CDC revises travel and testing guidance

Nov. 30, 2020

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently revised the Travel Health Notice system for COVID-19 and released new recommendations for testing before and after international air travel to help the public make informed decisions for safer, healthier, and more responsible travel during the COVID-19 pandemic, the agency said.

The CDC’s Travel Health Notices inform travelers and clinicians about current health issues in destinations around the world. For most diseases, the Travel Health Notices have 3 levels. This new 4-level travel health notice system is specific to COVID-19 and details the level of COVID-19 in international destinations and U.S. territories.

The CDC said the COVID-19 Travel Health Notices now indicate low, moderate, high, and very high levels of COVID-19 for each destination and are based primarily on incidence rate (or new case counts in destinations with populations of 200,000 or less) and trajectory of new cases (whether new cases over the past 28 days are increasing, decreasing, or stable).

CDC has also released new travel and testing recommendations for international air travelers based on the best public health advice available. The CDC said it now recommends that international air travelers get tested with a viral test 1-3 days before their flight to reduce spread during travel. Travelers should get tested 3-5 days after travel and stay home for 7 days. If the test is negative, the traveler should stay home for the full 7 days. If a traveler does not get tested, it is safest to stay home for 14 days. These new recommendations are important steps in controlling the spread of COVID-19. 

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