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Not too long ago, the major challenge of airport security screenings was thwarting terrorist attempts. Now, as the coronavirus spreads throughout the world and citizens are ordered to stay at home, significantly fewer passengers are flying, and screening now includes also measures to prevent the spread of the pandemic.
Passenger security screenings at U.S. airports are down by more than half for March 2020 compared to the same time last year, according to data published by the US Transportation Security Administration.
Since passengers must be screened, the TSA data indicates how many people are flying. Through March 30, fewer than 35 million passengers went through security screenings for the month. During that period in 2019, more than 70 million passengers were screened by the TSA.
On March 30, the TSA screened 154,000 passengers, its fewest number of screenings in 10 years, according to Lisa Farbstein, TSA Public Affairs spokesperson, cited by wfaa.com.
The World Health Organization declared coronavirus a pandemic on March 11. On that day, 1.7 million passengers went through security screenings, according to the TSA. One week later, fewer than 800,000 passengers were screened.