COVID-Positive with Travel Plans? What To Do

The advisability of travelling during the COVID era remains a hot topic. Is a positive test result a full stop to travel plans?

In the post-pandemic era with almost all restrictions lifted internationally, it's up to the traveller to decide next steps upon a positive diagnosis.

Travelling with the virus isn't forbidden, but it comes with risks of transmitting the virus to others, especially in congregate settings where groups of people are in close contact like planes, trains, coaches and cruise ships.

Canada's Official Stance

The Canadian Government advises that while travelling in and out of Canada if you feel sick or experience any symptoms of COVID-19 during your travel to Canada or upon arrival, you should:

  • Inform the flight attendant, cruise staff or a border services officer upon arrival. You may be referred to a Quarantine Officer for a health assessment and further direction.
  • Avoid taking public transportation.
  • Check provincial or territorial requirements for what you need to do if you're symptomatic or have tested positive for COVID-19.

While there's no indication that any government intends to reinstate vaccination requirements for travel as the newest flu season approaches, a new batch of COVID vaccines will be available to Canadians this fall, and the government's official stance is to encourage all Canadians, whether travelling or not, to stay current with their vaccinations.

CTV reports the Ontario government saying that high risk citizens will have the updated vaccine available beginning SEP, while "Everyone else will be able to get their dose starting in November from their family doctor, public health unit or participating pharmacy."

That timing might be good enough to help those intending to travel during the holiday season get up to date before they fly.

International Recommendations

According to National Geographic, the UK recommends self-isolation upon testing positive and to avoid contact with other people for five days. 

Europe has done away with all COVID-specific entry rules. 

Other countries have maintained certain travel restrictions. National Geographic reported that destinations like the Philippines, Bolivia, and China still enforce specific entry prerequisites. 

While many carriers have discarded mask mandates, some international operators and countries like China still deem them essential under certain conditions.

Travellers are advised to check advisories for any country they are intending to travel to for current COVID-related entry or travel requirements.

COVID-related Changes to Travel Plans

In the post-pandemic era, it's no longer easy to make changes to travel plans due to COVID. Most service providers have done away with the pandemic-induced cancellation policies and can legally ask pax to continue their journey or incur losses if they choose not to travel. 

However, experts point out that enhanced travel insurance policies remain essential for this very reason during the post-pandemic era, as Cancel-For-Any-Reason coverage may provide protection for pax who come down with COVID before or during travel and want avoid travelling and the risk to others.

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