ALBANY – New York has lifted its COVID-19 quarantine and testing requirements for international travelers.
The move, which was announced Saturday, follows New York’s decision April 1 to end its quarantine on visitors coming to the state from another state or U.S. territory.
“Asymptomatic travelers entering New York from another country, U.S. state, or territory are no longer required to test or quarantine as of April 10, 2021,” the state Department of Health announced on its website.
The state said that a quarantine, consistent with recommendations from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, is still recommended for all travelers who are not fully vaccinated or have not recovered from laboratory confirmed COVID-19 during the previous 3 months.
The loosening of international restrictions is particularly significant in New York, which is a national hub for global travelers.
New York was the hardest hit state in the early months of the pandemic last year, and Gov. Andrew Cuomo contended the spread was due to travel from Europe to the tri-state area.
But as more people get vaccinated and COVID cases dropped from post-holiday season highs, New York and other states have loosened restrictions.
“One in four New Yorkers has been fully vaccinated, which is great,” Cuomo said Monday. “Thirty-eight percent of New Yorkers have gotten at least one dose. We’re working on more supply. Supply is the limiting factor right now. But our distribution network is up and robust.”
The state Department of Health still warned that international travelers need to take precautions when returning from abroad.
“The travel guidelines require all New Yorkers, as well as those visiting from out-of-state or another country, to take personal responsibility for compliance in the best interest of public health and safety,” the health department warned.
Here are some of the guidance still required for international and domestic travelers:
- Symptomatic travelers must self-isolate and contact the local health department or their healthcare providers to determine if they should seek COVID-19 testing.
- All travelers must complete the Traveler Health Form unless the traveler had left New York for less than 24 hours or is coming from a contiguous state: Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Connecticut, Massachusetts and Vermont.
Irrespective of a quarantine, all travelers must:
- Monitor symptoms daily from day of arrival in New York through day 14.
- Continue COVID safety steps, including hand hygiene, social distancing and the use of face coverings.
- Self-isolate if any symptoms develop and contact the local public health authority or their healthcare provider and determine if they should seek testing.
To be considered fully vaccinated, two or more weeks must have passed since the traveler’s final vaccine, whether it is the one shot for the Johnson & Johnson one or the two doses for Pfizer and Moderna.
Both the CDC and New York still recommend delaying international travel until the traveler is fully vaccinated.
And international travelers must comply with CDC requirements, which includes proof of a negative test or recent COVID recovery in order to board airplanes headed to the U.S.
For all unvaccinated domestic travelers, those who have not recovered from COVID-19 in the past 3 months are recommended to get tested 3-5 days after arrival in New York and consider non-mandated self-quarantine (7 days if tested on day 3-5, otherwise 10 days).
They should also avoid contact with people at higher risk for severe disease for 14 days, regardless of test results, the state said.
Currently, the CDC does not require quarantine, work furlough or testing requirements for asymptomatic international travelers.
So New York is following the same recommendations, but also wants fully vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals who have not recovered from COVID in the past 3 months to get tested 3-5 days after arrival in New York.
Joseph Spector is the Government and Politics Editor for the USA TODAY Network’s Atlantic Group, overseeing coverage in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Maryland and Delaware. He can be reached at JSPECTOR@Gannett.com or followed on Twitter: @GannettAlbany
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