Experts weigh in, provide advice on new CDC travel restrictions

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INDIANAPOLIS — Starting Tuesday, the CDC is requiring all U.S. travelers heading to other countries must present a negative COVID-19 test result before returning home. 

“Travelers coming into the United States from a foreign destination need to have a negative COVID test within 72 hours of departure from that country,” said Regenstrief Institute, Director of Public Health Informatics, Dr. Brian Dixon.

For the first time since the pandemic began those over the age of two must present that negative result to get home. If not, you won’t be able to board the plane. Dr. Cole Beeler, who is the Medical Director of Infection Prevention at IU Health, believes this comes from recent airline transmissions of the virus. 

“This is an order to try to prevent people who are infected from getting onto the airplane and infecting other people,” said Dr. Beeler.

And Dr. Dixon adds there’s also concern over new variants that are spreading.

“Either us citizens who have traveled abroad and picked up the virus and might be bringing it home. Or it could be foreign national seeking to come to the U.S.,” said Dr. Dixon.

Dr. Dixon also believes this should’ve been in place last summer or fall. Still, if you’re planning any international trips, he recommends double-checking resort policies and travel insurance. 

“Travel insurance will help cover medical costs for example if you get sick and need hospitalization in another country,” said Dr. Dixon.

When it comes to travel insurance, we do want to warn you to read the fine print. Many current plans don’t offer protections for cancelations due to the pandemic so make sure you know your options before you book.

Meanwhile, Dr. Beeler offers some last-minute advice for travelers while also sharing, he hasn’t gotten on a plane in a year. 

“I’m still very nervous about flying myself. And I’d be very cautious if you were to do so. Just make sure that you are masked, you are tested and you’re watching your symptoms after you go just so you can get tested again when you get back,” said. Dr. Beeler.

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