US finally launches contact tracing programme for international travellers

us finally launches contact tracing programme for international travellers scaled

The US is finally launching a contact tracing programme for international arrivals entering the country – although initially in a limited capacity.

From 15 December, travellers from abroad are being asked to voluntarily submit five pieces of information when flying with Delta: name, email, address they’re staying at in the US, phone number and secondary phone number.

The information will be securely transferred to the CDC, “dramatically decreasing the time it takes to notify affected customers via local health departments,” according to the airline.

With all contact data immediately accessible to the CDC, it’s hoped the scheme will speed up the process of letting passengers know if someone they were sitting near on a flight has tested positive for Covid-19.

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The current process is far more cumbersome: the CDC only receives a passenger manifest, which may or may not have comprehensive contact information for each person, after someone on a flight has tested positive.

The CDC then identifies anyone who was sitting within two seats of the confirmed case and notifies their local health departments, which are charged with following up.

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“Independent studies have shown that the many layers of protection Delta has already put in place are effectively minimizing the risk of Covid-19 transmission, and contact tracing adds one more important layer to our efforts to ensure safety throughout travel,” said Bill Lentsch, the chief customer experience officer at Delta.

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