travel guidelines omicron: Omicron is here. Should you cancel your trip?

To cancel or not to cancel. That is the question that travelers are grappling with as the omicron variant scuttles around the world, reminding people that the pandemic roller-coaster ride is far from over. What’s different this time around is that the holiday travel season is right around the corner, and tourism, in general, has finally started to rebound.

Whether the variant, which has been identified in at least 20 countries, is more severe or more transmissible than other forms of the coronavirus will likely remain unknown for at least two weeks.

Though most people are by now experienced with making high-stakes health-risk assessments in the face of incomplete information, that doesn’t make the decision about whether to travel or not easy.

Courtney Niebrzydowski, an international travel risk analyst at the University of Denver, said she urges people to ask themselves two primary questions when they consider traveling:
1. Can this travel be postponed?
and 2. How flexible can you be?

She also urges people to think through all the scenarios that could emerge if they travel — like testing positive, facing a canceled return flight or learning last minute that their destination country has expanded its quarantine requirement — and map out detailed contingency plans, including costs, missed obligations and how to approach health care. Often, she said, after going through this exercise, people have “less appetite for travel.”

The World Health Organization recommends that people who are not fully vaccinated, have not previously been infected, are 60 years or older or have comorbidities such as heart disease, cancer and diabetes should postpone travel to areas with community transmission.

READ  Trump inaugural committee head Thomas Barrack accused of being UAE agent

Jessica Herzstein, a physician who advises organizations on how to manage the coronavirus and other health risks, including those associated with travel, said that she discourages anyone who is unvaccinated or immune-compromised from traveling. She also advises travelers going to destinations with a particularly high prevalence of cases to consider canceling. For those planning to travel, Herzstein strongly advises booster shots for those eligible and to take along a supply of at-home rapid antigen tests.

David Freedman, the president-elect of the American Society of Tropical Medicine and Hygiene, said that the type of mask one wears while traveling is particularly important. Freedman discourages people from wearing cloth or homemade masks; N95 or KN95 masks are preferable, he said.

It is difficult to assess how likely it is that a traveler will encounter an infected individual while flying to their destination. This is particularly important to consider when traveling with children too young to be vaccinated or to wear a mask.

Creating a shorter window for testing — as the U.S. recently did for everyone flying into the country from abroad, regardless of nationality — makes sense, Freedman said. Testing three days before a flight can miss those who are incubating the virus and could be contagious and test positive by the time they board their plane. He said that a flight with a PCR test requirement is also lower risk than a flight requiring an antigen test. But, he added, there is potentially more risk of transmission in airports than on planes, with their advanced air filtration systems. So much is out of even a meticulous planner’s control.

READ  바이든은 러시아가 우크라이나에서 화학무기를 사용할 경우 NATO가 "대응할 것"이라고 말했습니다. 주지사는 미사일이 드니프로 인근 우크라이나 군부대를 타격했다고 말했다.

Part of the challenge that many people are struggling with is how to weigh the other variables — like the mental health benefits of celebrating Christmas with family, or the professional benefits that might come from interacting with co-workers face-to-face. It’s easier for governments to define “essential travel” than for individuals, said Niebrzydowski.

The fear of getting stuck is not unreasonable, said the travel risk experts. If a person tests positive, they will not be able to reenter most countries, until they test negative. Throughout the pandemic, many airlines have canceled flights at critical junctures, leaving people stranded for days — or even months.

One data point that determined travelers may want to consider, however, is that few nations have ever prohibited their own citizens from returning altogether.

“It’s pretty unheard of for a country to refuse to let one of their own citizens back in,” Freedman said. Throughout the pandemic, there have only been a few cases of this. (At one point China closed its land border with Russia to everyone, including Chinese citizens. Australia briefly prohibited its own citizens from returning from India.)

답글 남기기

이메일 주소는 공개되지 않습니다. 필수 필드는 *로 표시됩니다