The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is preparing to announce tighter screening for Ebola at U.S. airports and possibly other ports of entry this week, Sen. Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) said Tuesday.
In an interview with The Washington Post, the third-ranking Senate Democrat said he spoke with CDC Director Tom Frieden earlier in the day and received assurances that officials were moving swiftly toward new protocols.
“He told me that they will announce this week that they will do tougher types of screening on U.S. soil,” Schumer said.
It’s not clear what specific changes the federal government will announce. President Obama said Monday that the government would increase passenger screenings for Ebola in the United States and Africa. The White House said Tuesday that the new measures will be released in “the coming days.”
Schumer said federal officials are grappling with logistical challenges as they move toward implementing new safeguards.
“Whatever they do, they have to make sure if they spot someone who might have been exposed, what they do with all the people they are in contact with, where they sequester them, et cetera.”
Even as some leading Republicans have called for a ban on travel from West African countries afflicted with Ebola, the White House has said it is not considering that possibility. Schumer concurs.
“The more intense screenings at U.S. airports might be a happy middle ground,” he said.
Schumer has called for the federal government to conduct more thorough health screenings at U.S. airports, including a temperature-check and a health survey for travelers coming from Liberia, Guinea, Sierra Leone and Nigeria. He has also recommended that the Department of Homeland Security start a database of passengers traveling between West Africa and the United States, which would be shared with hospitals.
The New York Democrat said the CDC is considering his proposals.
[This post has been updated to note the White House’s statement about new measures being announced in the coming days.]