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new advice Vaccinated people can travel but should still wear masks, CDC says

Advice comes as pace of vaccinations in the US accelerates, but more contagious variants threaten to ignite a new wave of Covid-19 cases

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Passengers travelling during the pandemic. Photo by Sergei Bobylev\TASS via Getty Images

Passengers travelling during the pandemic. Photo by Sergei Bobylev\TASS via Getty Images

Passengers travelling during the pandemic. Photo by Sergei Bobylev\TASS via Getty Images

Fully vaccinated people can resume recreational travel in the US, yet should still wear a mask and avoid crowds, according to new advice from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The CDC released its long-awaited travel guidance on Friday amid the accelerating pace of vaccinations in the US, even as more contagious variants threaten to ignite a new wave of Covid-19 cases and as millions of Americans hit the skies anyhow.

The guidance says that fully vaccinated people don't need a test, and don't need to quarantine, when traveling domestically.

For international travel, they don't need a test unless it's required by their destination country and don't need to quarantine once back in the US, but should get tested before boarding their return flight.

The head of the CDC held out the promise of travel in asking people to get vaccinated when they can.

"Vaccines can help us return to the things we love about life, so we encourage every American to get vaccinated as soon as they have the opportunity," CDC Director Rochelle Walensky said in a statement.

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Centres for Disease Control and Prevention director Rochelle Walensky said she is 'scared' about the rising rate of Covid infection

Centres for Disease Control and Prevention director Rochelle Walensky said she is 'scared' about the rising rate of Covid infection

Centres for Disease Control and Prevention director Rochelle Walensky said she is 'scared' about the rising rate of Covid infection

All people, even if vaccinated, should still wear masks on planes, the CDC said. The agency considers someone fully vaccinated two weeks after their final shot.

The CDC previously released guidance for what vaccinated people can do. It said fully vaccinated people can gather privately together without masks, or visit one unvaccinated household - such as vaccinated grandparents visiting the home of a child and grandchildren.

However, it urged vaccinated Americans to keep wearing masks in public and to avoid crowds. At the time, the CDC didn't change its travel recommendations.

The CDC still discourages "nonessential domestic travel" by those who aren't fully vaccinated. Those people should still get tested one to three days before travel, and again three to five days afterward. They should stay home and quarantine for seven days after traveling, or 10 days if they don't get a test, the CDC says.

U.S. air travel has begun rebounding - 1.6 million people passed through TSA checkpoints on Thursday, the day before the announcement, well above the 124,000 who did so a year before yet still below the 2.4 million from the same day in 2019.

Covid-19 cases have started rising again in the US, however.

Walensky warned this week that Americans can't abandon mitigation efforts, saying she is scared of "impending doom" as a fourth wave begins to crest.

More than 553,000 people have died of the virus in the US, amid more than 30 million cases.

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