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CDC warns against travel to Mexico because of rise in COVID-19 cases

by Dallas Morning News | November 25, 2020 at 11:07 p.m. | Updated November 25, 2020 at 11:06 p.m.
Aerial view of the Caribbean Sea and the lagoon in the touristic zone, after the passage of Hurricane Delta in Cancun, Quintana Roo state, Mexico, on Oct. 8, 2020. The CDC has assigned its highest-level advisory against traveling to Mexico, which has surpassed 1 million coronavirus cases. (Pedro Pardo/AFP/Getty Images/TNS)

For people planning a getaway to Mexico during the holidays, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has stern advice: Don't.

The CDC assigned its highest-level advisory against traveling to Mexico, which has surpassed 1 million coronavirus cases.

"Travelers should avoid all travel to Mexico," the United States' top health protection agency said in a written statement declaring the Level 4, or red, advisory.

The warning came Saturday, only days before Thanksgiving, when thousands of travelers typically flock to Mexico's tourist destinations. In the advisory, the CDC said people may increase their chance of getting and spreading COVID-19 by traveling there.

The warning also noted that if people become infected with COVID-19 while traveling abroad, they may be denied re-entry.

"If you are exposed to someone with COVID-19 during travel, you might be quarantined and not permitted to return to the United States until 14 days after your last known exposure," according to the advisory.

Mexico's Ministry of Health reported 1,049,358 confirmed coronavirus cases and 101,926 COVID-19 deaths in the country as of Monday.

The top three global destinations for U.S. travelers this year are in Mexico: Cancun, San Jose del Cabo and Puerto Vallarta.

"Mexico has been a leader in tourism recovery since COVID-19 began," according to the Allianz insurance company. "The country's accessibility and safety protocols, such as the restricted capacity at resorts to allow for adequate social distancing, may be helping to drive demand, coupled with the promise of a warm-climate escape."

But in all three of those tourist destinations, there has been a high rate of COVID-19.

In the municipality of Benito Juarez, Quintana Roo, where Cancun is, 6,585 COVID-19 cases have been reported. In the municipality of Los Cabos, in Baja California Sur, 4,233 cases have been confirmed. And in Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco, 2,507 cases have been recorded.

COVID-19 testing isn't widespread in Mexico, so former health officials have said the numbers of cases and deaths could be higher than reported.

Although restrictions have been imposed on crossing the U.S. border with Mexico by land, the limits don't apply to air travel.

From DFW Airport, six airlines fly to many Mexican destinations, including Cancun, Puerto Vallarta and San Jose del Cabo.

If you choose to travel to any of them despite the warnings about the coronavirus, the CDC has issued these recommendations.

Before Traveling

Get tested 1-3 days before travel.

Do not travel if you are waiting for the results, if you test positive or if you feel sick.

Follow all entry directions at your destination and provide all the information required about your health.

During Travel

Wear a mask.

Keep at least 6 feet of distance from other people not traveling with you.

Wash your hands frequently or use hand sanitizer.

Monitor your health for signs of illness.

Follow all the recommendations from health officials at your destination.

Before traveling back to the U.S., get tested 1-3 days before returning.

After You Travel

Get tested 3-5 days after returning.

Stay home for seven days after your trip.

If you don't get tested, it is safest to stay home for 14 days.

If you had a known exposure to COVID-19 while abroad, delay your return and quarantine with your travel companions for 14 days after exposure.

Get tested and monitor your health.


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