Skip to main content

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

blowing snow

Blowing snow Friday in Minnesota; will it snow next week?

Winds could gust up to 50 mph Friday afternoon and night.

Deer hunting blaze orange

To combat CWD, late-season deer hunting announced for 9 areas of MN

The special hunts will be held between Dec. 16 and 18.


COVID levels rising in wastewater; BQ.1 now dominant

BQ.1 is the new dominant subvariant in Twin Cities wastewater.

Screen Shot 2022-12-02 at 11.43.05 AM

Keith Ellison, other AGs settle with CarMax over recall disclosures

As part of the settlement, CarMax now must disclosure open recalls online and on the lot.

police lights squad car

Man kidnaps 2-year-old daughter in St. Paul, crashes after pursuit in Minneapolis

The incident involved both police departments in Minneapolis and St. Paul.

police lights

Boys aged 15, 16 arrested after shooting of teen in Woodbury

The victim suffered non-life-threatening gunshot wounds.


Police: Woman found dead with 'traumatic injuries' inside Moorhead home

Police are investigating the incident as a homicide.

Screen Shot 2022-12-02 at 7.59.36 AM

St. Paul's East Side Bar closes after two-and-a-half years in business

The bar opened just as the COVID-19 pandemic closed bars and restaurants.

Police tape

Police: Man and woman found dead inside Rochester home

An investigation is ongoing as of Friday morning.


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.