Fully vaccinated people can resume their leisure trips to the United States, but should still wear a mask and avoid crowds, according to new advice from the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The CDC released its long-awaited travel advice on Friday amid the accelerating pace of vaccinations in the United States, even as more contagious variants threaten to spark a new wave of Covid-19 cases and millions of ‘Americans are hitting the skies anyway.
The guidelines say people who are fully vaccinated do not need testing or quarantine when traveling across the country. For international travel, they do not need testing unless their destination country requires it and do not need to self-quarantine once back in the United States, but should get tested before going. board their return flight.
The CDC chief has kept his promise to travel by asking people to get vaccinated when they can. “Vaccines can help us get back to the things we love in life, so we encourage all Americans to get vaccinated whenever they get the chance,” CDC director Rochelle Walensky said in a statement.
All people, even vaccinated, should always wear masks on planes, the CDC said. The agency considers a person to be fully vaccinated two weeks after their last shot.
The CDC has previously issued guidelines on what vaccinated people can do. He said fully vaccinated people can gather privately without a mask, or visit an unvaccinated household – like vaccinated grandparents visiting the home of a child and grandchildren. However, he urged vaccinated Americans to continue wearing masks in public and to avoid crowds. At the time, the CDC did not change its travel recommendations.
The CDC continues to discourage “non-essential domestic travel” from those who are not fully immunized. These people should be tested again one to three days before the trip and then again three to five days afterwards. They should stay at home and quarantine themselves for seven days. after traveling, or 10 days if they don’t pass a test, the CDC says.
U.S. air travel has started to rebound – 1.6 million people passed TSA checkpoints on Thursday, well above the 124,000 who did so a year ago, but still below 2.4 million the same day in 2019.
Covid-19 cases started to rise again in the United States, with 79,000 new cases recorded on Thursday. Walensky this week warned the Americans could not abandon mitigation efforts, saying she was afraid of “impending catastrophe” as a fourth wave began to peak. More than 553,000 people have died from the virus in the United States, out of more than 30 million cases.
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