US CDC says unvaccinated young foreign travellers do not need to quarantine

Passengers wait to check in at Tom Bradley international terminal at LAX airport, as the global outbreak of the coronavirus disease (Covid-19) continues, in Los Angeles, California, US, Nov 23, 2020
PHOTO: Reuters

WASHINGTON - The Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said on Saturday (Oct 30) that unvaccinated foreign nationals under the age of 18 traveling to the United States by air do not have to self-quarantine upon arrival.

CDC Director Rochelle Walensky on Saturday signed a revised order clarifying that foreign national children who have not been vaccinated against Covid-19 do not need to isolate for seven days upon arrival in the United States.

A CDC order issued on Monday had raised alarm among some foreign travellers that their children would need to quarantine for that long after arriving.

On Nov 8, the United States is lifting the extraordinary travel restrictions that have barred most non-US citizens who within the last 14 days have been in Britain, the 26 Schengen countries in Europe without border controls, Ireland, China, India, South Africa, Iran and Brazil. It is also imposing new rules requiring nearly all foreign adult air visitors to be vaccinated against Covid-19.

Airlines and others had pressed for the changes for foreign children, saying it would harm international tourism if children had to self-quarantine upon arrival. The exemption from self-quarantine also applies to unvaccinated foreign visitors who are part of clinical trials.

The CDC said earlier this week that non-tourist travellers from nearly 50 countries with nationwide vaccination rates of less than 10 per cent will also be eligible for exemption from the vaccine requirement but will need to self-quarantine for seven days upon arrival.

Those receiving an exemption will generally need to be vaccinated within 60 days after arriving in the United States.

The CDC has said it will accept any vaccine authorised for use by US regulators or the World Health Organisation and will accept mixed-dose coronavirus vaccines.

On Friday, the Homeland Security Department said travellers should be prepared for "longer than normal wait times" starting Nov 8 when the US allows fully vaccinated tourists to cross land borders. The United States has barred non-essential travellers crossing land borders from Mexico and Canada since March 2020.

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