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International travelers to Cancun can utilize faster, less expensive antigen tests to meet new U.S. travel requirements

Riviera Maya, Q.R. — UPDATED: Since publication, the CDC has changed their wording to now read that a second test 3 to 5 days after arriving in the United States and the 7 to 10-day post travel stay-at-home quarantine period is now a health recommendation and not mandatory. The update was made by the CDC on January 21.

Original Article: While not much can be done to help travelers with their mandatory quarantine after vacation, a form of faster (and less expensive) Covid testing can.

Governor Carlos Joaquín González says that since the United States will accept antigen tests, not only PCR tests, tourists can utilize them while vacationing in the state.

“The problem we face with the PCR tests is that each one costs about $150, the result takes 24 to 72 hours, the laboratories to perform them here are scarce, and there is not enough for the tourists we receive,” explained Joaquin.

“In the case of antigen tests, we are talking about a cost of 150 pesos and the results are obtained practically immediately.”

His concern was addressed after the U.S. joined other countries, requiring a negative Covid-19 test before boarding a plane and reentering the country. He says antigen tests, which will be accepted, are just as efficient as PCR but with advantages in cost and speed to obtain the result.

“We are already in contact with laboratories to facilitate its application among tourists,” he said during an interview with Radio Fórmula. He also said that the beginning stages of the vaccine program against Covid-19 is the first step toward a new normal.

Carlos Joaquín stated that, unlike Mexico City where the number of infections soared, in the case of Quintana Roo, figures remains low, and although not alarming, there has been a slow increase in infections.

According to the CDC, the FDA has authorized laboratory-based antigen tests, which can be used at the point of care. Most of the currently authorized tests return results in approximately 15 minutes.

On January 12, the CDC announced that all travelers into the United States will be required to provide a negative Covid-19 test before and after arrival along with a mandatory 7-day isolation period. The CDC says the new travel measures will be put into force January 26.