US CDC says fully vaccinated people who take precautions can travel

Health agency still advises against domestic and international trips

Fully vaccinated people can travel safely, according to newly released guidelines from the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention.

But the US health agency still advises against domestic and international travel because cases are rising across the country.

“We know that right now, we have a surging number of cases. I would advocate against general travel overall,” agency director Dr Rochelle Walensky said in a White House Covid-19 Task Force briefing on Friday.

“Our guidance is silent on recommending or not recommending fully vaccinated people travel; our guidance speaks to the safety of doing so. If you are vaccinated, it’s lower risk.”

The agency says fully vaccinated people do not need to be tested for the coronavirus before or after travel.

They also do not need to quarantine upon their return.

Those who are unvaccinated must still be tested for the virus before and after travel, and follow local and regional quarantine requirements.

Everyone is still advised to properly wear a face mask, avoid crowds, practise social distancing and wash their hands frequently when travelling.

Fully immunised people should continue to watch for any possible symptom, the agency says.

A person is considered fully vaccinated two weeks after receiving the second dose of either the Moderna or Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, or two weeks after the single dose of a Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

More than 59 million people in the US, 16.9 per cent of the population, is considered fully vaccinated.

More than 99 million people have had at least one dose.

The agency says people should wait until they are fully vaccinated to travel because doing so beforehand “increases your chance of getting and spreading Covid-19”.

Travel has been increasing in the US of late, with the Transport Security Agency recording more than 1.5 million travellers on Thursday.

This is remarkably higher than the 124,000 recorded on April 1 last year, though lower than the 2.4 million travellers recorded on the same day in 2019.

The US is registering about 60,000 new cases of Covid-19 each day amid concern of a fourth surge, leading to the health agency’s current guidance against non-essential travel.

The agency reported a seven-day-average trend of about 879 daily deaths to Covid-19.

“We all want to return to the things that we love,” Dr Walensky said.

“Getting more people vaccinated as quickly as possible and taking prevention measures to stop the spread of Covid-19 is the path out of this pandemic and back to our everyday activities.”

The new travel guidelines follow earlier guidance on gatherings.

Fully immunised people can safely gather indoors with one another and with those who are at low risk of severe illness from Covid-19.

Otherwise, precautions such as face masks, social distancing and ventilation are advised indoors if they meet someone who is at high risk of severe illness from Covid-19.

Updated: April 4, 2021 08:40 PM

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