The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has seen a steep decline in airport screenings as the global pandemic over the Wuhan virus all but shuts down airline travel.
According to CBS Transportation Correspondent Kris Van Cleave, the TSA screened more than 2.3 million passengers on the first of the month. On Friday, March 13 however, the security administration had only conducted more than 1.5 million, about an 800,000 person drop off.
.@TSA updated to include last Friday March 13 when officers screened 1,518,434 that's 834,734 fewer people than on March 1st… a more than 35% drop. I've asked for yesterday's number.
— Kris Van Cleave (@krisvancleave) March 17, 2020
The sharp decline in airport screenings illustrates how far fewer people are traveling over fears of spreading the Wuhan virus wreaking havoc on public health institutions and stock markets around the globe. They also come as a direct result of government policy implementing international travel bans to slow the its spread. Last week, President Donald Trump declared a temporary travel ban on Europe that has initially provided an exemption for the United Kingdom which has since been revoked. China, where the outbreak first began in the city of Wuhan, was already placed under a travel ban in January.
In Georgia, Republican Gov. Brian Kemp said the Atlanta International Airport has experienced a 40 percent decline in traffic after a TSA agent tested positive for the virus, according to CNN.
On Tuesday, the European Union (EU) announced that it was beginning to enforce a travel ban barring any non-essential travel from outside nations for at least 30 days. The EU’s ban however, will not extend to the United Kingdom which left the bloc earlier this year. The EU criticized Trump’s European travel ban last week, but now appears to be endorsing the preventative measure by pursuing a version of its own as Europe becomes the epicenter of the global pandemic.