What does the UK government’s ‘amber traffic light’ mean for travel to Italy?

As the UK government has announced changes to its traffic light system for travel, Italy remains on the 'amber' list. Here's a reminder of what that means for people travelling between Italy and the UK now.

What does the UK government’s ‘amber traffic light’ mean for travel to Italy?
Italy is still on the UK's 'amber list' for travel. Photo: MARCO BERTORELLO/AFP

This article was updated on June 25th.

The UK’s traffic light system for travel was updated on Thursday, reassigning countries into red, amber and green classifications, based on each country’s health data such as Covid-19 case numbers and vaccination rates.

Italy, although speculated to move onto the UK’s ‘green list’ this time, didn’t in fact get downgraded and remains on the UK’s ‘amber list’, along with all the other countries The Local covers; Austria, Denmark, France, Germany, Norway, Spain, Sweden and Switzerland.

However, even though Italy hasn’t moved onto a new list, there are some changes for countries in this moderate-risk category.

So what does it mean if you’re travelling between the UK and Italy right now? Here’s the latest you need to know.

Reasons for travel between the UK and Italy

You don’t need to prove that your trip is essential, as travel from an amber list country is permitted for any reason. You also don’t have to be a UK national or resident as entry is not limited to these groups.

However, there are rules on testing and quarantine in place – there are 10 days of isolating and PCR tests are required on days two and eight of quarantine.

Arrivals into the UK must:

  • Have a negative Covid test to show at the border.
  • Complete the passenger locator form – find that HERE.
  • Quarantine for 10 days – this can be done in a location of their choice including the home of a friend or family member and there is no need to pay for a “quarantine hotel”.
  • Arrivals also have to pay for travel-testing kits which cost around £200 per person.

READ ALSO: What Covid-19 tests do I need for travel between Italy and the UK?

Some reasons for travel and professions may have grounds for being exempt from quarantine. You can find more details here.

Although you can travel to an amber list country, the UK authorities advise against it for leisure or tourism reasons. So it’s not a travel ban, but the government warns against it.

As it’s official advice, it can invalidate travel insurance, so check your policy before you travel.

READ ALSO: Who can travel to Italy right now?

If Italy in the future makes it onto the green list, then no quarantine is necessary, unless you tested positive for Covid-19 or if you travelled to England with someone who had tested positive.

Some testing would still remain in place too. You have to take a Covid-19 test on or before day two after you arrive, with children aged 4 and under being exempt.

Italy’s travel rules

The above is what you need to know to enter the UK and is the government’s advice to amber list countries, but what about Italy’s latest travel restrictions?

Travel to Italy from the UK has changed again, as the Italian government reinstated a mandatory quarantine and testing for UK arrivals, amid concerns about the spread of the Delta coronavirus variant.

This comes just a month after Italy had dropped the quarantine for those travelling from the UK.

Travel into Italy from the UK is currently allowed for any reason. However, anyone who has been on British territory in the 14 days before arrival in Italy must quarantine for five days, regardless of nationality. 

You must also submit the address of where you spend the isolation period to local health authorities within 48 hours of arrival. Find contact details here.

The Italian authorities reserve the right to call you up or even visit you in person to check that you’re observing quarantine.

The location can be a private one or that of an accommodation provider (if the provider accepts you quarantining on their premises). There is currently no supervised quarantine under a ‘Covid hotel’ system for arrivals from Britain, as is being used in the UK.

READ ALSO: How should travellers from the UK quarantine in Italy?

Anyone found not to be following these rules could end up with hefty fines, including up to €1000 for breaking quarantine.

The new rules are in force from June 21st until at least July 30th, stated the Italian Embassy in London.

Before your trip, you should also fill out a European Digital Passenger Locator Form (dPLF), giving details of where you’re departing from and where you’ll be staying. The form is available online here.


What about people who are vaccinated?

On the subject of vaccinated travellers, a spokesman for the British Department of Transport told UK media: “In recognition of our successful domestic vaccination programme, and as part of the Global Travel Taskforce’s checkpoint review, our intention is that later in the summer, arrivals who are fully vaccinated will not have to quarantine when travelling from amber list countries.

For more information on international travel to and from Italy, see the Foreign Ministry’s website.

The Local is not able to give advice on individual cases.

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Covid-19: Are Italian live events at risk of being postponed?

As the infection rate rises sharply across the country, Italian virologists are calling for concerts and festivals to be rescheduled.

Covid-19: Are Italian live events at risk of being postponed?

Italy has seen a large increase in the number of Covid-19 cases in recent days, so much so that a number of virologists across the country are now urging the government to postpone major live events in a bid to curb infections. 

According to a new report by Italy’s independent health watchdog, the Gimbe Foundation, 595,349 new cases were recorded in the week from June 29th to July 5th; a worrying 55 percent increase on the previous week. 

In the same time span, the country also registered a 32.8 percent rise in the number of hospitalised patients, which went from 6,035 to 8,003.  

The latest Covid wave, which is being driven by the highly contagious Omicron 5 variant, is a “real cause for concern”, especially in terms of a “potential patient overload”, said Nino Cartabellotta, president of the Gimbe Foundation. 

As Italian cities prepare to host a packed calendar of concerts and festivals this summer, health experts are questioning whether such events should actually take place given the high risk of transmission associated with mass gatherings.

READ ALSO: What tourists in Italy need to know if they get Covid-19

“Rescheduling these types of events would be the best thing to do right now,” said Massimo Ciccozzi, Director of Epidemiology at Campus Bio-Medico University of Rome. 

The summer wave is expected to peak in mid-July but, Ciccozzi warns, the upcoming live events might “delay [the peak] until the end of July or even beyond” and extend the infection curve.

Antonello Maruotti, Professor of Statistics at LUMSA University of Rome, recently shared Ciccozzi’s concerns, saying that live events as big as Maneskin’s scheduled Rome concert are “definitely not a good idea”. 

The Italian rock band are slated to perform at the Circus Maximus on Saturday, July 9th but the expected turnout – over 70,000 fans are set to attend the event – has raised objections from an array of Italian doctors, with some warning that the concert might cause as many as 20,000 new cases.

If it were to materialise, the prospected scenario would significantly aggravate Lazio’s present medical predicament as there are currently over 186,000 Covid cases in the region (nearly 800 patients are receiving treatment in local hospitals). 

Italian rock band Maneskin performing in Turin

Italian rock band Maneskin are expected to perform at the Circus Maximus in Rome on Saturday, July 9th. Photo by Marco BERTORELLO / AFP

But, despite pleas to postpone the event, it is likely that Maneskin’s concert will take place as scheduled.

Alessandro Onorato, Rome’s Tourism Councillor, said that rescheduling is “out of question” and that “all recommendations from the local medical authorities will be adopted” with the help of the event’s organisers and staff on the ground.

At the time of writing, there is also no indication that the Italian government will consider postponing other major live events scheduled to take place in the coming weeks, though the situation is evolving rapidly and a U-turn on previous dispositions can’t be ruled out.

READ ALSO: At a glance: What are the Covid-19 rules in Italy now?

On this note, it is worth mentioning that Italy has now scrapped all of its former Covid measures except the requirement to wear FFP2 face masks on public transport (though not on planes) and in healthcare settings.

The use of face coverings is, however, still recommended in all crowded areas, including outdoors – exactly the point that leading Italian doctors are stressing in the hope that live events will not lead to large-scale infection.

Antonio Magi, President of Rome’s OMCEO (College of Doctors, Surgeons and Dentists), said: “Our advice is to wear FFP2 masks […] in high-risk situations.”

“I hope that young people will heed our recommendations and think about the health risks that their parents or grandparents might be exposed to after the event [they attend].”