N.J. lifts travel advisory that required COVID quarantine, Murphy announces

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New Jersey will no longer require people returning to the state or visiting to quarantine because of the coronavirus pandemic, Gov. Phil Murphy announced Monday as the state’s numbers keep improving as vaccinations continue.

The new rule goes into effect immediately and after the governor had already dropped the quarantine period for people who are fully vaccinated.

“However, we do encourage everyone to continue to exercise common sense when traveling domestically and to follow all local health and safety protocols wherever you are traveling to,” Murphy said during his latest COVID-19 briefing in Trenton.

“And if your goal is international travel, recognize that the COVID reality in many nations is much different than here, and adhere to the travel guidance and advisories posted by the United States Department of State,” he added.

Currently, people coming to the United States from abroad have to show a negative COVID-19 test taken within three days of their departure or “proof of recovery from the virus within the last 90 days,” according to federal rules. The documentation needs to be provided to airlines prior to coming to the United States.

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The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention updated its guidance last month to say fully vaccinated people can travel within the U.S. without getting tested for COVID-19 or going into quarantine afterward.

Previously, the agency had cautioned against unnecessary travel even for vaccinated people, but noted that it would update its guidance as more people got vaccinated and evidence mounted about the protection the shots provide.

Murphy changed the state’s travel restrictions after the CDC guidelines were announced.

Before the loosening of the restrictions, New Jerseyans returning from travel to any U.S. state or territory beyond the immediate region, which included New York, Connecticut, Pennsylvania, and Delaware, were required to self-quarantine at their home or hotel.

More than 3.7 million people who live, work, or study in the state have now been fully vaccinated at New Jersey sites, while another 165,000 residents have been vaccinated in other states.

The state has set a goal of having 70% of New Jersey’s adults vaccinated by the end of June. A little more than 53% of the state’s 6.9 million adults have now been fully vaccinated.

New Jersey’s seven-day average for new confirmed positive COVID-19 tests has fallen to 752 — down 37% from a week ago and 73% from a month ago. That’s the lowest number since Oct. 12.

There were 827 COVID-19 patients hospitalized across the state as of Sunday night, the lowest number since Oct. 19. Overall, coronavirus hospitalizations are down 79% since the state’s second-wave peak of 3,873 patients on Dec. 22.

New Jersey, a state of 9.2 million people, has reported 25,975 residents have died from complications related to COVID-19 — including 23,327 confirmed deaths and 2,648 fatalities considered probable.

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Matt Arco may be reached at [email protected].

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