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HEALTH

Covid-19: Italy extends regional travel ban until end of March

Prime Minister Mario Draghi's cabinet on Monday approved a decree extending the existing ban on travel between all regions until March 27th.

Covid-19: Italy extends regional travel ban until end of March
Only essential travel is allowed between Italy's regions. Photo: AFP
The ban, part of nationwide restrictions aimed at stemming the spread of coronavirus, was brought in by the past government and had been set to expire on Thursday.
 
The government also extended restrictions on visiting friends and relatives, under which no more than two adults can visit another person's home.
 
“It is essential to continue with the restrictions with the (spread of coronavirus) variants,” said Italy's health minister, Roberto Speranza.
 
 
The inter-regional travel ban was due to expire on February 25th, after it had already been extended once this month.

The ban applies to all non-essential travel between all regions, regardless of which zone they are in under Italy's tiered system of coronavirus restrictions.

The regional travel ban does not apply to travel for work, health or emergency reasons, or to anyone who needs to travel to return home.

Travel within Italy for tourism remains prohibited.

The government also extended a rule under which no more than two adults (plus their children under 14) can visit another household, and no more than once a day. However the rule has not been extended for areas declared red zones, meaning visits will no longer be allowed in those areas.

READ ALSO: How will Italy's Covid-19 strategy change under the new government?

Further changes to the Italian coronavirus restrictions are set to be confirmed by March 5th, when an updated emergency decree is due.

Regional Affairs Minister Maria Stella Gelmini stated on Monday that Draghi's government would make “timely” decisions on coronavirus restrictions in agreement with regional governments.

The new government last week provoked an outcry when it extended the closure of ski slopes just hours before they were due to reopen.

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STRIKES

How the airline strike will disrupt flights to and from Italy on Saturday

Pilots and cabin crew from four low-cost airlines will strike on Saturday in a move set to cause significant disruption to Italian airline travel.

How the airline strike will disrupt flights to and from Italy on Saturday

Passengers travelling to and from Italy were set to face major delays and cancellations on Saturday, October 1st after Italian unions FILT-CGIL and Uiltrasporti confirmed a national airline strike on Wednesday.

Staff from Volotea, Easyjet and Ryanair will hold a 24-hour walkout, whereas Vueling staff will strike for a total of four hours, from 1pm to 5pm, unions said.

As previously reported, the strike was called in protest against employers’ failure to “grant acceptable working conditions and wages that are in line with minimum national salaries”. 

READ ALSO: Italian low-cost airline staff to strike on October 1st

Unions also slammed Spanish airline Vueling’s decision to lay off 17 flight attendants based in Rome’s Fiumicino Airport “after months of hard work and professionalism”. 

At the time of writing, no details were immediately available as to exactly which flights would be affected, though scheduled flights with the above-mentioned carriers were said to be at risk of being delayed or even cancelled. 

Passengers board for the first public flight operated by Easyjet at Berlin Brandenburg Airport Willy Brandt.

Flights departing between 7am and 10am and between 6pm and 9pm should run regularly, according to the Italian Aviation Authority. Photo by Tobias Schwarz / AFP

That said, the Italian Civil Aviation Authority (Ente Nazionale per l’Aviazione Civile, or ENAC) said on Wednesday that a number of flights would be guaranteed on the day of the strike. 

Notably, flights scheduled to depart between 7am and 10am and between 6pm and 9pm were expected to run regularly, as were flights to and from Italy’s major islands (Sicily and Sardinia). 

All intercontinental flights were also expected to run on Saturday, though ENAC strongly advised passengers to check the status of their journey with their carrier prior to setting off. 

The upcoming strike will be the latest in a long series of demonstrations that rocked Europe’s airline industry over the summer, causing significant disruption to thousands of air passengers. 

READ ALSO: Airport chaos in Europe: What are your rights if flights are delayed or cancelled?

The last significant strike was held on Monday, September 12th, when a 24-hour national strike action from unionised ground staff caused Italy’s flag carrier, ITA Airways, to cancel several domestic flights. 

On that occasion, ITA said affected passengers were rebooked on the first available flights.

In the event of delays or cancellations, the rights of all passengers are protected by EU regulation EC 261. This applies to any air passenger flying within the EU/Schengen zone, arriving in the EU/Schengen zone from a non-EU country by means of a EU-based airline (all airlines involved in the strike are EU-based) or departing from the EU/Schengen zone. 

READ ALSO: Passports: What are the post-Brexit rules for dual-nationals travelling in Europe?

According to this regulation, airlines are financially accountable for any journey disruption they are responsible for. That includes disruptions caused by airline staff strikes. Therefore, should your flight be significantly delayed or cancelled, you might be entitled to receive compensation from your airline.

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