First Covid-tested flight lands in Rome from New York

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First Covid-tested flight lands in Rome from New York
Passengers just landed in Rome from New York on an Alitalia flight wait to undergo a rapid antigen swab test for Covid-19 on December 9th. AFP

The first "Covid-tested" flight arrived in Rome from New York on Wednesday, an initiative designed to open up air routes between Europe and the United States blocked by the pandemic.


Passengers had to show they had returned a negative virus test within 48 hours of getting on the Alitalia flight from John F. Kennedy airport, and were required to take another test on arrival at Rome's Fiumicino.
All 100 passengers on board came up negative, according to the AGI news agency, allowing them to avoid a 14-day quarantine required of other arrivals
from the United States.
Photo: Andreas Solaro/AFP
Among them was Chiara, an Italian living in the United States who is visiting her parents with her husband and seven-month-old son.
"It's been almost a year since we returned to Italy," she told AFP.
"In April our son was born and so far no one from our family has met him. That's why we are so thrilled."
Everyone on board still had to wear masks and replace them every four hours, according to airport authorities.
Photo: Andreas Solaro/AFP
"This is an extraordinary experiment, because it rekindles hope for air travel, mobility and the economy even in the presence of coronavirus," said
Nicola Zingaretti, head of the Lazio region that includes Rome.
The move follows the launch in September of so-called virus-free domestic flights between Rome and financial capital Milan.


The introduction of these flights does not necessarily mean the rules on travel to Italy from the US are set to be changed, however.
Restrictions remain on non-essential travel to Italy from the US and many other non-EU countries.
Under tightened rules over the Christmas period, all arrivals from overseas between December 21st and January 6th will be required to quarantine for 14 days on arrival regardless of whether or not they are able to show a negative test result.
Photo: Andreas Solaro/AFP


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