The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has put the quarantine into timeout.
On Friday, the U.S. public health institute revised guidelines that demanded travelers be put in quarantine for 14 days after either out-of-state or international travel.
The CDC now urges travelers to makes their decisions on a state-by-state basis.
“State, local, and territorial governments may have travel restrictions in place, including testing requirements, stay-at-home orders, and quarantine requirements upon arrival. Follow state, local, and territorial travel restrictions,” the CDC said on its website.
“For up-to-date information and travel guidance, check the state, territorial, tribal and local health department where you are, along your route, and where you are going. Prepare to be flexible during your trip as restrictions and policies may change during your travel,” it said.
It told international travelers to “check with the destination’s Office of Foreign Affairs or Ministry of Health or the US Department of State, Bureau of Consular Affairs, Country Information page for details about entry requirements and restrictions for arriving travelers, such as mandatory testing or quarantine.”
“This updated guidance is based on risk of exposure during travel, asking travelers to think about what they did, where they were, and who they came into contact with to evaluate their risk of exposure to COVID-19,” CDC spokesman Scott Pauley said, according to The Washington Post.
The CDC still tells travelers to take precautions.
“You may have been exposed to COVID-19 on your travels,” it says on the website. “You may feel well and not have any symptoms, but you can be contagious without symptoms and spread the virus to others. You and your travel companions (including children) pose a risk to your family, friends and community for 14 days after you were exposed to the virus.”
The CDC further put the burden of deciding what to do on travelers.
“These travelers should take extra precautions to protect others for 14 days after they arrive, including staying home as much as possible, avoiding being around people at a higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19, and considering getting tested for COVID-19,” the agency said, noting that those who have been in high-risk situations should act accordingly.
“Higher risk activities include being in an area that is experiencing high levels of spread, attending a mass gathering, being in crowded places, and travel on a cruise ship or river boat,” the CDC said.
It is not yet clear if states with quarantine rules in place will change those.
Fox News has reached out to the offices of Democratic Govs. Andrew Cuomo of New York, Phil Murphy of New Jersey and Ned Lamont of Connecticut, but none immediately responded.
Some said quarantines remain a valuable tool for fighting the coronavirus.
“Broadly speaking, if someone travels to an area with an active outbreak, it’s reasonable upon return for them to be required to either get tested or to quarantine, a measure that many states now have in place,” Boston University epidemiologist Sandro Galea told The Post.
“We’re all trying to adapt to shifting realities and shifting facts all the time,” Galea said.
Lawrence Mayer, an epidemiologist and visiting fellow at Harvard University, said a self-quarantine can still make sense.
“If arriving from a high-transmission area, I think testing and quarantining on return would be helpful,” Mayer said. “Without a test, a 14-day quarantine seems reasonable.”
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