COVID-19 testing no longer mandated for flights to the U.S., but testing and avoiding travel when sick still recommended

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MONTGOMERY, Ala. – Travelers returning to the United States from foreign countries by air this summer are relieved of one requirement. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has rescinded its order requiring a negative pre-departure COVID-19 test before flights to the United States.
This means air passengers no longer need to be tested and show a COVID-19 test result or documentation of recovery from COVID-19 before boarding a flight to the U.S. However, the CDC still recommends travelers boarding flights get tested for current infection with a viral test as close to the time of departure as possible (no more than three days) and not travel if they are sick.
The CDC offers these steps to take before traveling:

·        Make sure you are up to date with your COVID-19 vaccines before travel.
·        Check the current COVID-19 Community Level at your destination.
·        Make sure you understand and follow all state, tribal, local and territorial travel restrictions (https://www.cdc.gov/publichealthgateway/healthdirectories/index.html?ACSTrackingID=USCDC_2067-DM84094&ACSTrackingLabel=CDC%20Rescinds%20Order%20Requiring%20Negative%20Pre-Departure%20COVID-19%20Test%20Prior%20to%20Flight%20to%20the%20US&deliveryName=USCDC_2067-DM84094).
·        If you have a medical condition or are taking medication that weakens your immune system, you might NOT be fully protected, even if you are up to date with your COVID-19 vaccines. Talk to your healthcare provider before travel. Even after vaccination, you may need to continue taking all precautions.
·        Consider getting tested for current infection with a viral test as close to the time of departure as possible (no more than three days) before travel (https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/testing/diagnostic-testing.html?ACSTrackingID=USCDC_2067-DM84094&ACSTrackingLabel=CDC%20Rescinds%20Order%20Requiring%20Negative%20Pre-Departure%20COVID-19%20Test%20Prior%20to%20Flight%20to%20the%20US&deliveryName=USCDC_2067-DM84094)

CDC recommends people 2 years and older properly wear a well-fitting mask or respirator over the nose and mouth in indoor areas of public transportation and advises against travel if they:
·        Have COVID-19 symptoms
·        Tested positive for COVID-19
·        Are awaiting results of a COVID-19 test
·        Had close contact with a person with COVID-19 and are recommended to quarantine

A statement from the CDC explains the reasons international air travelers are no longer required to test before departure. “The COVID-19 pandemic has now shifted to a new phase, due to the widespread uptake of highly effective COVID-19 vaccines, the availability of effective therapeutics and the increase of high rates of vaccine, along with infection-induced immunity at the population level in the United States. Each of these measures has contributed to lower risk of severe disease and death across the United States.”

The Alabama Department of Public Health has COVID-19 information available at its website at  https://www.alabamapublichealth.gov/covid19/index.html.