Should you quarantine after returning from holiday trips? Here's what Bay Area travelers say

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- The coronavirus pandemic and the state-issued quarantine were not enough to stop people from heading home Sunday night.

Eric Garo was heading to SFO to catch a flight back to South Korea where he works.

"I'm going to be quarantined for 14 days automatically," he said. "I need two negative tests to be able to get out, but If I have a positive test at all, I'm going to be put in isolation and it will be through Christmas and New Years."

He had traveled to the Bay Area to see his family, taking every precaution not to get sick. He took a picture of his flight to the U.S., which showed a nearly empty plane, suggesting Korea to SFO was not a popular route.

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Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, said he can't see how the current restrictions and recommendations around Thanksgiving would be relaxed by Christmas.



He says the United States has a lot to learn from how South Koreans have handled the pandemic.

"They are very strict and it's taken so much seriously. And everyone wears a mask," said Garo.

California issued a travel advisory on November 13, urging everyone coming into the state to quarantine for 14 days.

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Dave Lall said he arrived at SFO on Saturday after visiting family in New Jersey. He wasn't planning on quarantining, but then woke up Sunday feeling sick.

"Just a little cold, a little under the weather," he said.

He works for an airline at SFO and was supposed to go in on Sunday, but decided to call out sick. Though, he said another 13 days at home is unlikely.

"I'm going to go back tomorrow. I think I feel better," added Lall.

Another traveler, Tewodros Amare, said he just got back from a trip to Ethiopia.

"I felt like I was almost by myself," said Amare of the plane flight to the U.S.

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He said he got a COVID-19 test before he left, but was not planning on quarantining.

"I didn't feel any of those symptoms," said Amare.

He works as an Uber driver and was planning on continuing to work, though he realizes the risk.

"Five months ago, I stopped doing Uber because I was not feeling comfortable," he said about the peak this summer.

As the rate of positive cases continues to rise sharply, local public health departments are pulling the levers they can to curb cases.

Santa Clara is the only Bay Area county to implement a mandatory quarantine for travelers coming from more than 150 miles away. That goes into effect at 12:01 a.m. on Monday.

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