Test positive for coronavirus abroad: what you need to know


If you test positive, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that you isolate and delay travel for 10 days, regardless of symptoms or a negative test performed during the isolation period. The country you are staying in may have its own quarantine and isolation rules. Rules differ from country to country and periods of isolation can be longer than the 10 days recommended by the CDC Across Europe, many countries follow the advice from the European Center for Disease Prevention and Control, which advises fully vaccinated people to self-isolate after testing positive. If their symptoms improve and they feel better for at least 24 hours and they test negative for the virus twice in 24 hours, they can stop self-isolating. Or, if after six days they test negative once, they can stop self-isolating. Unvaccinated people are advised to self-isolate for 10 days, but can leave isolation if they meet the same requirements for negative tests.

Some other destinations, particularly in Asia, may require mandatory quarantine or isolation at a government facility or designated hotel for 14 days or longer.

This will depend on the regulations in the country you are visiting, so be sure to check what they say on local Ministry of Health websites. In most places, tourists are not required to officially report a positive test result to the government, although if you took your test in person at a local health facility, the results are often sent to the health authority regional or national.

Most countries, including popular European destinations like Greece, Italy and France, allow visitors who test positive to choose their own accommodation during the recommended self-isolation period. You can find this information at United States Embassies Websites. If you’ve booked a hotel or Airbnb for your trip, it’s worth calling ahead and seeing what their isolation policy is and if they have availability if you need to extend your stay.

Some accommodations will require you to self-isolate in a separate room, even if your family members or travel companions test negative. You should also find out about access to food and medical facilities, especially if you are staying in a remote area.

It helps to have a plan B in place in case your hotel or rental cannot accommodate you, or to have a cheaper option available if you need to self-isolate for 10 days. Many countries have designated “quarantine hotels or apartments” and some resorts in popular tourist destinations like Spain, Portugal and Mexico are allowing guests to self-quarantine at a discounted rate.

While most people are likely to test negative within 10 days of a positive coronavirus test, for some it can take weeks or even months, according to the Global Health Partnership. Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance. If you find yourself in this situation and feel well enough to travel, you can return to the United States, but you will need to obtain “recovery documentation.”

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