TRAVEL: Italy introduces random Covid testing for arrivals

Random Covid testing is in place for anyone entering Italy.
Random Covid testing is in place for anyone entering Italy. Photo by Marco Bertorello / AFP
The Italian government has introduced spot testing for anyone entering the country for tourism, work or any other reason alongside existing testing and vaccination requirements.

Italy tightened its Covid-19 controls at ports, airports, stations and borders with random antigenic or molecular tests for arrivals as of December 25th.

The decision came as part of a new decree to curb the soaring infections fuelled by the Omicron variant, announced by Health Minister Roberto Speranza on Thursday December 23rd.

EXPLAINED: What changes under Italy’s new Covid decree?

If a person is swabbed when entering Italy and tests positive, they will be required to undergo isolation for a period of ten days.

Travellers who have tested positive and who have no suitable accommodation can be required to stay in a ‘Covid hotel’ where they can be monitored by local health authorities, according to the decree text.

This stay would be at the traveller’s own expense, with costs varying from region to region.

“In order to contain the spread of the Sars-Cov-2 virus, the Offices of Maritime, Air and Border Health and of Health Assistance to Aircrew of the Ministry of Health will carry out antigenic or molecular tests on travellers entering the national territory, n a random basis, at airports, maritime and land terminals,” reads the decree.

The Italian government has earmarked over €3.5 million to finance the move throughout 2022.

As well as random testing for all arrivals to Italy, the decree has brought back the obligation to wear masks outdoors, temporarily banned public events and will also shorten the validity of Italy’s ‘green pass’ Covid health certificate.

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Some changes were effective immediately as of Saturday, December 25th and other rule changes are set to come in during January and February.

Authorities have announced other possible changes in response to the spiking Omicron variant in Italy, such as reviewing the seven-day Covid quarantine rules for those who are fully vaccinated.

This came amid predictions the country could soon see 100,000 new cases a day.

Italy marked a record 44,595 coronavirus infections in 24 hours last week, the highest daily number of infections seen in the country since the start of the pandemic.

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


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