The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has given some relaxation in its COVID19 travel guidelines. The agency has decided to widen the acceptance of different types of COVID tests for international travelers, who want to come to the US. The officials from the CDC have said that the agency will accept at-home COVID19 tests for people who are traveling to the US from around the world. From now onwards, people who are traveling to the US from across the world will be allowed to furnish negative COVID19 test that has been taken at home. In the last week of January 2021, the US has commanded people who want to visit the US from other countries to carry proof of the negative COVID19 test that should not be older than 72 hours before the departure of the flight. At that time, the CDC has said that a gold-standard PCR test or a rapid antigen test will be accepted for entry into the US. The agency has clearly said that the at-home COVID19 test will not be valid to enter the country. Now a self-administered COVID19 test that is taken at home will be valid for visiting the US. However it should meet some criteria, said the officials from the CDC.
The officials from the agency have said that the COVID19 test should be a SARS-CoV-2 test, which means it should be either a nucleic acid amplification test (NAAT) or an antigen test. As per the CDC, the home-based test should be authorized by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) with Emergency Use Authorization (EUA). Experts have said that the at-home test should be taken with the help of a telehealth service provided by the manufacturer of the test. It will offer real-time supervision virtually via an audio and video connection. There should be a health authority to monitor the traveler while performing the test, he, or she will certify that the person has taken the test correctly and the findings are credible. It is the responsibility of the telehealth services to confirm the identity of the traveler and the findings of the test. They will issue the test report as well that should meet the requirement of the CDC. The travel provider needs to review and confirm the finding of the at-home test and match it with the traveler’s identity. This decision of the agency will be a positive change for travelers who might be finding it hard to source a COVID19 test in a foreign country.
This option to perform an at-home COVID19 test will help travelers to keep a COVID19 test in their bag and take it before traveling back to the US after performing it in front of a telehealth provider. Many experts have said that it is an encouraging step that will make the international travel process easy along with that it will continue to prioritize the wellbeing and safety of the travelers and employees who are willing to visit the US. Although the agency has made the testing requirements easy for international travelers on return to the country, the CDC has still warned against international travel for those who have not been fully vaccinated yet. The agency has said in its guidelines that international travel includes major risks and even travelers who have been fully vaccinated are at a greater risk of contracting and spreading new strains of the SARS-CoV-2 virus. Overall, the agency has suggested that people, who are not vaccinated with two full doses of the COVID19 vaccine, should delay their international travel at this time.