Deciding what to do…CDC tagging South Africa travelers into USA…

Hippos aren’t necessarily the cutest of animals. Hippos cannot breathe underwater.

After spending ten months in lockdown in a hotel in Mumbai, India, in 2020, we may have become particularly cautious and sensitive about spending more time in quarantine, even if it’s in the US. After reading the following article a few days ago, we can’t help but ask ourselves if we’re prepared to travel to the US in 50 days.

United States

Exclusive: U.S. CDC to collect data on southern Africa passengers over COVID variant

WASHINGTON, Dec 1 (Reuters) – U.S. officials ordered airlines to disclose passenger names and other information about those who have recently been in eight southern African countries and will give it to local and state public health agencies, according to documents seen by Reuters.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) told airlines in a letter late Tuesday that they must turn over names and contact information for any travelers who within 14 days have been to Botswana, Eswatini, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, South Africa, and Zimbabwe, citing “the emergence of the Omicron variant of the virus that causes COVID-19/

(The CDC) will provide the contact information of these passengers to jurisdictional state and local public health partners for public health follow-up. This follow-up may include recommendations for potential post-arrival viral testing and quarantine and isolation,” the agency told airlines.

Effective Nov. 8, the CDC required all airlines to collect contact tracing information from all international air passengers but had not required them to turn over those names.

The new directive, which took effect late Tuesday and was seen by Reuters, mandates airlines to turn over the information within 24 hours of passengers arriving in the United States who have been in one of the eight African countries.

The collected information includes full name, full address while in the United States, primary contact phone number, secondary or emergency contact phone number, and email address.

The United States effective Monday barred nearly all foreign nationals if they have been in one of the southern African countries.

Separately, the CDC confirmed late Tuesday it is moving to require that all air travelers entering the country show a negative COVID-19 test performed within one day of departure in response to concerns about a new coronavirus variant.

Currently, vaccinated international air travelers can present a negative test result obtained within three days from their point of departure. Nearly all foreign nationals must be vaccinated to enter the United States. The unvaccinated must now get a negative COVID-19 test within one day of arrival.

The new one-day testing requirement would apply equally to U.S. citizens and foreign nationals.

The Biden administration is also considering whether to require air travelers to get another COVID-19 test within three to five days after arrival in the United States, officials said.

The administration could require international passengers to submit an “attestation” that would also require them to follow all state and local public health orders.”

Hippos often come up for air. We’re always trying to get that wide-open-mouth shot. No such luck this time. A hippo’s gestation period is 243 days.

So much can change in a day’s time that we may find ourselves feeling ostracized with weird restrictions that we may not know at this point. The day we moved into the hotel in Mumbai, we thought we’d be there for days, not ten months. We didn’t know at that point that we couldn’t have a glass of wine or cocktail for ten months, that the restaurant would close, that we wouldn’t be allowed to leave the fourth floor.

Also, we must ask ourselves if we’re willing to bear the expense of living in a hotel, with high room rates during peak season, expensive car rental rates, and the high cost of quality food, which is tricky for my way of eating. Fast food doesn’t work for me.

There is no way we can avoid spending 18 days in quarantine before the official wedding celebrations begin with fears of infecting the bride and groom and many seniors with precarious health conditions. After the 18 days, we’d move to yet another hotel for three more nights where the wedding is being held.

Hippos can live for 40 to 50 years.

This would be a choice we make, which at this point, is not required by the government. However, so much can change in the next 50 days, with cases of Omicron increasing worldwide. Perhaps, lots of testing and mandatory quarantine will be required, and who knows, what else?

Will those, like us, arriving from South Africa, have to stay in certain hotels? This is entirely possible. In the UK, mandatory quarantine required travelers to stay at specific hotels at exorbitant rates. The hotels were guarded and monitored to ensure no one left the building. How will we purchase clothing for the wedding? We’d anticipated heading out shopping without an issue. This may not be possible. Neither of us has a single wardrobe item appropriate for what we are sure will be an upscale wedding.

You may think we’re over-reacting. But, please, we may be the only people you know who spent ten months in confinement in a hotel during Covid-19 from March 2020 to January 2021. It isn’t easy to convince me we’re over-reacting. We’ve been through it.

Giraffes were munching on treetops.

On top of all of this is the fact that once again, we’ll be traveling for almost two days with massive exposure to other passengers. That fact in itself is concerning. Of course, if we decide against going, we’ll be disappointed to miss this special event for our dear friends.

What would you do if you were us?

Tonight, we’ll speak to our friends, Karen and Rich, and make a definitive decision, which we’ll share here in tomorrow’s post.

Be well. Be safe.

Photo from EIGHT years ago today, December 3, 2013

We decided to post this “eight-year ago photo” from December 3, 2013, when we arrived in Marloth Park for the first time. This giraffe didn’t seem to mind photo-bombing us. Readers wrote that it looked as if I was wearing a giraffe hat. This photo was taken in our neighborhood. Louise explained that the giraffes would soon come to our house, which they did. For more photos, please click here.

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