CDC Issues Updated Domestic and International Travel Guidance

The pandemic brought travel to a halt as countries closed their borders to foreigners. Most of those borders remained closed to this very day. Some countries, dependent on tourism to sustain their economies, have come up with some less restrictive measures to allow travelers. These measures have included purchasing international travel insurance, testing multiple times at the location, or quarantining for a certain amount of time. Travel within the United States was initially halted but began to return during Thanksgiving. The numbers of travelers have steadily increased over the past few months. The travel was despite the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) call for people to stay home.

Today, the CDC announced fully vaccinated travelers are less likely to get and spread COVID-19. It provided the following updates for those travelers:

Domestic Travelers –

  • Do not need to get tested before or after travel unless their destination requires it
  • Do not need to self-quarantine
  • Should wear a mask over nose and mouth
  • Should stay six feet away from others and crowds
  • Should wash hands often and use hand sanitizers

International Travelers –

  • Should continue to follow CDC’s recommendations for traveling safely and get tested three to five days after travel
  • Do not need to get tested before leaving the United States unless the travel destination requires it
  • Do not need to self-quarantine after arriving in the United States

Within the announcement were the following recommendations for unvaccinated travelers:

Domestic Travelers –

  • Get tested with a viral test 1-3 days before your trip.
  • Wear a mask over your nose and mouth. Masks are required on planes, buses, trains, and other forms of public transportation traveling into, within, or out of the United States and in U.S. transportation hubs such as airports and stations.
  • Avoid crowds and stay at least 6 feet/2 meters (about 2 arm lengths) from anyone who is not traveling with you.
  • Wash your hands often or use hand sanitizer (with at least 60% alcohol).
  • Get tested with a viral test 3-5 days after travel AND stay home and self-quarantine for a full 7 days after travel.
  • Even if you test negative, stay home and self-quarantine for the full 7 days.
  • If your test is positive, isolate yourself to protect others from getting infected.
  • If you don’t get tested, stay home and self-quarantine for 10 days after travel.
  • Avoid being around people who are at increased risk for severe illness for 14 days, whether you get tested or not.
  • Self-monitor for COVID-19 symptoms; isolate and get tested if you develop symptoms.
  • Follow all state and local recommendations or requirements.

International Travelers –

  • Get tested with a viral test 1-3 days before your trip.
  • Make sure you understand and follow all airline and destination requirements related to travel, testing, or quarantine, which may differ from U.S. requirements. If you do not follow your destination’s requirements, you may be denied entry and required to return to the United States.
  • Check the COVID-19 situation in your destination.
  • Wear a mask over your nose and mouth. Masks are required on planes, buses, trains, and other forms of public transportation traveling into, within, or out of the United States and in U.S. transportation hubs such as airports and stations.
  • Avoid crowds and stay at least 6 feet/2 meters (about 2 arm lengths) from anyone who is not traveling with you.
  • Wash your hands often or use hand sanitizer (with at least 60% alcohol).
  • All air passengers coming to the United States, including U.S. citizens and fully vaccinated people, are required to have a negative COVID-19 viral test result no more than 3 days before travel or documentation of recovery from COVID-19 in the past 3 months before they board a flight to the United States.
  • Get tested with a viral test 3-5 days after travel AND stay home and self-quarantine for a full 7 days after travel.
  • Even if you test negative, stay home and self-quarantine for the full 7 days.
  • If your test is positive, isolate yourself to protect others from getting infected.
  • If you don’t get tested, stay home and self-quarantine for 10 days after travel.
  • Avoid being around people who are at increased risk for severe illness for 14 days, whether you get tested or not.
  • Self-monitor for COVID-19 symptoms; isolate and get tested if you develop symptoms.
  • Follow all state and local recommendations or requirements.

Finally, the CDC states people should not travel if they were exposed to COVID-19, are sick, test positive for COVID-19, or are waiting for COVID-19 test results. 

Final Word

I read numerous articles on blogs and mainstream media highlighting the fully vaccinated portion of the press release. As far as I am concerned, it should be a no brainer that fully vaccinated travelers pose a low risk to others. This is the exact reason for vaccinations, right? As far as I am concerned, the CDC should have kept this press release. People have been and are going to continue to do whatever they want to do. The CDC recommendations have not been shown to increase the numbers of vaccinated individuals. I am not saying people should not be vaccinated. As someone currently waiting on dose two of Moderna’s vaccine, I feel more people should get vaccinated but also respect their choice not to do so. 

Either way, I am happy people are traveling again. I hope everyone continues to be safe and respect others while in public.

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