers were screened at 15 airports nationwide between January 17th and September 13th. Only one case was detected for every 85,000 travelers screened.
“The low case detection rate of this resource-intensive program highlighted the need for fundamental changes in the US border health strategy,” the report said. In addition, the coronavirus infection that causes COVID-19 can be caused by asymptomatic carriers and has a variety of symptoms, so “symptom-based screening programs are ineffective” and “resource-intensive.” I will do it. “
When the program started in January, it focused on immigration for travelers arriving from Wuhan Province, China. Early epicenter of the virus, At three airports in the United States. Over time, the program has expanded to 15 airports, including all passengers arriving from 26 countries in the Schengen area of mainland China, Iran and Europe, the United Kingdom, Ireland and Brazil.
The screening consisted of three steps.
- U.S. Customs and Border Protection officials have identified whether the traveler has been to any of the designated countries in the last 14 days and referred the traveler for screening.
- The first medical examinations for these travelers were carried out, including temperature checks, questionnaires on symptoms and viral exposure, and collection of contact information.
- Sick travelers or those who disclosed their exposure were referred to on-site medical personnel or local health care facilities for additional evaluation.
The total cost of the program has not been disclosed, but at the peak of the program in March, about 750 screeners and support personnel were involved, and the CDC will cover the costs of equipment, travel and housing for quarantined travelers. did. CDC has also sent approximately $ 57 million to DHS to support operations.
“These findings show that screening for body temperature and symptoms at the airport rarely detects cases of COVID-19 and requires significant resources,” the report concludes.
The report shows that the CDC has been focused on communicating precautionary measures to travelers and airlines since the program ended in September. The report also recommended better contact tracing and contact information gathering, health declarations, COVID-19 tests, and high-risk post-travel quarantine or restricted movements to slow the spread of the virus.
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