Can I Travel Abroad Amid the COVID-19 Crisis?

When the novel coronavirus first arrived in the United States, a lot of Americans didn’t know what to do or how to react. They had no idea what to expect. As schools and businesses began to shut down, people started to get the idea that we had troubled times ahead, but they didn’t know to what extent.

Around the middle of March and as people were laid off from their jobs and asked to work from home, it wasn’t uncommon to see people on Facebook and Instagram bragging about their cheap flights and how they traveled to places like Hawaii for next to nothing. Now that the news of the coronavirus has had its chance to sink in and people across the country have faced different degrees of home quarantine, the issue of international travel has taken a different turn.

Is it Okay to Travel Overseas?

Can you travel overseas? Should you? Or, will something or someone stop you from snatching up that once in a lifetime cheap flight to your dream destination? The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has offered its take on international travel. On the subject of international travel for “non-essential reasons” like vacations and honeymoons, the CDC says, “Please don’t.”

Why is the CDC urging Americans to avoid all nonessential international travel? The CDC cites different reasons including overwhelmed healthcare systems, limited access to medical care in areas that are heavily affected, travel restrictions in foreign countries, mandatory quarantines, border closings, and countries prohibiting non-citizens from entering with little notice.

“Airlines have canceled many international flights and in-country travel may be unpredictable. If you choose to travel internationally, your travel plans may be disrupted, and you may have to remain outside the United States for an indefinite length of time,” according to the CDC.

Related: COVID-19: What is Community Spread?

If you absolutely have to travel, follow these recommendations from the CDC:

  • Avoid having contact with sick people
  • Do not touch your eyes, nose, or mouth if you haven’t washed your hands
  • Wash your hands frequently with soap and water for at least 20 seconds
  • If soap and water aren’t available to wash your hands, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer

For more information, you can check out these resources for travelers provided by the CDC.

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