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Coronavirus and travel: Everything you need to know

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(CNN) – In the midst of the dim light at the end of the seemingly endless pandemic tunnel, there are visions of travel that reconnect us with loved ones or take us into a happily new environment.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention continues to urge Americans (even those who have been vaccinated) not to travel, despite a recent rise in the number of passengers screened at airport checkpoints. of the United States indicates that people travel again in greater numbers.

Therefore, in many cases, we can move forward. But there is no doubt that interest in traveling and making future plans is growing, raising many questions about how to safely navigate the new travel landscape.

Each country has its own mess of rules and restrictions, so almost any trip will require in-depth pre-trip research.

Here’s what you need to keep in mind because the pandemic is slowing down:

Even if I can travel, right?

Restrictions vary widely around the world and for many people it is possible to travel nationally and internationally. However, many public health officials would advise against it. As noted, CDC recommends not traveling right now.

“We’re very concerned about the transmissible variants. A lot of them have gone through our travel aisles, so we’re being very cautious right now with travel,” CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky told Anderson Cooper from CNN on March 11th.

Walensky noted that each time the trip increases, there is an increase in coronavirus cases, citing Independence Day, Labor Day and the winter holiday season.

City officials in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, plan a large crowded spring break this month.

City officials in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, plan a large crowded spring break this month.

Joe Raedle / Getty Images

Can I travel within my own country?

As with most pandemic-related things, it depends on where you live. At the moment, leisure travel is completely out of bounds in the UK, although destinations are already ready large influx of domestic travelers when the lock relaxes later this spring.
In Canada, there are no federal travel requirements for Canadians traveling between provinces and territories, although there are provincial or territorial rules and restrictions in many cases and non-essential travel is discouraged.
In Germany, overnight stays in hotels for tourist purposes are prohibited.

Regardless of where you are, it is important that you check regional and national websites and resources for guidance and travel restrictions.

Do I need a Covid-19 negative test to travel internationally?

In many cases, yes, you will need a Covid-19 negative test before traveling to another country.

But again, it depends on your destination. Check Covid-related requirements at local government and tourism sites. CNN Travel Guides to Unlock the World provide up-to-date information on many popular destinations
A traveler takes a photo of a Covid-19 test poster at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) in February 2021.

A traveler takes a photo of a Covid-19 test poster at Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) in February 2021.

Patrick T. Fallon / AFP via Getty Images

The time to take a test before departure varies by destination, and there may be requirements related to the type of test or test provider, as is the case in Hawaii.
Not all destinations require a test. For example, Mexico has one of the most relaxed travel policies in the world. Currently, the country does not require testing or quarantine for international arrivals.

Do I need a Covid-19 negative test to enter the United States?

All passengers two years of age or older entering the United States must have a negative Covid-19 test result taken within three days of the flight to the US or documentation indicating that you have recovered from Covid-19.

The requirement includes U.S. citizens and legal permanent residents returning to the United States.

Non-essential travel is restricted to the U.S. land borders with Canada and Mexico.

Travelers arrive at a hotel in Melbourne, Australia, to be quarantined in December 2020.

Travelers arrive at a hotel in Melbourne, Australia, to be quarantined in December 2020.

WILLIAM WEST / AFP / Getty Images

Will I have to quarantine?

Some countries require all travelers to be quarantined and have strict restrictions on acceptable reasons for entering. Others have no quarantine requirements (Mexico, for example) or are much less restrictive.

Travelers entering Canada, including those who have been negative or have recovered from Covid-19 or have been vaccinated, should be quarantined or face more severe fines or sanctions. International leisure and tourism arrivals are entry prohibited.

Many popular tourist destinations in the Caribbean and elsewhere have adopted testing standards that allow international arrivals to avoid quarantine requirements with negative results.

It is important to check the specific requirements for your destination and to return home.

Do I need to get vaccinated for international travel?

It is complicated. Some countries are beginning to open borders to vaccinated travelers who would otherwise be barred from entering. Travelers from non-Schengen countries, including the United States and the United Kingdom, will soon be able to visit Iceland with vaccination or recovery tests for Covid. according to the Ministry of Health.

Some countries allow vaccinated travelers to avoid entry requirements they would otherwise have to meet, such as negative Covid-19 tests and quarantines. For example, travelers to Belize can skip the Covid tests before departure.

Therefore, although vaccination may not be a requirement for travel, the vaccination test could significantly smooth the trip.

But getting vaccinated is far from a carte blanche. Some countries only host vaccinated travelers from specific areas, such as the European Economic Area. And many have yet to make any decisions about vaccinated visitors.

Therefore, even if you get vaccinated, you need to make sure that your destination will accommodate inoculated travelers from your location.

International air travelers are likely to share health information in the future through new apps.

International air travelers are likely to share health information in the future through new apps.

Daniel Slim / AFP via Getty Images

How can I share test results and vaccination status with travel providers?

The confusing mess of Covid regulations continues.

In the United States, incoming travelers must submit a “verifiable test result” to their airline. “It must be in the form of written documentation (paper or electronic copy) of a lab test result,” according to the CDC.

Whenever possible, take electronic and paper copies wherever you travel.

The process for sharing test results and vaccination status varies by destination, and in some cases are only valid in specific languages.

There are a number of digital applications (commonly known as “vaccine passports” or “vaccination certificates”) under development that aim to streamline health information so that it can be shared securely across borders.

Numerous international airlines plan to test the international air transport association Travel Pass. Clear’s Health Pass and Common Pass are also health information applications.
Tourists line up to board a boat in Playa del Carmen, Mexico, on March 3, 2021. Mexico has some of the loosest travel rules in the world.

Tourists line up to board a boat in Playa del Carmen, Mexico, on March 3, 2021. Mexico has some of the loosest travel rules in the world.

Daniel Slim / AFP via Getty Images

I plan to travel. What can I do to reduce the risk of contracting or spreading the virus?

The mitigation strategies you use at home apply to the road. Vigilant hand hygiene, social distancing, and the use of masks are key, as well as avoiding crowded interior spaces.

It is considered air travel more risky by the CDC than travel by car due to unavoidable contact with other people at airports and on board flights, although there are few documented cases of transmission on board.

The advanced air filtration used in commercial aircraft, in addition to the mandates of masks on aircraft, helps reduce risk during flight.

Limiting stops and contact with other people during road trips, social distancing, and opting for contactless check-in at hotels are important ways to reduce risk. As well as focusing on outdoor activities and avoiding close contact with people outside of their bubble.

Hopefully, in the coming months, our worlds will expand far beyond our bubbles, with warm country-by-country calculations.

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