Armed Forces News

The first passengers deplane at Osan Air Base, Republic of Korea, as the "Patriot Express" returns to serve the Korean Peninsula April 5, 2010 (USAF file photo).

More passengers who depart on Patriot Express flights from two domestic airports now will undergo mandatory screening for COVID-19 before they are allowed to board planes.

As it stands, passengers at Baltimore-Washington International Airport (BWI) and Seattle-Tacoma Airport (SeaTac) are being screened for COVID-19 symptoms or possible exposure to anyone who has contracted the disease. On Nov. 1, roughly 10 to 15 percent of all passengers who do not show signs of the virus will have to undergo a quick test, administered on site, before they can depart on their flights.

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“By implementing rapid, on-site testing for Patriot Express passengers at our BWI and SeaTac terminals, Air Mobility Command is establishing a common baseline across the services to help mitigate the spread of COVID-19. AMC is committed to doing everything within our power to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 among our Patriot Express passengers traveling to overseas locations,” said Brig. Gen. Norman West, the command’s surgeon general.

If a passenger tests positive, the plan calls for that person’s entire party to be referred to a service liaison for additional support, the Pentagon stated. The support would include medical care and lodging during their isolation period. For passengers traveling alone, the period is 10 days. For those with family members, it is 14 days.

Passengers who had been administered COVID-19 tests with negative results within 72 hours of a Patriot Express flight would not be required to take the test again at BWI or SeaTac. Also, soldiers who can provide a medical clearance letter are exempt as well.

On-site tests will take about 15 minutes.

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