Travelers urged to take caution during the COVID-19 pandemic

Posted at 12:57 PM, Jul 23, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-23 14:57:25-04

After months of lockdowns and fears over the coronavirus, getting out of town for a while may seem appealing. One official, however, warns that may not be the best idea.

If you are thinking of traveling, and want to get peace of mind by getting tested for COVID-19 before stepping foot on a plane, think again. The pre-travel testing could create a false sense of security.

"A traveler from a location with widespread community transmission could be infected from the time the sample was taken and when the person boards the flight," said Dr. Sylvain Aldighieri, Incident Manager of the Pan American Health Organization.

Dr. Aldighieri says a test can also come back negative in the early stages of infection. While some counties in the Caribbean have reopened for non-essential travel, Aldighieri says that decision should not come quickly.

He calls on countries to plan for the risk of having travelers possibly import the virus by having contact tracing procedures in place, expanding the network labs to improve testing and by improving local healthcare systems.