Flights are continuing to land in the US from Wuhan and the rest of China and Europe despite the travel ban put in place to stop the spread of coronavirus.
According to Flight Tracker data, people are arriving into the US every day from the countries that have been blamed for sparking the outbreak across America, with flights even touching down from Wuhan where the global pandemic originated.
This comes as warnings mount that passengers are not being screened properly for the deadly virus on arrival into the US and as questions are being raised over how – if at all – the mandatory 14-day quarantine for returning travelers is being enforced.
Flights are continuing to land in the US from Wuhan and the rest of China and Europe despite the travel ban put in place to stop the spread of coronaviru
According to Flight Tracker, five flights had landed into New York airports JFK and Newark from London, UK, airports by 4:30p.m. ET since the start of the day Wednesday.
More flights are also scheduled to land later into the evening and night.
The data also revealed flights continue to arrive from China – with a China Southern Airlines flight on schedule to land Wednesday night in JFK from Wuhan.
In LA, a China Eastern flight from Wuhan also touched down in LA International Airport Wednesday afternoon.
President Trump ordered bans on flights from several nations back in March as cases and deaths started to ramp up across the nation and he pointed the blame at international travel.
Foreign nationals who have visited countries including China, Iran, the UK, Republic of Ireland and several places in Europe in the previous 14 days are now banned from entering the US.
However, American citizens, green card holders, certain family members and other exceptions who have been to these high-risk countries can still fly into the US.
According to Flight Tracker, five flights had landed into New York airports JFK and Newark from London, UK, airports by 4:30p.m. ET since the start of the day Wednesday
The data also revealed flights continue to arrive from China – with a China Southern Airlines flight on schedule to land Wednesday night in JFK from Wuhan, where the virus is thought to have originated
All arrivals from these areas – considered coronavirus hotspots by the US government – are sent to one of 13 airports that are able to screen them for the virus.
They are then required to quarantine at home for 14 days and provide contact details to airport officials.
The US Customs and Border Protection and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have said individuals are subject to ‘enhanced entry screening,’ including questions about their medical history, current condition, and some have their temperature taken.
But travelers landing into New York have painted a mixed picture of how thorough the screening process is.
‘They were very specific about how we need to do two-week quarantine,’ one woman who traveled to Newark from Albania via Switzerland and had her temperature taken told CBS2.
Another traveler Joe Horvath said: ‘I haven’t seen anybody being screened for anything.’
Concerns are also ramping up around whether arrivals are complying with the two-week quarantine once they get to US soil.
A Transportation Security Administration employee checks the identification of a traveler at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport in Virginia in May. Warnings mount that passengers are not being screened properly for the deadly virus on arrival into the US
American Airlines employees check in passengers at a mostly empty check-in counter in Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport in Virginia
New York Governor Andrew Cuomo admitted the state is not tracking arrivals once they enter New York, which has been hardest hit by the pandemic.
When asked at a press conference Tuesday about monitoring the arrivals, Cuomo responded that ‘it’s not a state role,’ adding that the screening and monitoring process is under the remit of the federal government.
‘There is coordination, but they determine who comes, who doesn’t come, is purely federal, and they determine what procedures and practices are in place,’ Cuomo said.
The ban on letting foreign travelers into the US has also been called into question after DailyMail.com revealed Wednesday that a Russian tourist traveled from Moscow to New York and on to Miami for a vacation.
This comes despite US officials repeatedly blaming the start of the US outbreak on international flights landing from China and Europe.
In April, Cuomo said coronavirus arrived in New York from Europe and that 2.2million people flew in from European countries in January and February, while the world was oblivious to the threat and assumed it could only come from China.
‘It came from Europe. When you look at the number of flights that came from Europe to New York in January and February, up until the close down in March… 13,000 flights bringing 2.2million people,’ he said.
‘The horse had already left the barn by the time we moved. Those are the flights coming from Italy and Europe in January and February.
‘We closed the front door with the China travel ban, which was right, but we left the backdoor open because the virus had left China by the time we did the China travel ban.’
Cuomo said the ‘next time’ a pandemic happens, the world must presume that the virus is in every country the day after the first case is reported.
Trump has widely claimed the virus came to the US from China, and has blamed the nation for letting flights to go in and out of Wuhan while the city was in the midst of its outbreak.
‘You could fly out of Wuhan where the primary problem was… and you could go to different parts of the world, but you couldn’t go [from Wuhan] to Beijing and you couldn’t go to any place in China. So what’s that all about?’ the president said on May 3.
Flight records have shown China did block international commercial flights out of Wuhan after January 23, according to Flightradar24.