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TRAVEL: Italy scraps Covid quarantine rules for EU, Britain and Israel

Italy's government on Friday said it was scrapping quarantine requirements for visitors from the European Union, Britain and Israel who test negative for coronavirus, as it seeks to entice tourists this summer.

TRAVEL: Italy scraps Covid quarantine rules for EU, Britain and Israel
Photo: Andreas Solaro/AFP

Under new rules that come into force from Sunday, Italy will also extend so-called “Covid-free” flights, currently in place to and from the United States, to Canada, Japan and the United Arab Emirates.

At the same time, measures blocking arrivals from Brazil have been extended.

“Health Minister Roberto Speranza has signed a decree that provides for entry from countries in the EU and the Schengen area, as well as Britain and Israel, with a negative test, overcoming the current system of mini-quarantine,” the spokesman said.

Visitors from those countries have until now been required to undergo a five-day quarantine and two coronavirus tests.

Now visitors will only need to show proof of a negative test result, though no further details of the requirement for travellers were immediately available on Friday.

US, Canada and Japan

Italy also wants to allow tourists from the United States, Canada and Japan to visit without quarantine if they have been vaccinated, Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi has said.

While the first step is to vaccinate as many residents of Italy as possible before the summer, Draghi said, he also indicated that Italy would revise its strict rules on entering from overseas

Last weekend Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio suggested that tourists from the US would be allowed to return from June, the month that the European Union has pledged to reopen to vaccinated or tested travellers from outside the bloc.

In recent days government ministers have repeatedly indicated that a change in Italy’s travel rules is imminent without giving firm dates for different countries, to the confusion and frustration of people trying to finalise holiday plans. 

READ ALSO: How the Italian government has left tourists angry and confused about summer plans

Leaders of the G7 countries – Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, the UK, the US and the EU – are due to meet from June 11-13th, with travel sure to be on the agenda.

Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi has said the return of tourists is crucial to the recovery of the eurozone’s third largest economy, which was one of the EU countries worst hit by coronavirus.

Outdoor eating in cafes and restaurants resumed in Italy’s lower risk ‘yellow zones’ last month, and museums and cinemas reopened, although a 10pm curfew remains in place nationwide.

READ ALSO: 

Draghi is under pressure from the far-right League and other parties supporting his so-called ‘national unity’ government to allow further reopenings, and the issue is set to dominate scheduled coalition talks on Monday.

Italy’s rate of infections has slowed in recent weeks, while the vaccination campaign has gained pace after months of delays.

Some 26 million doses have so far been administered in the country of 60 million people, with around eight million people fully vaccinated.

Member comments

  1. I will never understand this lack of clarity on tourists from the United States (just a simple allowed or not allowed). I changed all of our plans last night, we will go to Spain instead.

      1. Was hoping our plans for Italy would work out but I couldn’t wait any longer to change our reservations.

  2. Good news! But as we sit by Lake Como now, having done the two tests and the 5 day quarantine, it’s interesting to see how many tourists are already here who tell us they haven’t followed the rules which are valid until tomorrow!!!

  3. If we are American from Los Angeles, fly to Greece for 1 week, fly from Greece to Venice. Will we be exempt from quarantine with these new rules?

    1. I doubt it. Italy is notorious for being inflexible with things like this. However we had no trouble at Dubai airport with our Italian test results late last year.

    2. Yes, I have had it done 2x for travel. In Sorrento and in Rome. It’s been no problem. You just have to ask.

  4. Here’s hoping Australians will be exempt from quarantine too! Although we have the added challenge of gaining permission from our government to leave Australia with no end in sight to the strict travel requirements here in Australia. Feeling imprisoned. Help! 🙂

  5. Scotland just extended level 3 and the rest of the UK are worried about increasing Indian variant….😱

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COVID-19

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].”

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