Unvaccinated Americans will no longer need to quarantine if they’ve been exposed to COVID-19, under newly relaxed guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. People who have tested positive for the coronavirus can also end isolation sooner if they are asymptomatic or if their symptoms improve quickly.
CDC spokesman Tom Skinner told USA TODAY on Friday that additional travel advice would be forthcoming. He did not give a timeline for these updates.
“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, as of now, there are no changes to the travel advice.”
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With limited exceptions, only vaccinated foreign nationals are allowed to enter the United States, but U.S. citizens can enter the country unvaccinated. No pre-departure tests have been required to enter the country since mid-June.
Here’s what all travelers should know about entering the United States by air, land, and sea.
Can I travel if I am not up to date on COVID-19 vaccines and have been exposed to COVID-19?
The CDC now recommends people Mask for 10 days and test after five days if they are not fully vaccinated but are exposed to someone who is COVID-19 positive. This is in line with existing recommendations for people who are fully vaccinated.
Regardless of vaccination status, the CDC advises people who test positive to do so Quarantine at least five daysinstead of the previous 10.
“By day 6 or later, when they are 24 hours fever-free and their other symptoms have improved, they can stop isolation and wear a mask at home and in public,” said Greta Massetti, an author of the CDC guidelines.
Travel to the USA by plane
Air travel is pretty much back to normal for US citizens. Travelers are not required to take pre-departure tests, and Americans arriving from abroad are not required to provide proof of vaccinations. The same applies to immigrants and lawful permanent residents.
The CDC still recommends pre-departure testing for all passengers flying to the United States, but it is not required.
However, foreign nationals are still required to provide proof of vaccinations to enter the United States before boarding their flight.
Here’s what the CDC is considered fully vaccinated for 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 you received the full series of an accepted COVID-19 vaccine (not a placebo) in a clinical trial
- Two weeks (14 days) after you have received two doses of a mix-and-match combination of approved COVID-19 vaccines given at least 17 days apart.
Airlines still carried nearly 20% fewer transatlantic travelers in June than in 2019, according to industry trade group Airlines for America.
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Can US citizens travel to Canada and Mexico by land or ferry?
The borders between the US, Canada and Mexico are open, but some restrictions remain.
With a few exceptions only fully vaccinated foreign nationals allowed to enter Canada.
COVID testing is not required for individuals entering the United States or Mexico, nor for fully vaccinated travelers entering Canada.
U.S. Customs and Border Protection states that “all testing requirements for travel fall within the purview and purview of the CDC.”
“CBP is currently working under the Department of Homeland Security’s notice of temporary travel restrictions applicable to land ports of entry and ferry services between the United States and Canada/Mexico,” a federal agency spokesman said in a statement to USA TODAY. “CBP will continue to enforce these restrictions until lifted or lifted by the Secretary of Homeland Security.”
What do the new guidelines mean for cruise ships?
The CDC issued updated COVID-19 guidance for cruise lines 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 staff. In addition to identifying and testing close contacts of those infected, cruise lines could consider a range of measures including quarantine “until at least 5 full days after their last exposure,” among others, according to the CDC website.
Travelers can check with their cruise line for the latest protocols.
“Passengers sailing on CLIA member cruise lines will continue to see health and safety protocols that evolve in line with the public health situation,” Anne Madison, spokeswoman for the Cruise Lines International Association, told USA TODAY.
Carnival Cruise Line, for example, requires passengers who are “in close contact with, or exposed to, guests or crew who have tested positive for COVID-19” or who have symptoms to be tested along with their close contacts website. These travelers may need to quarantine in their cabins until cleared by the medical team.
Royal Caribbean International also requires guests who test positive to be isolated, and close contacts “must meet required quarantine and/or testing requirements based on their vaccination status,” according to the line website.
Contribution: Associated Press