(Al Jazeera) Passengers arriving at airports in the United States from international destinations may soon be required to undergo temperature and virus checks to help stop the spread of the coronavirus.
“We’re looking at doing it on the international flights coming out of areas that are heavily infected,” US President Donald Trump said following a meeting at the White House on Tuesday. “We will be looking into that in the very near future.”
Trump said it has not been determined yet whether the federal government or the airlines would conduct the testing. “Maybe it’s a combination of both,” he said.
Earlier this year, passengers from China were screened at US airports after landing in an effort to slow the spread of the new coronavirus. Only a handful of passengers were quarantined.
When asked about airport screening during an earnings call with analysts and reporters on Wednesday, Gary Kelly, chairman and CEO of Southwest Airlines, said: “We are talking with the administration and members of US Congress about what the protocols should be.”
He added that an industry trade group was “leading the effort to advocate for some kind of health screening at the security checkpoint … some kind of screening makes sense, and I think to get people flying again, they need to be comfortable, and I think that’s one way to provide additional comfort.”
With no end in sight for the travel bans that have brought flying to a near halt, airlines across the world are facing deep uncertainty and heavy future losses, and no visibility on how and when operations can restart.