Ongoing pandemic leads to new travel policies

COVID-19 Testing Passport.
Photo courtesy Health Magazine

As the pandemic continues unabated into the new year, new orders and polices have been set in place to control the spread of the virus. For the safety of the public, international travel has been placed with pre-cautionary procedures following travelers’ return to the U.S. The Department of State has announced that all passengers arriving in the U.S. from a foreign country must present a negative test result or documentation of recovery.

In an order effective Jan 25, the CDC said, “Pre-departure testing does not eliminate all risk. However, when pre-departure testing is combined with other measures such as self-monitoring for symptoms of COVID-19, wearing masks, social distancing, and hand hygiene, it can make travel safer by reducing spread on conveyances, in transportation hubs, and at destinations.”

With the new polices in place, Americans who have already planned their vacations for the upcoming year now must adjust their travel checklist to include a COVID-19 testing site in their itinerary. Future traveler, Ayesha Palmer  grew concerns for her group trip to the Dominican Republic due to confusion on how the group would find testing in another country.

“At first as a group we thought we would need to cancel the trip, but then I contacted the hotel and found out that they offer rapid testing at the resort. They also told us that if we did become sick, the resort would also pay through the quarantine period. To be extra safe as a group we collectively decided to get tested prior to the trip, so we felt more comfortable continuing the trip once we knew we were covered,” Palmer said.

Testing sites and clinics are busy daily with people as wanting to be tested. Travel agencies are now offering rapid COVID-19 testing for travelers, as well as other vaccine requirements for entry and exitto the United States. Passport Health, North America’s leading provider for travel health, offers testing nationwide at over 270 locations. As testing sites are expected to push excess numbers following the CDC orders, travel agencies remind patrons that their mission is travel health, and not primary health.

“Our primary focus is on individuals needing proof of a negative COVID-19 test to fly and to return to work or school. We generally do not test anyone with an active infection or anyone who has come in contact with someone suspected of having COVID-19. Anyone with an active infection should call a care facility or local health agency,” Travel Health reports on its website.