The Center for Disease Control and Prevention announced that fully vaccinated Americans can now travel safely both domestically and internationally.
The CDC also says that fully vaccinated people of any nationality arriving in the United States or from other countries no longer have to quarantine upon arrival. In addition, Americans can leave the country without testing negative for COVID-19 before boarding an international flight.
A negative test result will still be required for people of different nationalities flying to the United States from international locations. That also includes Americans returning to the country from abroad.
The CDC added that people arriving in the country should still get a test within three to five days of arrival, while people traveling internationally from the US to other countries may still need a test or quarantine, depending on the destination country’s rules.
However, travelers from China, Iran, the UK, Ireland, Brazil, South Africa, and parts of Europe —countries which the Trump administration banned— from entering the US will not be allowed. Except if the reason for travel is considered essential.
While the CDC can make national recommendations for what it deems scientifically safe, it has no power upon enforcement.
Each state has its own requirements for COVID-19 testing, quarantining, and other precautionary measures. While most states already dropped restrictions for travelers regardless of vaccination status, there are still exceptions.
“With millions of Americans getting vaccinated every day, it is important to update the public on the latest science about what fully vaccinated people can do safely, now including guidance on safe travel,” CDC Director Dr Rochelle Walensky said.
“We continue to encourage every American to get vaccinated as soon as it’s their turn, so we can begin to safely take steps back to our everyday lives,” Dr Walensky added. “Vaccines can help us return to the things we love about life, so we encourage every American to get vaccinated as soon as they have the opportunity.”
However, Dr Walensky made it clear that the CDC still discourages traveling generally.
“Despite the good news on the vaccination front we simply cannot afford to relax mitigation efforts,” Dr Walensky explained. “On the one hand, we are telling you we are worried about rising cases and to wear a mask and avoid travel.”
“We are telling you if you are vaccinated, we are telling you to travel is likely lower risk,” Dr Walensky explained. “What science shows us is that getting vaccinated allows you to do more things safely, and it’s important for us to provide that guidance, even in the context of rising cases.”
“We must balance that guidance with the fact that most Americans are not yet fully vaccinated, which is likely contributing to our rising cases, and that means that we have to reinforce messages about prevention measures.”
“We all want to return to the things we love and getting more people vaccinated as quickly as possible and taking preventive measures to stop the spread of COVID-19 is the path out of this pandemic and back to our everyday activities.”
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