By GETTY IMAGES
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Friday announced the easing of restrictions for people fully vaccinated against Covid-19, stating that inoculated individuals can travel safely without putting themselves at risk so long as they continue to wear mask and take other safety precautions.
The announcement follows recent data from studies showing that the Covid-19 vaccines have proven effective in real-world conditions at reducing risk of infection.
But the CDC continued to dissuade travel, pointing to an ever growing list of variants and rising Covid cases in the U.S. and around the world. “It’s our responsibility at the CDC to look at the evolving evidence of what is lower risk to do when you are fully vaccinated,” said CDC Director Rochelle Walensky Friday. “I would advocate against general travel overall."
Even so, Americans have been traveling in large numbers during spring break, with passenger volume reaching its highest in a year, according to the Wall Street Journal. The U.S. Virgin Islands, for example, has seen a large increase in flights at both airports, with the Cyril E. King Airport (CEKA) in St. Thomas seeing on average 24 flights per day from major carriers, according to Port Authority Executive Director Carlton Dowe, who said daily flights of major carriers range from a low of 18 per day to 28 at CEKA. The pent up demand for USVI travel comes as many international destinations remain closed, with tourist travel between the U.S. and Europe very limited.
The CDC said vaccinated people don't need to get tested before or after traveling domestically, nor do they need to quarantine. The same goes for Americans traveling internationally, but the CDC's guidelines are different from that of other nations, therefore Americans traveling abroad must still adhere to foreign guidelines.
For people coming into the U.S. from an international destination, a negative Covid-19 test, or proof of recovery from a recent infection must be provided before boarding a flight, said the CDC.
Relative to people who have not been fully vaccinated and want to travel internationally, they must still take a test before and after the trip and self-quarantine for a period of time, with the CDC dissuading travel for those individuals altogether. Covid-19 testing is not required before domestic flights.
In March, the CDC said fully vaccinated people can gather privately in small groups without wearing masks or social distancing. It said vaccinated people don't need to quarantine or receive a test after being exposed to the virus. And they can visit unvaccinated people without wearing masks or social distancing, so long as those persons are at low risk for severe cases of the disease.
For persons living in non-medical facilities such as prisons, they are to still get tested or quarantine after being exposed to Covid-19, said the CDC. Vaccinated employees at those facilities or other heavily populated workplaces don't need to quarantine, but should continually get tested.