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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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TRAVEL NEWS

Is the EU likely to reinstate Covid travel restrictions?

A meeting is scheduled for Wednesday in Brussels to discuss the latest Covid situation in China - so could this mark the return of vaccine passports and travel restrictions?

Is the EU likely to reinstate Covid travel restrictions?

Several EU countries including France, Italy and Spain (as well as non-EU countries including the UK and USA) have already imposed travel restrictions on arrivals from China, over fears of new variants of Covid-19.

The countries announced their restrictions – mostly amounting to compulsory tests and masks – on a unilateral basis at the end of last week, but there have been calls for greater co-ordination at an EU level.

There is now a meeting scheduled for Wednesday of the EU Integrated Policy Response Capability to discuss coordinating measures, with an insider telling Politico: “The idea is to harmonise, but without being extremely prescriptive.”

The meeting has been called by Sweden, which now holds the rotating presidency of the EU. 

So what measures are likely?

At present the countries that have announced restrictions have only imposed testing and mask rules – there is no requirement to show proof of vaccination and no travel bans. All measures only apply only to travellers from China.

A meeting of the European Health Safety Committee last Thursday did not produce any concrete measures, with EU Health Commissioner Stella Kyriakides merely urging member states to coordinate quickly. It was after this that some countries announced their own restrictions.

If anything more concrete comes out of Wednesday’s meeting, it is likely to refer to testing or mask rules only and like the previous EU Covid travel policies, will be advisory for countries to follow.

Because borders are a national competence, countries can impose their own measures without having to consult the EU.

Despite the introduction of the EU digital vaccine passport, countries never managed to entirely co-ordinate their travel rules during 2020 and 2021.

In most EU countries the health pass or vaccine pass apps remain active, and could be used again if necessary. 

Will there be travel bans?

At this stage more draconian restrictions – such as the ‘red lists’ or ‘essential travel only’ rules of 2021 seem unlikely.

Most EU countries have a high level of vaccine cover, so would probably only resort to travel restrictions if new variants – against which current Covid vaccines are not effective – emergence in China (or any other country).  

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