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UK travel expert: ‘Be cautious’ when traveling overseas

Published: Jan. 15, 2021 at 10:59 PM EST|Updated: Jan. 16, 2021 at 11:04 AM EST
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LEXINGTON, Ky. (WKYT) - The pandemic closed borders and canceled vacations. Now that vaccinations against COVID-19 are ramping up some are asking, “When is it safe to travel overseas?”

As more people get the vaccine around the world, experts at the University of Kentucky are gauging the safety of international travel.

“We are cautiously optimistic at UK, especially with our students who are planning to go abroad over the summer,” said Jason Hope, the director of International Health, Safety, and Security at the University of Kentucky.

Hope says about 800 UK students travel abroad each summer. The university is working closely with partners in various countries when considering how those programs will move forward.

“We’re relying a lot on them to tell us what things look like in their communities and whether they think it’s wise for people to be traveling,” said Hope.

He also emphasized it’s important for people to do their research if they’re planning an international get-away.

With the virus spreading, he explains a lot of tourist attractions are still shut down, some countries have closed their borders, and others require proof to get in.

“For example, a local government may not let people enter their country unless they can show proof of vaccination,” explained Hope. “That’s something that we see on the horizon.”

Some countries are considering immunity passports that show proof of COVID-19 test results and vaccination. But even with these credentials, Hope says you likely will still have to follow CDC guidelines. He also advises you to check the CDC’s travel advisory website before booking any international trips.

“In places like the U.K., if you go outside and you don’t have a mask, they may fine you the equivalent of hundreds of dollars,” said Hope.

He recommends checking the sanitary practices of your hotels and Airbnbs and getting travel and medical insurance. He also warns that COVID-19 cases are increasing.

“The real problem might be that the hospitals and the paces that you go to could be at capacity, so if you have any medical issue, even if you break your leg, you might not have access to the medical care you need.”

If the cons start to add up, Hope said it may be best to postpone the trip.

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