Tested positive for COVID-19 while traveling? This is what needs to be done

OneAfter two years of living with the pandemic, Americans collectively are ready for a vacation. About 85% of people in the United States are expected to travel this summer, according to data from the industry trade group the American Travel Association. Many others didn’t even wait that long. Nearly 2.3 million people pass through U.S. Transportation Security Administration checkpoints on April 10, just slightly less than that date in 2019.

However, even if we wanted to, it’s not always possible for us to take a vacation from COVID-19. The virus is still circulating widely, including in popular tourist destinations such as England, Germany, France and Italy. That means you get sick while traveling is a real possibility – and one that can turn into a costly and stressful logistical headache.

What happens if you get COVID-19 while traveling internationally?

To enter the United States, international travelers now need negative COVID-19 test results obtained within one day of their flight or proof that they have recovered from COVID-19 in the past 90 days. (This policy applies to both US citizens and non-citizens, but children under 2 are exempt.) Without one of those documents, you cannot board a flight bound for the United States. . If you test positive, you should isolate and delay travel for 10 daysaccording to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

But where will you be if you need to quarantine abroad? And who pays for the extended accommodation and rescheduled flights?

The specifics vary from country to country, but the short answer is that tourists often get stuck. Exceptions to the return-testing policy may be granted on an “extremely limited” basis, such as during an emergency medical evacuation or humanitarian crisis, the CDC says – but casual vacationers won’t have much choice but to pay to extend their stay.

“Have a plan in case you have to stay abroad longer than expected,” US State Department written on its website. “This includes being prepared to cover additional accommodation costs, airfare change fees, and any other additional costs they may incur as a result of an unscheduled extension.”

Some travel insurance covers additional costs incurred as a result of a COVID-19 case, but policies may not cover all costs associated with renewals, according to a spokesperson for the Insurance Association. United States Travel Insurance. “Travelers concerned about this potential disruption to their travel should first seek out a policy that includes illness or isolation as a covered reason, and then determine what benefits are excluded. separation and limitations of those benefits,” they wrote in a statement.

A spokesperson for the State Department said travelers subject to quarantine should contact their hotels and airlines to arrange accommodation and rebook trips, and if necessary, seek assistance from the agent. nearest US embassy or consulate. The spokesperson added that US citizens traveling abroad are subject to local quarantine rules, which may differ from those set forth by the US CDC.

Some countries maintain “quarantine hotels,” where travelers can quarantine on arrival (if the country requires it) or get through their quarantine. USA Today report that some resorts even offer discounted rates for guests who have to extend their stay to quarantine. However, it’s smart to check in advance as these hotels are not available in all areas and their costs vary widely.

Aliya Waldman, 29, and lives in Missouri, was staying in a quarantine hotel after catching COVID-19 during a trip in March with the Birthright program, which organizes visits to Israel for young Jewish people. Waldman was asked to stay at the hotel for a week, even though she tested negative after five days in quarantine. She believes the cost of her new stay and flight back were covered by Birthright, but said the experience has made her think twice about traveling abroad independently during the pandemic. “I wouldn’t be able to afford to be stuck in another country,” she said.

It is not clear how long international travelers will be subject to CDC testing requirements. Four trade groups — the Travel Association of America, Airlines of America, the Association of Lodging and Hotels of America, and the American Chamber of Commerce — recently urged the White House coronavirus mogul to suspend the policy. that, because many Americans have some immunity to the virus due to vaccination and previous exposure, and therefore at a lower risk than earlier in the pandemic. “Although it offers few health benefits, this requirement discourages travel by incurring additional costs and fear of being stranded abroad,” they wrote in the letter. a joint letter.

What happens if you get COVID-19 while traveling within the US?

There is no negative test requirement for most domestic transport, just mask quest that CDC says will operate until at least May 3. But that doesn’t mean you should get on a plane, train or bus if you’re sick. The CDC says do not travel if you have symptoms of COVID-19 or have tested positive and have not completed the quarantine period. However, there is no test requirement, that instruction is heavily dependent on the honor system.

However, travelers who test positive for COVID-19 in the United States should self-quarantine where they are, if there is no way to get home by private transportation. However, finding a place to do so can be difficult. Some US cities have hotel quarantine programs, including New York City and Philadelphiaare bringing them down, and Airbnb says guests shouldn’t subscribe to listings if they have COVID-19. However, the competitive rental platform Vrbo, speak Conde Nast Traveler that its own properties could be “an ideal accommodation option for guests in need of isolation or self-isolation.”

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