Despite growing numbers of vaccinated Americans, CDC advises U.S. residents to refrain from travel because of new COVID-19 outbreaks
Rochelle Walenski, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), said Friday that despite relatively low risks for fully vaccinated people, public health authorities are urging Americans to refrain from travel for now because of new coronavirus outbreaks occurring across the country. Walenski said this while speaking to reporters at the White House, Reuters reported.
“We know that right now the number of cases (of infections) is increasing. I’m opposed to conventional travel in general,” Walenski said, “We don’t recommend travel at this time, especially to unvaccinated people.
Walenski made the statement after the agency she heads announced Friday morning that it had changed its travel recommendations. The document calls travel “low-risk” for people who have been fully vaccinated. The CDC allowed vaccinated seniors to take air travel. In addition, vaccinated people now do not have to be tested and quarantined upon arrival if they take every precaution by wearing masks and keeping their distance.
Roger Doe, executive director of the U.S. Travel Association, called the new CDC guidance “an important step in the right direction,” which was in line with scientific advice and designed to help the travel and aviation industries hardest hit by the pandemic.
However, the administration has not lifted the ban on most foreigners who have recently traveled to China, Brazil, South Africa and most European nations. The CDC did not waive the requirement for all foreigners to provide a negative test for COVID-19 before traveling to the United States.
A White House spokesman told Reuters that the Biden administration has begun talks about possibly lifting the bans, but it is unlikely to happen anytime soon. The U.S. also maintains restrictions on entry across land borders with Canada and Mexico.
Meanwhile, the campaign to vaccinate Americans continues at an accelerated pace. As of Friday morning, 157.6 million doses of coronavirus vaccines had already been administered in the United States, and more than 204 million doses have already been distributed nationwide, the CDC said.
101.8 million Americans – more than a third of all adults – have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine, and 57.9 million U.S. residents, or 17.5% of all adults, have been fully vaccinated.