NewsCovering Kentucky


Potential loophole in coronavirus airport screening exposed

Posted at 4:31 PM, Feb 28, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-28 17:45:31-05

(LEX 18)  — Per DHS instructions, travelers entering the United States from China must go to one of 11 airports for "enhanced security screening" for the coronavirus.

Those airports include:
John F. Kennedy International Airport (JFK), New York
Chicago O’Hare International Airport (ORD), Illinois
San Francisco International Airport (SFO), California
Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA), Washington
Daniel K. Inouye International Airport (HNL), Hawaii
Los Angeles International Airport, (LAX), California
Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL), Georgia
Washington-Dulles International Airport (IAD), Virginia
Newark Liberty International Airport (EWR), New Jersey
Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport (DFW), Texas
Detroit Metropolitan Airport (DTW), Michigan

One Kentucky native managed to come home from China without stopping in one of those designated airports.

Seth Collins was supposed to travel from Hong Kong to Toronto to Detroit and then Cincinnati. Detroit is on the list of the 11 airports.

When he arrived in Toronto on Tuesday, he went through U.S. immigration. His temperature was also taken multiple times.
Once he was settled at the gate, he saw that his flight to Detroit had been cancelled.

He was now heading straight to Cincinnati, which is not on the DHS list.

Collins understood that was the case, so he went to the Air Canada customer service desk to voice his concern.

"They said you're already cleared," Collins said, recalling a conversation with Air Canada. "The US government has already cleared you to be here. We're just going to send you to Cincinnati."

According to Collins, the agent further explained that since he had gone through immigration, he was already in a "US-controlled" area.

Collins said he is confident he does not have the coronavirus for several reasons.

He does not have any symptoms and he quarantined himself in his Chinese apartment for a month. He only left his apartment once a week for groceries, and on those trips his temperature was taken by officials multiple times.

However, his avoidance of one of the 11 airports raises concerns about travelers who may have the virus and could potentially enter the country without undergoing the "enhanced screening".