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CDC says anyone traveling internationally by plane should get tested before and after their trip

Travelers should be planning 2 weeks ahead
CDC says anyone traveling internationally by plane should get tested before and after their trip
Posted at 5:01 AM, Nov 25, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-25 08:01:21-05

Anyone who plans to travel internationally should get tested for COVID-19 before and after their trip, according to new Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommendations.

In addition, the CDC says anyone returning from international travel should isolate for at least seven days — even if they test negative for COVID-19 upon their return.

Planning ahead

In the new guidance published to its website, the CDC recommends travelers plan ahead several weeks before travel.

The CDC says to avoid high-risk activities like large social gatherings (parties, weddings, funerals, sporting events), indoor recreation (bars, restaurants, fitness centers) and taking public transportation for at least two weeks.

As the travel date approaches, the CDC recommends receiving a test between one and three days before boarding an international flight — but also to make sure test results are available before the flight departs. If the test results aren't back in time, the CDC recommends delaying travel.

The CDC stresses that anyone who tests positive for COVID-19 should not travel — anyone who tests positive should immediately isolate and follow public health recommendations.

The CDC also says that anyone who tests negative should still wear a mask, maintain 6 feet of social distance and wash hands frequently while traveling.

"A negative test does not mean that you were not exposed or that you will not develop COVID-19," the CDC says on its website.

Finally, travelers should carry a copy of their test results with them — officials in other countries may ask to see them.

Upon Return

Upon return to the U.S., travelers should get another COVID-19 test within three to five days upon return. Even if that test comes back negative, the CDC urges a full week of self-isolation.

"You may have been exposed to COVID-19 on your travels. You may feel well and not have any symptoms, but you can be contagious without symptoms and spread the virus to others. You and your travel companions (including children) pose a risk to your family, friends, and community for 14 days after you were exposed to the virus," the CDC writes on its website.

Anyone who chooses not to get tested upon their return to the U.S. should stay home for 14 days.

Places where it's safe to travel

The CDC's website also includes risk assessment maps to help travelers determine where COVID-19 is spreading. As of Wednesday morning, nearly every country around the world was listed as a Level 4 risk — the highest level listed by the CDC.

Click here to see the CDC's risk assessment map.