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COVID-19: Chaos at US airports after new health screenings to control coronavirus

09:25 PM | 15 Mar, 2020
COVID-19: Chaos at US airports after new health screenings to control coronavirus

NEW YORK – Airports across the United States were thrown into chaos Saturday as workers tried to enforce the Trump administration’s new health screenings for people returning from Europe, as part of efforts to stop the spread of the coronavirus, according to American media reports.

Travelers faced hours of delays, long lines and jam-packed hallways as workers questioned them about their medical history and checked them for symptoms.

The administration announced the “enhanced entry screenings” Friday.

Passengers on flights from 26 countries in Europe are being routed through 13 U.S. airports, where workers check their medical histories, examine them for symptoms and instruct them to self-quarantine for 14 days.

But just hours after taking effect, the measures designed to prevent new infections in the United States had created the exact conditions that facilitate the spread of the highly contagious virus, with throngs of people standing shoulder-to-shoulder in hours-long bottlenecks, according to experts.

As confusion and anxiety spread, the debacle threatened to deepen the coronavirus crisis for the Trump administration, which has struggled to mount a coherent response to the pandemic or convey a consistent message to the public about what the federal government is doing to mitigate the outbreak.

The scenes at the airports — captured in an outpouring of angry social media posts — bore a striking resemblance to the botched implementation in early 2017 of President Donald Trump’s travel ban targeting citizens from predominantly Muslim countries, which triggered chaos and protests at United States airports as travelers from the Middle East were detained or sent home with almost no warning.

Saturday’s confusion came as concern spread about the coronavirus pandemic, which has now been identified in more than 2,700 people in the United States and has prompted Trump to declare a national emergency.

Earlier, Spain announced a nationwide lockdown as France moved to close all nonessential businesses — including cafes, restaurants and movie theaters — in the latest testament to the coronavirus pandemic’s profound impact on daily life around the globe.

Upheaval continued in the United States, as well, on Saturday as Georgia followed Louisiana’s lead in delaying its presidential primary and three states reported their first coronavirus-related deaths.

The United States will be banning travel from the United Kingdom and Ireland beginning Monday at midnight, officials said.

“At this time, we are working quickly with our partners to operationalize a plan which will outline where these travelers will be routed and what the screening process will be,” Marcus Hubbard, a spokesman for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, was quoted as saying.

President Trump also said his administration was considering domestic travel restrictions for some hot spots.

A surge in coronavirus patients is threatening to swamp U.S. hospitals, as Oregon, Virginia, Louisiana and New York all reported their first coronavirus-related deaths on Saturday.

Ten U.S. service members have tested positive for the novel coronavirus, along with one Defence Department civilian and two contractors, military officials said.

Associated Press of Pakistan Corporation (APPC) - Pakistan's Premier News Agency

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Pakistani rupee exchange rate to US dollar, Euro, Pound, Dirham, and Riyal - 26 Feb 2024

Pakistani currency remains stable against US dollar in the open market on February 26, 2024 (Monday).

US Dollar rate in Pakistan

In the open market, the US dollar was being quoted at 279.5 for buying and 282.55 for selling.

Euro currently stands at 302 for buying and 305 for selling while British Pound rate stands at 352.5 for buying, and 356 for selling.

UAE Dirham AED hovers at 76.1 whereas the Saudi Riyal saw slight increase, with new rates at 74.35.

Today’s currency exchange rates in Pakistan - 26 Feb 2024

Source: Forex Association of Pakistan. (last update 09:00 AM)
Currency Symbol Buying Selling
US Dollar USD 279.5 282.55
Euro EUR 302 305
UK Pound Sterling GBP 352.5 356
U.A.E Dirham AED 76.1 76.8
Saudi Riyal SAR 74.35 75.1
Australian Dollar AUD 181 183
Bahrain Dinar BHD 743.88 751.88
Canadian Dollar CAD 207 209
China Yuan CNY 38.89 39.29
Danish Krone DKK 40.38 40.78
Hong Kong Dollar HKD 35.76 36.11
Indian Rupee INR 3.37 3.48
Japanese Yen JPY 2.1 2.18
Kuwaiti Dinar KWD 908.79 917.79
Malaysian Ringgit MYR 58.6 59.2
New Zealand Dollar NZD 171.68 173.68
Norwegians Krone NOK 26.43 26.73
Omani Riyal OMR 726.53 734.53
Qatari Riyal QAR 76.76 77.46
Singapore Dollar SGD 207 209
Swedish Korona SEK 26.53 26.83
Swiss Franc CHF 317.87 320.37
Thai Bhat THB 7.79 7.94

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