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At a glance: How Italy’s Covid rules are changing this week

From travel restrictions to a change to the green pass rules, here's an overview of all the pandemic-related rule changes you need to know about in Italy this week

People wearing face masks on Rome's Via del Corso shopping street.
People wearing face masks on Rome's Via del Corso shopping street. Photo: Vincenzo PINTO/AFP

Testing requirement for all arrivals

The Italian government on Tuesday night announced tightened travel restrictions for arrivals from other countries within the European Union (or Italy’s travel list C) meaning from Thursday December 16th all travellers will now need to show a negative test result regardless of their vaccination status, and unvaccinated arrivals must also undergo a five-day quarantine period and test for release.

Children under the age of 12 are exempt from the quarantine requirement if they are travelling with parents or family members who can show proof of vaccination or recovery.

READ ALSO: How Italy’s travel rules change on Thursday

For those arriving from the UK and northern Ireland, the Italian health ministry’s ordinance stated that molecular (PCR) tests must now be taken within the 48 hour period before departure and rapid antigen (LFT) tests in the 24 hours before arrival, instead of 48 as was previously the case.

The rules for arrivals in Italy from the UK and northern Ireland otherwise remain unchanged under the new update, as the testing and quarantine rules just imposed on the EU were already in place for the UK.

For other non-EU countries on Italy’s travel list D, including the United States and Canada, the new ordinance effectively extends existing measures and there are no changes.

These rules will be in place until at least January 31st 2022. See more details here.

State of emergency extended

The Italian government on Tuesday also approved an extension to the nationwide state of emergency, which will now stay in place until March 31st, 2020.

Italy’s state of emergency, which was first introduced on January 31st 2020, gives greater powers to the national government and regions authorities, making it possible for laws to be passed quickly in response to the changing health situation.

Vaccine obligation extended to more workers

From Wednesday, all those working in Italy’s schools, police, military, or emergency services must be vaccinated against Covid-19, with sanctions for those who refuse.

After Italy made vaccinations mandatory for all healthcare workers in April, the requirement was extended to more key workers in a decree first announced on November 26th. The rule came into effect on December 15th.

EXPLAINED: Who does Italy’s new Covid vaccine mandate apply to?

The obligation applies to workers including health administrative staff, school teachers and administrative staff, military personnel, police and emergency services personnel.

Anyone in these categories who refuses to get vaccinated will face sanctions, which can include suspension from work without pay. See more details here.

Photo: Miguel Medina/AFP

Vaccines for under-12s rolled out

Italian health authorities have begun vaccinating Italy’s 3.5 million children aged between five and 11 this week, with the first vaccines for this age group administered in the Lazio region around Rome on Wednesday.

Other regional health authorities are set to begin offering the jab to under-12s from Thursday December 16th, following the national medicine regulator’s authorisation of anti-Covid vaccines for this age group.

Immunisation of the 5-11 age group is not, however, aimed at obtaining the Covid-19 health certificate, or ‘green pass’, needed in order to access most of public life in Italy. The health ministry has confirmed that although green passes can be issued to children following vaccination, under-12s remain exempt from any requirement to show the pass.

Find more information about vaccines for children in Italy here.

Green pass rules tightened

The Italian government is expected to update the rules on the use of its ‘green pass’ health certificate this week, meaning anyone who tests positive for Covid will have their certificate suspended.

A so-called ‘super’ green pass based on vaccination or recovery is currently required for entry to cultural and leisure venues including indoor bars and restaurants, as well as for access to long-distance public transport.

Q&A: How does Italy’s Covid ‘super green pass’ work?

Workplaces and essential services can be accessed with a ‘basic’ green pass, which can be issued based on a negative test result.

An announcement on this change is expected from the government by Friday.

See more of the latest news and updates from The Local on Italy’s current Covid-19 health measures and travel restrictions.

Member comments

  1. ‘and rapid antigen (LFT) tests in the 24 hours before arrival, instead of 48 as was previously the case.’

    Before arrival or before departure – it makes a big difference?

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For members


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 certificate 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.

The health ministry’s current rules state that anyone who tests positive while 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 was certified as being 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.

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).

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

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.

Read more about getting tested while in Italy in a separate article here.

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.