So you’ve recently recovered from Covid-19 and need to travel abroad … what must you do to ensure safe passage to your destination? As we continue to navigate through the pandemic, international borders will increasingly open and travel restrictions will ease. Many countries will continue to require pre-travel Covid testing to ensure that passengers are not importing active cases of Covid-19 through their borders.
Yet a problem arises when passengers have been previously infected with Covid-19. Their PCR (or RT-PCR) swab test can remain positive for months, even if they never had symptoms. This is because the highly accurate PCR tests that have now become so ubiquitous, can amplify microscopic fragments of inactive viral RNA, which can linger from a previous infection.
Many countries around the world have developed systems to allow inbound travel if a passenger has recovered from Covid-19. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention in the USA recommends not retesting for 3 months following a positive Covid-19 PCR result. This means that people that have previously tested positive for Covid-19 may travel to the USA if they have completed their self-isolation, no longer have any symptoms and carry a Document of Recovery.
Similarly, the Australian Government will allow passengers to enter the country without a fit to fly PCR test if they have previously had a positive Covid-19 PCR/RT-PCR test and recovered. Passengers must have had their positive PCR test over 14 days ago, must be symptom free for 72 hours and must carry a Certificate of Recovery to qualify.
The European Union Digital COVID Certificate outlines if a passenger from a member state has recovered from Covid.
Other countries around the world are following suit, the high transmissibility of the Omicron variant having left increasing numbers of passengers in a position where a fit to fly PCR test may no longer be appropriate or advised.
Future variants of the virus may further change international policies on Covid Recovery Certificates, though hopefully Covid-19 will continue to follow the normal evolution of viruses, thus becoming less virulent (harmful) as time progresses.
If you think you might need a Covid Recovery Certificate to travel abroad then you must check the specific regulations of your destination country, since regulations are subject to constant change. The Montague Clinic’s Covid-19 Certificate is carefully designed to meet the criteria of most countries, and we keep a close watch on new developments, but please do still check the latest guidance before you travel.