NewsLocal News


Five U.S. airports, including Chicago's O'Hare, to screen passengers for coronavirus

Posted at 9:40 PM, Jan 21, 2020
and last updated 2020-01-22 10:12:24-05

CHICAGO — With the first confirmed case of the coronavirus being found in Seattle, five U.S. airports will now screen all passengers from Wuhan, China. The man in his 30's was diagnosed after traveling from the region to Washington State.

Passengers who originated in Wuhan will be funneled to airports in Los Angeles, New York, Seattle, Atlanta and Chicago for screening for the virus that has killed 9 people and sickened hundreds of others in China.

At Chicago’s O'Hare Airport Tuesday, two passengers were removed from a United Airlines flight from Shanghai because they showed signs of the illness. Health officials later said it was a false alarm.

Chicago Department of Health Commissioner Allison Arwadi advised passengers not to panic.

"We don’t have recommendations for general airport staff or passengers to be wearing a mask or gloves," said Arwadi.

She said any infected passengers wouldn’t be taken through the general areas of the airport but rather to an awaiting ambulance.

Passengers on the United flight say they were told about the sick passengers that were removed. They were also screened for basic illness issues when the flight took off from Shanghai.

The screenings at Chicago O’Hare will begin in the coming days. Arwadi says "really this is a focused proactive response to make sure that these particular travelers are getting appropriate screening."