LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — As COVID-19 continues to spread across the globe, Los Angeles International Airport is seeing a decline in the number of travelers passing through.

Empty lines at LAX Thursday night told the story of a virus stoking fear in the millions of people who usually travel through the airport. (credit: CBSLA)

On a typical weeknight, traffic in the terminal loop and security wait times are to be expected. However, cars flowed freely and the few people still opting for air travel walked straight through security Thursday night — an effect of rising concerns over the rapid spread of the coronavirus in the U.S. and across the world.

Travelers inside the Tom Bradley International terminal had a particularly easy time, after President Trump suspended travel to the U.S. from Europe for foreign nationals.

As they were about to board their own flights out of the country, many inside the terminal said the travel restrictions are needed.

“I think it’s a good measure, something necessary,” said one traveler, who added that traveling as COVID-19 spreads doesn’t worry her. “It’s not a high mortality, like other kind of viruses.”

On Thursday, Trump shrugged off backlash from foreign leaders for his travel ban.

“We get along very well with European leaders, but we had to make a decision,” he said.

Airport officials say 4.8 million people travel from Los Angeles to Europe each year, and LAX is the second largest gateway to Europe. The current travel ban does not apply to U.S. citizens, who can continue to travel to Europe, but will be subject to screening upon return and will be asked to self-isolate for two weeks.

Travelers said they’ll remain optimistic, while doing everything they can to stay healthy.

“I’m 65 years old,” said a traveler. “I’ve been through a lot of crises. I guess we’re gonna get through this one.”

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