Starting in January 2021, the CDC began requiring travelers to have a negative COVID-19 test in order to get back into the country. Now, with vaccines on the rise and COVID-19 cases trending downward, travel companies say people have been booking trips to foreign countries once again.
But, a lot of people are now finding themselves stuck in other countries after testing positive for the virus including Houston resident Antonio Delgado who said he was stranded after he and his wife traveled to Mexico for their anniversary.
Per the CDC, no one is able to fly into the U.S. until cleared by a doctor or proof of a negative test three days prior to travel. In cases like Delgado's, travelers have been told to isolate between 10 to 14 days in the foreign country.
COVID-19 is already widespread in the U.S., with more than 22 million cases reported to date. The new measures are designed to try to prevent travelers from bringing in newer forms of the virus that scientists say can spread more easily.
The CDC order applies to U.S. citizens as well as foreign travelers. International travel to the U.S. has already been decimated by pandemic restrictions put in place last March that banned most foreigners from Europe and other areas. Travel by foreigners to the U.S. and by Americans to international destinations in December 2020 was down 76% compared to a year earlier, according to trade group Airlines for America.
Airlines are ordered to stop passengers from boarding if they don't have proof of a negative test.
"Testing does not eliminate all risk," then-CDC Director Robert R. Redfield said last year in a statement. "But when combined with a period of staying at home and everyday precautions like wearing masks and social distancing, it can make travel safer, healthier, and more responsible by reducing spread on planes, in airports, and at destinations."
The Associated Press contributed the this report.
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Houston couple stranded in Mexico after testing positive for COVID-19