CORONAVIRUS

Coronavirus US: it is safe to travel even domestically?

Some countries will reopen their borders to tourists next month but there will be restrictions with several countries requiring a 14-day quarantine from arrival.

Coronavirus US: it is safe to travel even domestically?
JOSE JORDAN AFP

Travelling abroad, at least during the rest of this year and probably until a vaccine for Covid-19 is readily available will be very different to previous years. This is the first time we have suffered a pandemic in over 50 years – a highly contagious virus with no vaccine or cure as of the moment, has been able to spread across the world thanks to mass movement of people and cheap air travel.

Passengers from the first Lufthansa flight to Greece, following a nationwide lockdown against the spread of the coronavirus disease

Infection rates remain high in some countries so travelling in the short term will evidently change and isn’t without risk, either financially, to your health and that of others. So for the majority of people, holiday plans might have to be scaled back this year.

Stay home, stay safe, save lives

The US government are advising American citizens to avoid all non-essential international travel during the summer months. Some countries, such as Spain, have closed their borders to non-residents until the state of emergency is lifted and even those who are allowed to travel to and from another country, will likely have to follow a 14-day quarantine in the destination they are travelling to and in some cases, also on their return.

European countries are negotiating bilateral agreements with their neighbours and other countries with low infection rates to permit international travel of their citizens. Most European countries will keep borders closed until 15 June. Italy, Portugal, Greece and Germany have all stated that they expect to receive some tourism, but details of how and when have yet to emerge.

Travel this summer in the United States

The situation regarding vacations within the US is not that different. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) strongly advises against all non-essential travel within the US until infection rates start to go down. That is not to say holidays are banned completely. Travel restrictions vary from state to state -some, such as Alaska, Maine, Hawaii and Rhode Island are asking all incoming visitors to self-quarantine for two weeks. California, Colorado and Hawaii are discouraging visitors while the pandemic continues.

So if you are planning to take some time off to travel this summer make sure you organise your journey thoroughly and be aware that due to the current situation, some things might not go to plan – you may be asked to wear a mask during your journey, undergo a Covid-19 test at your destination or be placed in quarantine, expect longer delays at airports. Until a Covid-19 vaccine makes travel safe again, we are all going to have to adapt.