TSA preparing to check passenger temperatures

Some dozen airports could start process the week of 5/18

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U.S. officials are preparing to begin checking passengers' temperatures at roughly a dozen airports as soon as next week, according to people familiar with the matter.

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Details of the plan are still being finalized and are subject to change, the people said. It could not be determined which airports will initially have the new scanning procedures. A senior Trump Administration official said that the initial rollout is expected to cost less than $20 million, and that passengers won't be charged an additional fee.

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Airlines have been pushing for the Transportation Security Administration to start taking passengers' temperatures as part of a multifaceted effort to keep potentially sick people from boarding planes and to make passengers feel more comfortable taking trips again. Demand for air travel has dropped more than 90% amid transport restrictions and stay-at-home orders.

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People familiar with the matter said TSA has raised concerns about taking on responsibility for temperature scanning, believing it doesn't fall within the scope of its security mission. Its employees have also been exposed: Over 500 have tested positive for Covid-19 and six have died.

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"At this time, no decision has been made regarding specific health screening measures at airports," TSA said Friday in a statement.

The scanners used to take passenger temperatures would likely be a mix of tripods that can scan multiple people at once and hand-held thermal devices, the administration official said. Passengers with a temperature reading of 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit or higher will be flagged. Officials haven't yet decided whether the scanning will take place at the start of the security process or toward the end.

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