Interim guidance for transporting or arranging transportation by air into, from, or within the United States of people with COVID-19 or COVID-19 exposure
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Interim guidance for transporting or arranging transportation by air into, from, or within the United States of people with COVID-19 or COVID-19 exposure

  • Published Date:

    January 19, 2021

  • Language:
Filetype[PDF-159.45 KB]

  • Description:
    Individuals with known or suspected COVID-19, or who have had close contact with a person with COVID-19 (i.e., who are considered exposed to COVID-19), should generally remain in place and not travel until they have met CDC criteria for discontinuing isolation or quarantine. Even with precautions in place, air travel by such individuals poses a risk to ground crew, airport personnel, aircraft crewmembers, other passengers, and others who may come into contact with them during their travel including during ground transport to and from airports. People with confirmed COVID-19 (i.e., those who have tested positive for SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19) or who have had close contact with a person with confirmed COVID-19 are prohibited from traveling on scheduled passenger airline[1] flights. However, there may be circumstances that warrant transportation by air of persons with COVID-19 or who have been exposed to COVID-19. For example, persons with COVID-19 may need medical care that is not available at their location. The decision to arrange for transportation by air of a person with COVID-19 or known exposure should be carefully considered and thoroughly planned in discussion with public health authorities at origin and destination, relevant federal authorities, and when inpatient health care is needed at destination, personnel at the receiving medical facility. Factors that should weigh into the decision include characteristics of the aircraft, duration of travel, and whether personnel on board are trained in infection control procedures and the correct use of personal protective equipment (PPE). Any such transportation should be conducted in a way that avoids exposure to crewmembers and other passengers on board, within airports, or to communities in the departure location, final destination, and any intermediate stops. For symptomatic infected persons, additional considerations include the health risks to the infected individual (i.e., whether the person is clinically stable enough to travel, whether the person’s clinical condition could deteriorate during transport, and the necessary level of medical management). CDC has statutory and regulatory authority to prevent the introduction, transmission, and spread of communicable diseases into the United States and between U.S. states and territories. CDC has the authority to issue federal isolation, quarantine, conditional release orders, and interstate travel permits to individuals who are confirmed or suspected of having a quarantinable communicable disease (including COVID-19). CDC can also use federal public health travel restrictions to prevent travel by airline of individuals who are known or suspected to have (or have been exposed to) a communicable disease that threatens public health, and to identify such individuals if they attempt to enter the United States at any port of entry. Aircraft operators who might transport passengers who have COVID-19 or have been exposed to a person with COVID-19, and others who might arrange for such transport, must know and comply with all applicable federal, state, local, territorial, tribal and foreign health and transport requirements.
  • Content Notes:
    Background -- Purpose -- Applicability -- Key Points -- Pretravel Management -- Procedures for Transportation by Air -- Ground Transportation at U.S. Destination.
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