Italy set to allow residents to return home from UK

Italy set to allow residents to return home from UK
Photo: AFP
The Italian government is expected to partially lift its ban on travel from the UK to allow residents of Italy to return home - but with a strict testing and quarantine requirement.

Ministers have stated that residents of Italy, or those with a “critical” health condition, will be allowed to travel from Britain to Italy as the government plans to loosen its current ban on all travel from the UK.

READ ALSO: EU says blanket UK travel ban should end to allow people to return home

“All residents can return home, this is evident,” Minister for Regional Affairs Francesco Boccia announced on Italian TV channel La7. “There are not only those who live in London, there are also those who went there for work and must be able to return.”

He said the government was working on a solution to allow residents to return “safely” and that it would be decided within “a matter of hours”.

Travellers returning from the UK will reportedly be required to take two coronavirus tests – one before and one after the flight – and to undergo a mandatory 14-day quarantine after arriving in Italy, according to reports in Italian media citing Foreign Ministry sources.

It is not yet clear what evidence will be needed to prove residency.

Boccia and the leaked Foreign Ministry announcements in the media only referred to Italian citizens living and working in the UK, and did not make it immediately clear what the rules would be for residents in Italy who are not Italian citizens.

This is of particular concern to British nationals who live in Italy, but now find themselves stuck in the UK indefinitely after visiting for Christmas.

Amid mass flight cancellations and travel chaos, the Italian government is reportedly looking at providing repatriation flights to Italy from the UK for those allowed to return.

On Tuesday evening, France announced it would reopen its UK border for essential travel only, allowing French, EU and EEA citizens to enter, as well as British and other citizens resident in France, and other groups including essential workers.

Italy was among the first countries to announce a ban on arrivals from the UK on Sunday, amid alarm over a new strain of coronavirus which is thought to be up to 70 percent more infectious.

As well as stopping flights from the UK, Italy banned all arrivals who had been in the UK within the past two weeks.

The rules apply from December 20th until January 6th.
 
The change was announced after a new recommendation from the European Commission that EU countries lift their transport bans on the UK to allow residents to return home and for essential travel.

The Commission's recommendation is that people heading to their country of residence should be allowed to travel, along with EU citizens heading home and essential freight traffic.

Countries will decide independently whether to follow the recommendation and which measures to put in place.

“While it is important to take swift temporary precautionary action to limit the further spread of the new strain of the virus and all non-essential travel to and from the UK should be discouraged, essential travel and transit of passengers should be facilitated,” the statement said.

“Flight and train bans should be discontinued given the need to ensure essential travel and avoid supply chain disruptions,” it added.
 
Around 40 countries worldwide have restricted travel from the UK.

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  1. What about those of us stuck in Italy and want to return home? Just as many here wanting to go back. Get the flights on and stop infringing on my human rights.

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