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COVID-19 RULES

At a glance: What are the Covid-19 rules in Italy now?

Italy has lifted almost all of its pandemic-related health restrictions, but there are still some rules to be aware of.

Italian police officer on patrol in Rome.
Italy's top tourist destinations are welcoming back visitors this summer as most Covid restrictions have now been eased. Photo by Vincenzo PINTO / AFP

After years of frequently changing health measures in Italy, it can be hard to keep up with exactly what rules are in place.

For the first time in a long time, Italy now has almost no Covid restrictions in place and the rules are not expected to change in the coming weeks.

READ ALSO: Italy to keep quarantine rules in place as Covid cases rise

But, as the Italian health ministry remains cautious about managing the pandemic, there are still a couple of rules you’ll need to be aware of.

If you’re planning to visit Italy soon, here’s what to expect.

Travel to and within Italy

Travel to Italy for any reason, including tourism, is currently allowed from all countries.

As of June 1st, Italy has scrapped the requirement to show proof of coronavirus vaccination, recent recovery or a negative test result in order to enter the country.

This was the last remaining Covid-related rule in place for travellers to Italy, after the requirement for arrivals to complete an EU digital passenger locator form (dPLF) was lifted on May 1st.

Masks

Italy’s government on June 15th lifted its mask mandate for almost all public places.

However, higher-grade FFP2 masks remain a requirement on all forms of public transport, except for flights (both domestic and international) under rules which will stay in place until at least the end of September.

Masks also remain obligatory in hospitals, care homes and all other types of healthcare facilities.

Anyone refusing to comply with the rules can still face a fine of 400 euros.

READ ALSO:  Why are so many Italians still wearing face masks in shops?

Though it’s no longer a requirement, the government continues to advise people to wear masks in all crowded areas, including outdoors.

Private businesses and individual venues, including galleries and museums, may also impose their own mask mandates. 

Mask rules have been eased in Italy except for on public transport – though they remain recommended in crowded places. Photo by Vincenzo PINTO / AFP

Quarantine rules

Italy still requires anyone who tests positive for coronavirus while in the country to isolate for at least one week.

Following public debate over whether the isolation rule should now the scrapped, Italy’s health minister confirmed in late June that he has no intention of changing it anytime soon.

The health ministry’s existing rules state that anyone who tests positive while in Italy is required to immediately self-isolate for a minimum of seven days – if they’re fully vaccinated or recently recovered from Covid.

For anyone who is not classed as fully vaccinated or recently recovered, the isolation period is extended to 10 days.

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).

Reader question: How do Italy’s Covid quarantine rules work for travellers?

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.

Quarantined people who keep testing positive for the virus can be kept in self-isolation for a maximum of 21 days.

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

Photo by FILIPPO MONTEFORTE / AFP

Green passes

Italy no longer requires people to show proof of vaccination, recovery or a recent negative test result under the ‘green pass’ system which was in place last summer.

That means you’ll no longer need to show any form of health certificate in order to eat in a restaurant, visit museums, stay in a hotel, or use public transport.
 
However, if you end up visiting a hospital you will need to show proof of vaccination or recovery, or of a negative test result within the past 48 hours.
 
You won’t need an Italian green pass if you’re just visiting; Italy recognises proof of vaccination or recovery issued abroad as equivalent, providing it meets certain requirements.

Other restrictions

Italy no longer has any restrictions in place on business opening times or capacity.

Within Italy, there are no restrictions on travel and movement between regions under current rules set by the national government, though local authorities can impose their own measures at any time.

Note that local authorities and individual businesses in Italy can still set different rules than those at the national level, meaning certain rules may continue to vary from one place to another.

Italy’s health authorities continue to recommend precautions including social distancing and frequent hand-washing.

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.

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COVID-19 RULES

Will Italy drop its Covid isolation rule as the infection rate falls?

The health ministry is reviewing its quarantine requirements as the country's Covid-19 health situation improved again this week, according to Italian media reports.

Will Italy drop its Covid isolation rule as the infection rate falls?

Italy has taken a more cautious approach to Covid in recent months than many of its European neighbours, keeping strict isolation rules in place for anyone who tests positive for the virus.

But this could be set to change in the coming days, according to media reports, as one of Italy’s deputy health ministers said the government is about to cut the isolation period for asymptomatic cases.

“Certainly in the next few days there will be a reduction in isolation for those who are positive but have no symptoms,” Deputy Health Minister Andrea Costa said in a TV interview on the political talk show Agorà on Tuesday.

“We have to manage to live with the virus,” he said.

Italy’s La Stampa newspaper reported that the compulsory isolation period could be reduced to 48 hours for those who test positive but remain asymptomatic – provided they subsequently test negative after the day two mark.

Under Italy’s current rules, vaccinated people who test positive must stay in isolation for at least seven days, and unvaccinated people for ten days – regardless of whether or not they have any symptoms.

READ ALSO: How tourists and visitors can get a coronavirus test in Italy

At the end of the isolation period, the patient has to take another test to exit quarantine. Those who test negative are free to leave; those who remain positive must stay in isolation until they get a negative test result, up to a maximum of 21 days in total (at which point it doesn’t matter what the test result says).

Health ministry sources indicated the new rules would cut the maximum quarantine period to 15 or even 10 days for people who continue to test positive after the initial isolation period is up, La Stampa said.

The government is believed to be reviewing the rules as the latest official data showed Covid infection and hospitalisation rates were slowing again this week, as the current wave of contagions appeared to have peaked in mid-July.

However, the national Rt number (which shows the rate of transmission) remained above the epidemic threshold, and the number of fatalities continued to rise.

The proposed changes still aren’t lenient enough for some parties. Regional authorities have been pushing for an end to quarantine altogether, even for people who are actively positive – an idea Costa appears sympathetic to.

“The next step I think is to consider the idea of even eliminating the quarantine, perhaps by wearing a mask and therefore being able to go to work,” he told reporters.

“We must review the criteria for isolation, to avoid blocking the country again”.

At least one health expert, however, was unenthusiastic about the proposal.

Dr Nino Cartabellotta, head of Italy’s evidence-based medicine group Gimbe, tweeted on Tuesday: “There are currently no epidemiological or public health reasons to abolish the isolation of Covid-19 positives”

Massimo Andreoni, professor of Infectious Diseases at the Faculty of Medicine and Surgery of the Tor Vergata University of Rome, was more ambivalent about the prospect.

The isolation requirement for asymptomatic cases should be “revised somewhat in the light of the epidemiological data”, he told reporters, but urged “a minimum of precaution, because the less the virus circulates and the fewer severe cases there are, the fewer new variants arise”.

When the question was last raised at the end of June, Health Minister Roberto Speranza was firmly against the idea of lifting quarantine requirements for people who were Covid positive.

“At the moment such a thing is not in question,” he told newspaper La Repubblica at the time. “Anyone who is infected must stay at home.”

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