Reader question: How likely is Italy to change its restrictions on travel from the UK?

Reader question: How likely is Italy to change its restrictions on travel from the UK?
Photo: Filippo Monteforte/AFP
With Italy set to review its Covid restrictions on travellers from the United Kingdom by July 30th, dozens of readers have contacted The Local to ask whether the existing quarantine and testing rules are likely to be extended or scrapped from that date. Here's what we know so far.

Question: Do you know when an announcement will be made about whether the five-day quarantine for visitors from the UK will remain in place after July 30th? Do you think this will be included in the decree announcement this week?

Italy reinstated quarantine and double-testing requirements for all arrivals from the UK (including anyone who has transited there within the past 14 days) on June 21st amid concern about the Delta variant-driven surge in coronavirus cases in Britain.

As Italy is not currently making any exemptions for those who are vaccinated, and with steep fines for anyone found not following the rules, this abrupt change has proven a big problem for many of The Local’s UK-based readers – particularly those who had been planning to visit Italy this summer for shorter periods to attend weddings and other events.

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

Even those who were planning longer trips have had to rethink plans, not least because low demand resulted in airlines slashing the number of flights available on UK-Italy routes.

As well as waiting for the UK to remove Italy from its ‘amber’ travel list, would-be travellers have their hopes pinned on the Italian government’s own planned review of its rules before they’re set to expire on July 30th.

Unfortunately there has been no indication yet from any official sources as to whether the government is likely to extend the measure, change it, or scrap it altogether from that date.

If previous reviews of similar travel rules are anything to go by, it’s unlikely that the government will announce anything until a few days before the July 30th deadline.

Photo: Marco Bertorello/AFP

The Italian government is currently preparing a new decree containing changes to the country’s health measures, but this appears to cover only domestic restrictions.

Any updates to the international travel rules are usually announced separately via ordinances from the Italian health ministry, often just a few days before the deadline.

What’s likely to happen then?

Unfortunately, with no official indication either way it’s impossible to tell which way things will go when the rules are up for review.

While summer travel and tourism is important to Italy’s economy, authorities here have so far been more cautious when it comes to travel restrictions than some other southern European nations such as Spain.

REVEALED: How strictly is Italy enforcing rules on Covid testing and quarantine for UK arrivals?

Italy still has tight restrictions in place on travel from many non-EU countries. It is allowing entry from all EU and Schengen zone countries using the Europe-wide  ‘green pass’ scheme, and has allowed entry from some non-EU countries under the same terms – namely the US, Canada and Japan.

Italy’s health ministry said it had relaxed the rules for these countries due to their high vaccination rates and lower rate of infections.

This doesn’t sound like positive news for people in the UK, with Italy now entering its own Delta-driven fourth wave with more than 3,000 new cases daily, and contagions rising further in the UK as the English government scraps all precautions within the country.

But there is some hope for those who’ve been fully vaccinated, as talks are reportedly still ongoing between the EU and UK on the mutual recognition of vaccine passports.

Will Italy start recognising the UK’s proof of vaccination via the NHS app?

While there have been no updates on a possible EU-UK agreement for several weeks, France has this week begun to independently recognise proof of vaccination in the UK – triggering speculation that other countries may follow suit.

France is allowing UK visitors who were vaccinated to upload their NHS certificates to the French health pass app – even though this recognition only goes one way, as the UK is not currently recognising France or any other EU countries’ health passes.

Whether or not more countries might start recognising each others’ health passports may depend on whether their apps are able to “communicate” with each other, as much as on international relations.

There has been no word yet from Italian authorities or either the British Embassy in Rome or the Italian Embassy in London as to whether the two countries are working on a bilateral agreement on recognising or using each others’ health passports.

On Monday, the Italian Embassy in London updated its website and posted on social media to stress that the UK’s health pass is not currently recognised in Italy, and vice versa.

“The ‘Covid pass’ contained within the NHS app does not guarantee an exemption from the health rules (fiduciary isolation and testing obligation) for travellers to Italy,” the embassy wrote.

Some travellers may be eligible to skip quarantine in Italy under certain exemptions – see the Italian Foreign Ministry’s official travel website here for more information.

And anyone vaccinated under the NHS can currently return home to the UK after a trip abroad without facing a quarantine period – though people who were vaccinated in Italy would still face quarantine in the UK under current ‘amber’ list rules.

Note that these rules are based on which country you travel from, and not which passport you hold.

The Local will continue to follow the travel restrictions closely. Please check our homepage or travel news section for the most recent reports on any changes to the rules.

For more information about the current coronavirus-related restrictions on travel to Italy please see the Foreign Ministry’s website (in English).


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