A travel warning is being issued by the agency to travelers regarding potential quarantine and testing requirements.
According to Travel + Leisure, the U.S. Department of State advised Americans leaving the country to prepare for potential quarantine and testing requirements due to the spread of highly contagious omicron variants.
“U.S. citizens who choose to travel internationally should be aware that they may face unexpected challenges related to COVID-19 as they attempt to return to the United States or attempt to travel from one overseas location to another,” a department advisory states.
“U.S. citizens who do choose to travel internationally should make contingency plans, as they may have to remain in a foreign country longer than originally planned, which will be at their own expense.”
The State Department recommends getting international trip cancellation and medical insurance that covers COVID-19-related trips, warning that Medicare and Medicaid will not necessarily cover medical expenses abroad.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the omicron variant has quickly become the dominant variant in the U.S., accounting for at least 58.6% of all cases.
Omicron causes nearly 90% of new cases in some areas of the country, including New York, New Jersey, and Texas.
The State Department’s warning comes at a time when several countries have tightened travel restrictions, including Thailand, Germany, and France, while others, including the Netherlands, have put their countries under lockdown.
U.S. citizens returning from abroad, as well as international travelers, must now get tested one day before boarding a flight.
“U.S. citizens planning to travel overseas or currently overseas and planning to return to the United States should also contact their airline for specific information about testing requirements for travelers,” according to the State Department.
“Airlines may adopt and modify their own specific policies to implement the CDC’s testing rule.”
In addition to pre-arrival testing, travelers with full vaccinations should also undergo a test three to five days following their return from an international trip, and self-monitor for COVID-19 symptoms following their return from a domestic trip.
It is also important for travelers without vaccinations to get tested three to five days after they return from a trip, whether national or international.
Even if they test negative, travelers should self-quarantine seven days afterward.