TRAVEL: Do you still have to quarantine if you arrive in Italy after January 6th?

Italy says that everyone arriving from overseas between December 21st and January 6th has to quarantine. But what does that mean for people arriving from January 7th onwards?

TRAVEL: Do you still have to quarantine if you arrive in Italy after January 6th?
Travellers at Rome's Fiumicino airport. Photo: Filippo Monteforte/AFP

Italy's government imposed extra travel restrictions over Christmas and New Year to discourage unnecessary holidays amid concerns that the coronavirus infection rate is not falling fast enough.

From December 21st to January 6th, anyone who arrives in Italy from overseas – no matter which country and no matter their nationality – must observe a 14-day quarantine.

With the rule about to expire on January 6th, what happens after that?

Could you potentially avoid quarantine by arriving in Italy just one day later?

The answer, the government has confirmed, is no. 

The latest emergency decree of December 3rd, which set Italy's Christmas travel rules, states that quarantine applies to everyone who has stayed or transited through another country at any point between December 21st and January 6th (full text here: see article 8, paragraph 7).

As the Interior Ministry subsequently clarified in a circular, that means that people who leave Italy before December 21st or return after January 6th must also quarantine.

In other words, if you return to Italy on or after January 7th having spent part or all of December 21st-January 6th abroad, you will still have to quarantine. 

The only exceptions are for people who had to leave Italy for essential reasons, including work, health, study or emergencies.

If you left Italy for any other purpose, such as tourism, you'll have to quarantine whatever your reasons for returning to Italy, the Health Ministry's website states

Translation: an Italian resident can't choose to go skiing in Switzerland or visit friends in Spain, for example, then return to Italy and hope to avoid quarantine by saying they need to be back here for work.

That's because the main purpose of the rule seems to be to make taking a vacation abroad as difficult as possibly without actually introducing a travel ban.

However, an Italian resident who has to go to France for work or urgent surgery, for example, would be allowed to return to Italy without quarantining – but they do have to get a coronavirus test 48 hours before they come back. (Find further example scenarios on the Foreign Ministry's website.) 

There are other exemptions from both quarantine or testing for cross-border workers, healthcare workers, diplomats and people transiting through Italy via their own transport: find more details here.

The rule primarily affects people entering Italy from another EU member state, a country in the Schengen zone or the UK, since travellers from these countries would not usually be subject to quarantine.

Arrivals from any other country have to quarantine for 14 days regardless, not only during the Christmas period. Travellers from the UK should also be prepared to find themselves subject to different rules after the Brexit transition period ends on December 31st.

REMINDER: What Brits in Europe need to know about travel after December 31st

The Local was alerted to the situation one of our readers, who was advised by an Interior Ministry representative that he would still have to quarantine if he returned to Italy after January 7th.

“I was originally planning on leaving Italy on the 19th of December and returning on the 9th of January but will now have to, unfortunately, return on the 27th of December in order to do the mandatory 14-day quarantine before starting work,” he told The Local.

It is not clear how long the rule will remain in place: Italy's current decree expires on January 15th, though the government may revise the rules at any point before then.

Find The Local's latest updates on Italy's travel rules here.

Member comments

  1. like this:
    Based on your answers, you can enter Italy. Read carefully the information provided below.

    You must fill out a self-declaration.

    Since you chose to enter/return to Italy starting from January 7 2021 onwards, kindly note that:

    1. If you enter/return to Italy after January 6 2021, after a stay or transit in a Country listed in List C between December 21 and January 6 (click on the blue button on top of the page to check the Lists of Countries and territories), for reasons other than those indicated in article 6 paragraph 1 letters a), b) or c) of Prime Ministerial Decree of December 3 2020 (i.e. proven work reasons, health, absolute urgency);

    You must self-isolate for 14 days.

    2a). If you enter/return to Italy after January 6 2021, after a stay or transit in a Country listed in List C between December 21 and January 6, for proven work reasons, health, absolute urgency (as an example, you went from Rome to Paris for a short business trip and now you are going back to your home in Italy, or you must enter Italy from Bulgaria due to a scheduled surgery for which you will have to stay in Italy for about 10 days);


    2b). If you enter Italy after January 6, 2021 from a C-List Country where you reside, without further stays or transits in other Countries in the previous 14 days;

    You must prove that you have undergone a molecular or antigenic test carried out by means of a swab, in the 48 hours before you arrive, with a negative result.

    In either case, as soon as you enter the national territory, you must inform your Local Health Authority of reference. From December 10, if you are unable to undergo a molecular or antigenic test within 48 hours prior to entering Italy, once in Italy you must self-isolate for 14 days.

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How Europe’s population is changing and what the EU is doing about it

The populations of countries across Europe are changing, with some increasing whilst others are falling. Populations are also ageing meaning the EU is having to react to changing demographics.

How Europe's population is changing and what the EU is doing about it

After decades of growth, the population of the European Union decreased over the past two years mostly due to the hundreds of thousands of deaths caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.

The latest data from the EU statistical office Eurostat show that the EU population was 446.8 million on 1 January 2022, 172,000 fewer than the previous year. On 1 January 2020, the EU had a population of 447.3 million.

This trend is because, in 2020 and 2021 the two years marked by the crippling pandemic, there have been more deaths than births and the negative natural change has been more significant than the positive net migration.

But there are major differences across countries. For example, in numerical terms, Italy is the country where the population has decreased the most, while France has recorded the largest increase.

What is happening and how is the EU reacting?

In which countries is the population growing?

In 2021, there were almost 4.1 million births and 5.3 million deaths in the EU, so the natural change was negative by 1.2 million (more broadly, there were 113,000 more deaths in 2021 than in 2020 and 531,000 more deaths in 2020 than in 2019, while the number of births remained almost the same).

Net migration, the number of people arriving in the EU minus those leaving, was 1.1 million, not enough to compensate.

A population growth, however, was recorded in 17 countries. Nine (Belgium, Denmark, Ireland, France, Cyprus, Luxembourg, Malta, Netherlands and Sweden) had both a natural increase and positive net migration.

READ ALSO: IN NUMBERS: Five things to know about Germany’s foreign population

In eight EU countries (the Czech Republic, Germany, Estonia, Spain, Lithuania, Austria, Portugal and Finland), the population increased because of positive net migration, while the natural change was negative.

The largest increase in absolute terms was in France (+185,900). The highest natural increase was in Ireland (5.0 per 1,000 persons), while the biggest growth rate relative to the existing population was recorded in Luxembourg, Ireland, Cyprus and Malta (all above 8.0 per 1,000 persons).

In total, 22 EU Member States had positive net migration, with Luxembourg (13.2 per 1 000 persons), Lithuania (12.4) and Portugal (9.6) topping the list.

Births and deaths in the EU from 1961 to 2021 (Eurostat)

Where is the population declining?

On the other hand, 18 EU countries had negative rates of natural change, with deaths outnumbering births in 2021.

Ten of these recorded a population decline. In Bulgaria, Italy, Hungary, Poland, and Slovenia population declined due to a negative natural change, while net migration was slightly positive.

In Croatia, Greece, Latvia, Romania and Slovakia, the decrease was both by negative natural change and negative net migration.

READ ALSO: Italian class sizes set to shrink as population falls further

The largest fall in population was reported in Italy, which lost over a quarter of a million (-253,100).

The most significant negative natural change was in Bulgaria (-13.1 per 1,000 persons), Latvia (-9.1), Lithuania (-8.7) and Romania (-8.2). On a proportional basis, Croatia and Bulgaria recorded the biggest population decline (-33.1 per 1,000 persons).

How is the EU responding to demographic change?

From 354.5 million in 1960, the EU population grew to 446.8 million on 1 January 2022, an increase of 92.3 million. If the growth was about 3 million persons per year in the 1960s, it slowed to about 0.7 million per year on average between 2005 and 2022, according to Eurostat.

The natural change was positive until 2011 and turned negative in 2012 when net migration became the key factor for population growth. However, in 2020 and 2021, this no longer compensated for natural change and led to a decline.

READ ALSO: IN NUMBERS: One in four Austrian residents now of foreign origin

Over time, says Eurostat, the negative natural change is expected to continue given the ageing of the population if the fertility rate (total number of children born to each woman) remains low.

This poses questions for the future of the labour market and social security services, such as pensions and healthcare.

The European Commission estimates that by 2070, 30.3 per cent of the EU population will be 65 or over compared to 20.3 per cent in 2019, and 13.2 per cent is projected to be 80 or older compared to 5.8 per cent in 2019.

The number of people needing long-term care is expected to increase from 19.5 million in 2016 to 23.6 million in 2030 and 30.5 million in 2050.

READ ALSO: How foreigners are changing Switzerland

However, demographic change impacts different countries and often regions within the same country differently.

When she took on the Presidency of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen appointed Dubravka Šuica, a Croatian politician, as Commissioner for Democracy and Demography to deal with these changes.

Among measures in the discussion, in January 2021, the Commission launched a debate on Europe’s ageing society, suggesting steps for higher labour market participation, including more equality between women and men and longer working lives.

In April, the Commission proposed measures to make Europe more attractive for foreign workers, including simplifying rules for non-EU nationals who live on a long-term basis in the EU. These will have to be approved by the European Parliament and the EU Council.

In the fourth quarter of this year, the Commission also plans to present a communication on dealing with ‘brain drain’ and mitigate the challenges associated with population decline in regions with low birth rates and high net emigration.

This article is published in cooperation with Europe Street News, a news outlet about citizens’ rights in the EU and the UK.