New CDC travel order could be good for industry, travel analyst says

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- The CDC's new order requiring international passengers entering the U.S. to have a negative COVID-19 test follows rules already in place in other countries.

"This is actually good for international travel, because it may, when the time is right, encourage more people to consider visiting the US," says Henry Harteveldt, a travel industry analyst for Atmosphere Research Group.

In a statement, the CDC's director, Robert R. Redfield, M.D. said, "Testing does not eliminate all risk, but when combined with a period of staying at home and everyday precautions like wearing masks and social distancing, it can make travel safer, healthier, and more responsible by reducing spread on planes, in airports, and at destinations."

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At SFO, ABC7found several passengers already choosing to get tested before traveling.

"I had to make a COVID test 72 hours before departure," said Paul Rybinski, who said the company he works for required the test.

"It was actually pretty simple for us, we just came from an international flight and we had no problem getting a COVID test ," said Trask Court, who was traveling from Istanbul with his family.

"It's all for everyone's safety, I think that should be standard," said Taulib Ikharo.

One passenger said he doesn't think the new order is realistic.
"I'm not quite sure about the negative test, I think the health questionnaire is probably plenty. The testing facility could get overwhelmed."

Harteveldt says while he believes the CDC order is the right move, it could hurt the travel industry even more.

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"The risk, however, is that Americans who are thinking of traveling abroad may think twice, because if they have to get a test to prove their COVID status before returning, they may say, you know what, I don't want to do that. I'll just travel somewhere within the US instead."

His advice to fellow travelers, do even more research than usual.

"So for anyone considering an international trip, before you go, I would encourage you to explore options to get the test before you return. If you can't find it, you may want to rethink your travel plans," he added.

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