Traveling internationally is complicated in the era of COVID-19. Checking all the latest updates, especially any of the CDC’s travel requirements is the most important thing right now. And even then, those rules can change at the last minute leaving you scrambling to make sure you won’t be stranded in a different country or losing your travel investment.
The CDC expanded its travel requirements yesterday. Starting on January 26th, you will need a negative test 72 hours prior to flying home. This can complicate your travels and add to the overall cost of your trip.
Before departure to the United States, a required test, combined with the CDC recommendations to get tested again 3-5 days after arrival and stay home for 7 days post-travel, will help slow the spread of COVID-19 within US communities from travel-related infections. Pre-departure testing with results known and acted upon before travel begins will help identify infected travelers before they board airplanes.
Robert Redfield from the CDC recognizes that “testing does not eliminate all risks” but he does say that when it is “combined with a period of staying at home and everyday precautions like wearing masks and social distancing, it can make travel safer, healthier, and more responsible by reducing spread on planes, in airports, and at destinations.”
The problem that I can see is actually finding testing centers as well as the cost of taking these tests to fly back home.
ASTA’s Response to CDC’s Travel Requirements
ASTA supports an accurate, rapid-response testing regime for airline travelers in lieu of mandatory quarantines and travel bans. However, requiring a negative COVID-19 test within 72 hours of departure will not ensure that COVID-19 will not spread. It is very possible to be infected within 72 hours of having received a negative test result. As the CDC has already acknowledged, on its own, the new testing regulation will not halt the virus’ spread due to lag time between test and flight, incubation period, and false positives.
I will be compiling a list of places where you can receive COVID-19 tests while traveling abroad. I suggest that you sign up for my newsletter to receive it in your inbox as soon as it’s available.