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Italy extends Covid-19 travel ban to Bangladesh and Sri Lanka as well as India

Italy has banned travel from Bangladesh and Sri Lanka amid the coronavirus emergency in neighbouring India, as well as tightening quarantine rules for residents who have recently returned from one of those countries.

Italy extends Covid-19 travel ban to Bangladesh and Sri Lanka as well as India
Malpensa airport in Milan. Photo: Piero Cruciatti / AFP

In a new ordinance issued on April 29th, Health Minister Roberto Speranza extended Italy’s ban on arrivals from India to Bangladesh and Sri Lanka, in response to surging infections and a rapidly spreading new variant.

Under the new rules, only Italian citizens who live permanently in Italy are allowed to enter from any of the three countries. Previously foreign nationals resident in Italy had also been allowed to return.

READ ALSO: Italy bans arrivals from virus-hit India

The ordinance also tightens the quarantine rules for anyone returning from India, Bangladesh or Sri Lanka, who must now spend ten days in a “Covid hotel” where they can be monitored by local health authorities. 

Anyone travelling from one of the three countries must also test negative for coronavirus no more than 48 hours before departure, get another test on arrival, and finally take a third test after ten days in isolation.

People who arrived in Italy from one of these countries, or transited through them, in the 14 days before the latest ordinance – so since April 15th – should also contact the local health authorities to get tested and self-isolate at home for ten days, followed by another test.

A medical worker waits to test arriving passengers at Malpensa Airport in Milan. Photo: Piero Cruciatti / AFP

The travel restrictions apply until at least May 15th.

The move comes amid record case numbers in India, which reported more than 3,000 deaths on Wednesday alone. The variant linked to hundreds of thousands of new cases per day is already confirmed to have reached Italy, with reports of cases in Tuscany and Veneto.

READ ALSO: Indian coronavirus variant detected in northern Italy

Twenty-three people tested positive for coronavirus on a flight from New Delhi that landed in Rome on Wednesday night, local authorities said, out of 223 aboard.

All passengers were taken into supervised quarantine at specially converted hotels or military facilities near the capital, Rai reported, including those who tested negative.

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COVID-19

Reader Question: What are Italy’s Covid quarantine rules for travellers?

Italy's quarantine rules have changed so many times over the past couple of years, it can be hard to keep track. Here's the latest information on when and how visitors need to self-isolate.

Reader Question: What are Italy's Covid quarantine rules for travellers?

Question: “One of your recent articles says you can exit quarantine by testing negative for the coronavirus. But you can also exit quarantine by obtaining a Letter of Recovery from Covid-19… true?”

Unfortunately, official proof of having recovered from Covid-19 won’t get you out of the requirement to self-isolate if you test positive for Covid while visiting Italy – though it can shorten your quarantine period.

Anyone who tests positive in Italy is required to immediately self-isolate for a minimum of seven days: that’s if the person in question is fully vaccinated and boosted, or has completed their primary vaccination cycle or recovered from Covid less than 120 days ago.

That period is extended to 10 days for those who aren’t fully vaccinated and boosted, or those who recovered from Covid or completed their primary vaccination cycle more than 120 days ago.

READ ALSO: Travel in Italy and Covid rules this summer: what to expect

In either case, the infected person must have been symptomless for at least three days in order to exit quarantine (with the exception of symptoms relating to a lost sense of taste or smell, which can persist for some time after the infection is over).

The patient must also test negative for the virus via either a molecular (PCR) or rapid antigen test on the final day of the quarantine in order to be allowed out.

Quarantined people who keep testing positive for the virus can be kept in self-isolation for a maximum of 21 days, at which point they will be automatically released.

Italy does not currently require visitors from any country to test negative in order to enter its borders, as long as they are fully boosted or were recently vaccinated/ have recently recovered from Covid.

READ ALSO: How tourists and visitors can get a coronavirus test in Italy

Some countries (including the US), however, do require people travelling from Italy to test negative before their departure – which means visitors at the tail end of their journey could be hit with the unpleasant surprise of finding out they need to quarantine for another week in Italy instead of heading home as planned.

It’s because of this rule that a number of The Local’s readers told us they wouldn’t be coming on holiday to Italy this summer, and intend to postpone for another year.

If you are planning on visiting Italy from a country that requires you to test negative for Covid prior to re-entry, it’s a good idea to consider what you would do and where you would go in the unlikely event you unexpectedly test positive.

Please note that The Local cannot advise on specific cases. For more information about how the rules may apply to you, see the Italian Health Ministry’s website or consult the Italian embassy in your country.

You can keep up with the latest updates via our homepage or Italian travel news section.

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