Washington: Travellers from dangerous Ebola-hit countries in Africa would face a tougher screening process at the five busiest US airports, federal authorities today said here.
This is part of the American effort to prevent the spread of the disease inside the country.
The five airports are John F Kennedy International Airport in New York, Washington Dulles International Airport outside Washington, DC, O'Hare International Airport in Chicago, Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport in Atlanta and Newark Liberty International Airport in New Jersey, the White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest said.
"By far the most effective screening measure that is in place is not any screening that takes place here in the US, it's the screening that takes place in these three countries in West Africa where they're experiencing this Ebola outbreak," he said.
"Preventing individuals who are already exhibiting symptoms of Ebola from boarding a plane in the first place is the most effective measure that will counter and has countered the spread of Ebola," the Press Secretary said adding that about 150 passengers that originated or have recently travelled to those three countries are entering the US at those five airports every day.
"This is an additional layer of screening that can be targeted to that small population in a way that will enhance security, but also minimise disruption to the broader travelling public," he noted.
US officials have been heavily involved with advising those African countries in the protocols that they have put in place to screen passengers seeking to board planes, he said.
The US has been involved in providing supplies to the individuals who are responsible for performing those screening measures, he added.
"We have been for a number of weeks, in addition to doing that screening in West Africa prior to departure, there were already screening measures in place here in the US to evaluate the traffic of individuals who are entering the country.
"Because of those screening measures, because of our medical infrastructure that we have in place, we think that the risk of an outbreak here in the US is exceedingly low, and we do believe that the screening measures that we put in place have been effective in protecting the American public.
"In this case, after some thought and evaluation of the systems that we do have in place, our security professionals determined that there were additional steps that we could take to further strengthen the safety of the American public without causing a significant disruption to the broader traveling public," Earnest said.