Skip to main content
Publish date:

Travelers returning to MSP from affected COVID-19 countries report not receiving health screening

The mandatory screening for 26 of 28 countries didn't begin until March 14.

Not everyone returning from an international flight during the coronavirus pandemic goes through health screening before being allowed to leave the airport.  

On Friday, Thrifty Traveler reported hearing from "nearly a dozen" travelers who had just returned from international travel who said they weren't screened upon return to the U.S., including "at least two examples" at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport, although it's not clear where those specific MSP travelers were coming from.  

Jess Myers, a hockey writer in Minnesota, tweeted Friday that a friend of his who worked in Europe for a week returned to no screening and then began "feeling like they have a cold today, with some shortness of breath."

Another traveler who went from Spain to Toronto and then to MSP Airport said someone called for a doctor on the first leg of the trip, and when he got to MSP Airport he did not go through a screening despite spending seven days in Spain, which saw its number of confirmed coronavirus cases jump by 1,500 in one day and is second in Europe only to Italy in total cases. 

Controlling the health screenings is U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), which explained the process to BMTN. 

"CBP employees are encouraged to maintain situational awareness while processing individuals who have traveled from or transited through affected countries. If individuals are observed with symptoms of COVID-19 we will continue to work with the CDC to determine if a traveler is a possible public health risk by referring them for enhanced screening," a CBP spokesperson said. 

The situational awareness includes CBP officers looking at travel history, questioning and observation, and "self-declarations for every passenger to identify individuals requiring additional health screening."

The reason the examples listed above weren't automatically screened? 

The mandatory screening for travelers returning from the Schengen Area – 26 European states – didn't begin until today (March 14). So, starting now, anyone returning to America from the Schengen Area will be referred to the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) for enhanced health screening. 

Sign up: Subscribe to our BREAKING NEWS newsletters

The Schengen Area includes: Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Iceland, Italy, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland

The CBP had already been referring travelers from China or Iran to the CDC. 

It is not clear if passengers referred to the CDC will be given a COVID-19 test. According to ABC News, at least 63,000 travelers from Iran and China have been referred to the CDC for enhanced health screening. 

Travelers returning from from anywhere other than the Schengen Area, China or Iran won't experience many changes upon return to America. 

Next Up

Flickr - police lights squad siren - Edward Kimmel

Woman in critical condition after being shot in the head in St. Paul

Officers responded to the incident at around 2:45 a.m. Saturday.

Alexander Mattison

Vikings-Lions: 5 things you can count on

It's a great time for the Vikings to play the Lions.


Omicron variant confirmed in Wisconsin man who traveled to South Africa

Five other cases have been confirmed and linked to a Wisconsin wedding.

Sharon Mollerus - duluth - snow plow car

Sunday snowstorm walloping MN's North Shore with huge totals

Just ridiculous snow totals expected the rest of Sunday.

Screen Shot 2021-12-05 at 6.49.03 AM

Saturday snow causes havoc on Twin Cities roads

There were countless spinouts and crashes across Minnesota.

Kirill Kaprizov

Wild win battle of NHL's hottest teams, extend winning streak to six

Kirill Kaprizov delivered a shootout winner to take down the Maple Leafs.

Eric Kendricks

Vikings downgrade Eric Kendricks to out against Lions

The Vikings have also activated Michael Pierce from injured reserve.

u.s. attorney

Minnesotan sentenced after assaulting man with baseball bat

Marshall Wayne Boshey was sentenced to 30 months in prison followed by two years of supervised release.

Target store

Target's gift card discount is back, but for this weekend only

The fine print: for Target Circle members only (but membership is free).


MSP Airport to start screening international travelers for coronavirus

Federal officials expanded screening locations on Tuesday.

coronavirus, pandemic, masks

Coronavirus: Survey finds 1 in 5 Minnesotans planning holiday travel

Health experts have advised against traditional family gatherings during the holidays.

Minnesota-Canada border

CDC: Do not travel to Canada, even if you are vaccinated

The CDC has issued its highest travel alert level for Canada.


MN health officials criticize CDC change to COVID-19 testing guidelines

The MDH wants asymptomatic people who may have been exposed to get tested.

Screen Shot 2020-09-25 at 1.02.48 PM

COVID-19 survey teams withdraw from MN due to racism, intimidation

The survey was aimed at learning more about COVID-19's spread in Minnesota.


Dinner with extended family? CDC issues Thanksgiving COVID-19 guidance

An outdoor dinner with a small group is considered a moderate-risk activity.