Before you leave home to travel, be sure you know the COVID protocol if you test positive on your trip.
Getting COVID-19 while away from home is a great fear for Travelers. But what is the COVID protocol if and when you test positive on a trip? Here’s a look at reasons to delay travel, steps to take if you test positive, plus tips for planning your trip as the pandemic lingers.
When to Delay Travel
First things first, under what conditions should you delay your trip? The best way to avoid testing positive while traveling is not to travel at all if you have any indication you might have COVID-19. Here’s what the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says about delaying travel due to COVID-19:
1. Delay travel if you’ve been exposed to COVID-19 and are not vaccinated. (You may proceed with your trip if you are not vaccinated but have recovered from COVID-19 in the previous 90 days.)
2. Delay travel if you are sick in any way.
3. Delay travel if you have tested positive for COVID-19 and remain in the isolation phase — even if you have been vaccinated.
4. Delay travel if you are still waiting on the results of a COVID-19 test. If your test comes back positive while you’re away, you will have to isolate and postpone your return. You may also affect others in your traveling party if you test positive abroad. Anyone exposed to you may also have to isolate and delay their return.
Of course, some who test positive for COVID-19 while traveling have no indication they are infected before leaving home. See the next section for specific steps to take if you test positive for COVID-19 while on a trip.
5 Steps: How to Respond if You Test Positive for COVID While Traveling
The hard part about testing positive while traveling is that different countries have different COVID protocols. But, in general, follow these 5 steps to ensure you do what’s needed to return home as soon as possible:
1. Follow local regulations: First and foremost, follow the COVID protocol in your host country. For example, anyone who tests positive while visiting Greece is transferred to a quarantine hotel. Anyone with COVID-19 remains in the quarantine hotel until they test negative. The government provides meals and covers the cost of quarantine.
2. Consider false positives: Do your best to ensure that your positive COVID-19 test is valid. There are many different types of COVID-19 tests, but none are 100% accurate at all times. Make sure to confirm you really have COVID-19.
3. Communicate with airlines: If you need to quarantine while traveling, let your airline know as soon as possible. Airlines have been incredibly flexible with passengers affected by the pandemic. Get in touch to start working through new arrangements for your travel home as needed.
4. Check your travel insurance: The Greek government covers the cost of quarantine hotels, but that’s not the case in all countries. For example, Italy requires visitors to pay quarantine fees when they test positive. If you have travel insurance that covers COVID-19, your insurance policy will pay all or some of the cost of quarantine. Check to see if you have travel insurance through work if you’re on a business trip and test positive.
5. Continue to test yourself: The best way to get out of quarantine is by testing negative. Most countries will have testing protocols in place for anyone in quarantine, but try to test yourself as often as possible.
If you really want to hedge your bets while traveling internationally, join a medical evacuation service like Covac Global or Crisis24. A medical evacuation service will return you home as soon as possible. While costly, this approach is preferable to quarantine for most Travelers.
COVID Protocol: How to Plan Your Trip
Travel planning is more difficult in the age of COVID-19, especially if you’re traveling internationally. Use helpful services like United’s interactive map that helps you understand COVID-19-related travel requirements for different destinations. At JTB Business Travel, we also offer a travel requirements search engine that enables you to identify requirements before you leave home.
Follow CDC guidelines to make sure it’s OK for you to travel in the first place. And then, use the resources linked above to better understand how you successfully gain entry into your destination country.
Travel Confidently for Business
When you need to leave the office for work, you should be able to travel confidently and focus on the job at hand. At JTB Business Travel, we offer Travelers support before, during and after their trips, giving them the services and resources needed to maximize comfort and productivity.