CDC Relaxes Quarantine Guidelines: What Travelers Need to Know

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Unvaccinated Americans no longer need to quarantine if exposed to COVID-19, says newly relaxed guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Additionally, people who test positive can end isolation sooner if they are asymptomatic or their symptoms improve rapidly.

On Friday, CDC spokesman Tom Skinner told USA TODAY that additional travel advice would be available soon. He did not provide a timeline for these updates.

“The CDC is in the process of updating guidance for K-12/ECE, healthcare facilities, high-risk gatherings, and travel,” Skinner said in an email. “So at this time there is no change in travel advice.”

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With limited exceptionsonly vaccinated foreign nationals can enter the United States, but US citizens can enter without being vaccinated. Tests before departure no longer required to enter the country since mid-June.

Here’s what all travelers need to know about entering the United States by air, land, and sea.

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The CDC now recommends people mask for 10 days and test after five days if not fully vaccinated but exposed to someone who is COVID-19 positive. This is in line with existing recommendations for fully vaccinated people.

Regardless of vaccination status, the CDC advises people who test positive to quarantine at least five daysinstead of the previous 10.

“On day 6, or later, when they have been fever-free for 24 hours and their other symptoms have improved, they can end isolation and wear a mask indoors at home and in public,” said Greta Massetti, author of the CDC guidelines. .

Air travel in the United States

Air travel is pretty much back to normal for US citizens. There are no pre-departure testing requirements for travelers, and Americans arriving from abroad do not need to show proof of vaccination. The same is true for immigrants and lawful permanent residents.

The CDC still recommends pre-departure testing for all passengers traveling to the United States, but it is not mandatory.

Foreign nationals, however, must still present proof of vaccination to enter the United States before boarding their flight.

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Here’s what the CDC counts as fully vaccinated for the needs of international visitors:

  • Two weeks (14 days) after your dose of an accepted single-dose vaccine
  • Two weeks (14 days) after your second dose of an accepted two-dose series
  • Two weeks (14 days) after receiving the full series of an accepted COVID-19 vaccine (not a placebo) in a clinical trial
  • Two weeks (14 days) after receiving two doses of any mix-and-match combination of accepted COVID-19 vaccines given at least 17 days apart.

According to industry trade group Airlines for America, in June airlines were still carrying nearly 20% fewer transatlantic travelers than in 2019.

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Can US citizens travel to Canada and Mexico by land or by ferry?

The borders between the United States, Canada and Mexico are open, but some restrictions remain.

With few exceptions, only fully vaccinated foreign nationals can enter Canada.

There are no entry restrictions for US citizens entering Mexico, but travelers may be subject to health checks on arrival.

Vaccination is not required for US citizens return to the United States by land or ferry, but it is mandatory for foreigners.

COVID-19 testing is not required for anyone entering the United States or Mexico, or for fully vaccinated travelers entering Canada.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection notes that “all testing requirements for travel are within the authority and jurisdiction of the CDC.”

“CBP is currently operating under notification from the Secretary of Homeland Security of temporary travel restrictions applicable to land ports of entry and ferry service between the United States and Canada/Mexico,” a CBP spokesperson said. the federal agency in a statement to USA TODAY. “CBP will continue to enforce these restrictions until they are lifted or reversed by the Secretary of Homeland Security.”

What do the new guidelines mean for cruise lines?

The CDC released updated COVID-19 guidelines for cruise ships last month, including recommended protocols for symptomatic passengers, crew and their close contacts.

As part of those guidelines, the agency said all symptomatic travelers should be isolated and tested as soon as they report symptoms to medical personnel. In addition to identifying and testing close contacts of infected people, the CDC said cruise ships may consider a number of measures, including quarantine “until at least 5 full days after their last exposure” , among other measures, according to its website.

Travelers can check with their cruise line for their latest protocols.

“Passengers sailing on CLIA member cruise lines will continue to see health and safety protocols in place that evolve based on the public health situation,” said Anne Madison, spokesperson for Cruise Lines International. Association, at USA TODAY.

Carnival Cruise Line, for example, requires passengers who are “in close contact with or exposed to any guest or crew member who tests positive for COVID-19” or exhibits symptoms to be tested, along with their contacts. narrow, according to his website. These travelers may need to quarantine in their cabin until cleared by the medical team.

Royal Caribbean International is also requiring guests who test positive to self-isolate, and close contacts “will need to meet necessary quarantine and/or testing requirements based on their vaccination status,” according to the line. website.

Contributor: Associated Press

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