Doctors discuss holiday travel concerns and travel bans amid COVID-19 variants

GREEN BAY, Wis. (WBAY) – You may have been looking forward to visiting family for the holidays or taking a long-overdue vacation for months now, but how might the omicron and delta COVID-19 variants impact your travel plans?

“Knowing who has the disease is the only way to really truly isolate somebody and prevent that somebody from going into a different area and spreading it,” Dr. Ashok Rai, president and CEO of Prevea Health, said.

Besides getting tested, doctors said being fully vaccinated with your booster shot, if eligible, is still the best way to protect yourself against COVID while traveling. On Wednesday morning, December 8, Pfizer announced its booster dose provides protection against the emerging omicron variant. Doctors are still primarily concerned about the delta variant, which is causing most of the cases right now.

We’re currently in the middle of holiday travel season and some doctors wondered about the effectiveness of international travel bans.

“The theory maybe is that if there are cases in a location and it was isolated to that location then obviously stopping it from coming out of there would maybe slow things down,” inter-medical director for infection prevention at UW Health, Dr. Dan Shirley, shared. “We’ve already had kind of a pathway that we’ve noticed before that once you’ve started noticing cases anywhere else, it likely is everywhere because it’s so connected.”

The World Health Organization (W.H.O.) emphasized in their November 30 statement that blanket travel bans will not prevent international spread and would place a “heavy burden on lives and livelihoods.”

Doctors said being aware of the number of cases and masking requirements wherever you’re traveling to, both domestically and internationally, can help keep you safe this holiday season as you decide to follow through with any vacation or visiting plans.

To learn more about the C.D.C. travel guidelines for both domestic and international trips, CLICK HERE.

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