What happens when travelers test positive for Covid on vacation?

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(Granthshala) – It cannot be denied that going on leave has become a lot more complicated due to Covid-19.

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More than a year into the pandemic, border restrictions are still constantly changing as new versions emerge, while PCR and antigen testing have become part and parcel of the journey.

Many countries require travelers to give a negative Covid test result on entry, regardless of vaccination status, and in some cases follow-up tests, while some destinations, including the US, require people to have a negative test result before their return journey. need to be given.

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But what if you test positive after arriving at a new destination?

This is a situation that many travelers have found themselves in over the past year or so.

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Back in August, South Carolina couple April Demuth and Warren Watson (top picture) were getting ready to return to the US after a two-week trip to Greece, when a positive Covid test result stopped them in their tracks.

“We took the test in the morning,” Demuth explains. “So we’re at the airport, the agent is pulling us over so we can check our luggage and we’re pulling our test results [on our phones]. then he [Watson] Said it.”

Just hours before boarding his flight back to the US, he found that Watson had tested positive for Covid-19.

As Greece allows travelers to be fully vaccinated To enter without restrictions, the couple, who have both been vaccinated, were not required to submit any PCR tests prior to travel. However, he was required to give a negative Covid test result to go home.

positive on arrival

Shortly after receiving the results, DeMuth and Watson received a call from the Greek authorities and arrangements were made to immediately transfer them to a quarantine hotel provided by the Greek government.

Although most travel insurance policies cover quarantine-related costs, the pair did not take out insurance for their vacation.

“We were very fortunate to have quarantine hotels in Greece that the government pays for,” says Watson, who was experiencing some mild Covid symptoms in the days before receiving a positive Covid result.

“They gave us three meals a day. We were treated very well and it didn’t cost us anything. I know that in other countries, it’s pretty expensive.”

Thankfully, Watson’s symptoms continued to be mild while in quarantine (Demuth never tested positive) and after taking his next PCR test, he got a negative result. The couple were able to return home seven days later at no extra cost.

“I would never travel without [insurance] Now,” DeMuth says. “We were just lucky that we were in a country that was very kind with what he did, but we never wanted to trust him.”

Things certainly could have been very different if they had chosen to vacation in another destination. For example, visitors to Italy have to pay their own quarantine fees if they test positive after arrival.

Narendra Khatri, president and CEO of the company, said, “Travel insurance with Covid-19 quarantine coverage is designed to help cover stay and accommodation expenses should you test positive for Covid while on vacation. ” insuby, which offers international travel medical insurance from various US-based companies, tells Granthshala Travel.

“The benefit amount depends entirely on the policy you choose. Most plans provide a minimum of $2,000 in quarantine, accommodation, and accommodation expenses, and travel interruptions up to 100% of the cost of travel.

“Should the traveler choose, many policies offer the option to purchase additional coverage of up to $7,000 to cover quarantine costs, and a travel interruption benefit of up to 150% of the cost of travel.”

While Watson did not require any medical treatment during his time in Greece and made a full recovery, others have not been so lucky.

costly experience

Kovac Global transports passengers who have tested positive for Covid-19 to their vacation home via air ambulance.

Courtesy Kovac Global

Back in 2020, Gloria and Jose Arellano of California tested positive for Covid-19 after traveling to Mexico for vacation.

Although Gloria recovered, her husband’s condition worsened and was admitted to a local hospital.

Unfortunately, Jose’s health continued to deteriorate and he was taken by air ambulance to the Naval Medical Center in La Jolla, where he died of a lung infection on 28 December.

The medical and transportation costs incurred during the procedure were staggering, and the family launched a gofundme account To help pay, as his insurance did not cover the full amount.

While such cases are not necessary, Khatri advises travelers to consider the worst-case costs when choosing a travel insurance policy.

“Is $2,000 going to cover the cost of your stay for the entire duration of the quarantine in your destination country?” he asks.

“If you need a helicopter ride from an island to the nearest emergency room will a $50,000 maximum policy suffice?

“If there is no such opportunity, you are better off buying a policy that can provide more coverage. It is better to spend just a little more on insurance, stuck with medical or hotel bills at a far away destination. “

Destinations such as the Bahamas and Costa Rica have moved to stipulate that all visitors must obtain specific coronavirus-related coverage before being allowed to enter.

Khatri also emphasizes that travelers should ensure that their insurance provides coverage for their entire journey.

“If you test positive for Covid on Thursday during a flight or have another medical problem, but your coverage doesn’t begin until you land on Friday, your insurance won’t cover it,” they said. telling.

“This will be considered a pre-existing condition. Insure the journey from start to finish.”

But while travel insurance can help ensure that Covid-positive holidaymakers avoid paying additional costs for quarantine or medical treatment, most have little choice but to stay until they Cannot generate a negative covid result.

medical evacuation

Covac Global has evacuated travelers from destinations such as Uganda, the Bahamas and the Maldives.

Covac Global has evacuated travelers from destinations such as Uganda, the Bahamas and the Maldives.

Courtesy Kovac Global

However, Kovac Global, A medical evacuation company launched in August 2020, offers a special program that allows travelers who test positive abroad to be taken home via a certified ambulance with medical personnel – one of the “extremely limited” Circumstances in which a traveler infected with COVID is allowed to re-enter the US.

The service, described as “the first and only fully compensatory membership program”, is available to members who have received a positive Covid test result after arriving at their destination and have at least one self-reported Reported symptoms display.

Membership rates start at $675 for 15 days of coverage, while an annual subscription costs $2,500.

Founder Ross Thompson says the company is seeing a significant increase in membership numbers month-on-month, and the average age of its members continues to decline, with more professionals in their 40s opting to sign up for the program. .

Most of Covac Global’s evacuation is from hotel to home, and the company has been called to places like Uganda, the Bahamas and the Maldives to retrieve passengers.

“We have picked up people in speedboats from their over-water villas in the Maldives and their hotel rooms in islands off the coast of Central America,” says Thompson. “So we’ll come to pick you up wherever you are. If you can get there, we can get there. And then we’ll take you home. In very few cases we need to take you to the hospital.”

But transporting a Covid-positive patient is no easy feat, especially if they are in a remote location, or in a country where there is civil unrest.

Thompson says, “We recently evacuated people from Ethiopia. “We had to get the permit in coordination with the Ethiopian government.

“There was a significant amount of civil unrest going on in Ethiopia” [at the time] So we had to involve our security teams to make sure that we can get everyone safely to the country.”

test time

Medjet has launched Medical Transport Benefit for members hospitalized with Covid-19.

Medjet has launched Medical Transport Benefit for members hospitalized with Covid-19.

Courtesy Medjet

John Goebbels, COO of Medical Evacuation Company medjet, says the prospect of testing positive for Covid-19 and requiring hospitalization, while in a destination where ICU beds are not available, is one of the biggest concerns of its members, as well as their friends and family members. To be “stuck” in a hospital miles away from the family. .

Medjet added air medical transport for passengers hospitalized by Covid-19 back to its membership in October 2020.

“We added that benefit at our own cost risk,” Goebbels explains. “Transportation only for testing positive is not a membership benefit, but can be arranged at the sole cost of the member.”

But what can travelers do to make sure they are better prepared for the prospect of testing positive for Covid while on vacation?

Goebbels recommends that holidaymakers take home Covid test kits by “approved” brands on vacation with them so they can get themselves tested quickly.

“Don’t wait for the ’72 hour before’ window to test yourself,” he says. “You’ll need to meet that requirement, but knowing early on that you might fail will give you more time to create a fallback plan.

“And because there are sometimes false-positives, if you test positive, run another test immediately.”

Unfortunately, as Covid case infections are high in different parts of the world, the prospect of testing positive during a holiday is a reality that travelers may have to face for some time to come.

“I think it’s something we have to live with for now,” admits Thompson. “Just like after September 11th, people added security clearance to their travel insurance or their travel subscriptions, because that’s the world we live in right now.

“I think Covid-19 evacuation cover is going to be normal when you travel.”

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Credit : www.cnn.com

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