Tuesday, June 8, 2021

Travelling to Italy This Summer Amid COVID: What You Need to Know Before Booking a Trip

Italy is currently in an emergency state as the country is emerging from a lockdown that lasted for two months after it battled with a third wave of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Being severely hit in the initial stages of the pandemic, Italy was one of the first countries to open for EU visitors in June 2020.

At the end of March this year, the country introduced a mandatory quarantine requirement to all arrivals from a European country. Whereas, on April 7, the advice was extended to arrivals from anywhere in the world who were permitted to enter the country under the entry ban exemptions list.

The Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi announced on May 5, 2021, that the authorities plan to open the border for other visitors. Such a decision has been approved by the Minister of Health Roberto Speranza, who informed that arrivals for the EU/Schengen Area, Israel, and the UK will be permitted to enter.

If you are planning to travel to Italy during the COVID-19 pandemic, here’s what you need to know and expect.

Travellers From Which Countries Are Permitted to Enter Italy?

Following shutdowns over the winter holidays, the Italian border reopened in January 2021.

Countries currently allowed to enter Italy are divided into two groups, European countries and non-European countries.

Italy permits entry to most European countries, more precisely to Austria, Andorra, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Denmark, Estonia, France, Finland, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Iceland, Latvia, Lithuania, Liechtenstein, Luxembourg, Monaco, Malta, the Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Poland, Czech Republic, Romania, Slovenia, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden, and Switzerland.

All persons arriving in Italy from any country mentioned above are required to present a negative COVID-19 test result taken within 48 hours of arrival.

The five-day quarantine for these countries was abolished on May 17.

Arrivals from the United Kingdom are also allowed to enter Italy without being subject to the quarantine requirement. However, they must still present a negative Coronavirus test result taken within 48 hours of arrival.

Israeli nationals are also permitted entry as long as they provide a negative test result. Similar to the UK, the quarantine requirement does not apply to these arrivals.

Additionally, American citizens can enter Italy as well, provided they are travelling by using ‘Covid-tested’ flights.

Travellers from non-European countries allowed to enter Italy are Australia, New Zealand, South Korea, Rwanda, Singapore, and Thailand. All arrivals from these countries are allowed unrestricted entry. Nonetheless, they are still required to self-isolate from 14 days upon arrival at a place of their choice and must not use public transport to get to their accommodation.

Currently, tourism from any other country is not allowed. Considering that overnight stays should be registered, there’s no chance of sneaking to Italy via another country.

Italy’s ‘COVID-Tested’ Flights

‘Covid-tested’ flights are flights that have been approved by the Ministry of Health, between Italy and countries for which there is still an entry ban in place. For a person to be able to board one of these flights, they are required to provide a negative test result, not older than 48 hours to the carrier, fill in a self-declaration and passenger locator form, and undergo a second test upon arrival at the airport.

“Passengers on these flights, following the above-mentioned protocol, are authorised to enter and transit into the Italian national territory, without having to comply with the obligations of health surveillance and fiduciary isolation,” the Ministry’s statement reads.

Leisure travel will now be allowed from the US, provided that the travellers arrive by one of the ‘Covid-tested’ flights approved by the government. Currently, only Alitalia and Delta run these flights.

Flights are currently operating on the following routes:

  • New York – Rome Fiumicino
  • Atlanta – Rome Fiumicino
  • New York – Milan Malpensa
  • Atlanta – Milan Malpensa

‘Covid-tested’ flights are also operating from three other countries, including Canada, Japan, and United Arb Emirates.

US, Canada, Japan, and UAE travellers arriving on a ‘Covid-tested’ flight must undergo testing three times if arriving at one of the following airports:

  • Fiumicino
  • Milan Malpensa
  • Naples Capodichino
  • Venice Marco Polo

The first test should be carried out 48 hours before boarding, the second one at the airport, and the third on arrival. If all three tests result negative, they may skip quarantine.

Italy’s Current Restrictions for Countries With Higher COVID-19 Infection Rates

Arrivals from European countries that are allowed entry must present a negative PCR test result carried out within 72 hours of their arrival and fill in a self-declaration form. They are also required to report to the local authorities about their arrival.

The same rules apply to Israel and the UK arrivals, though with a test taken 48 hours before arrival.

Arrivals from any country that is permitted entry are exempt from the self-isolation requirement.

Stringent rules apply to those travelling from a COVID-19 highly affected country, including India, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, and Brazil.

All persons who have been in Brazil during the past 14 days or transited through the country for more than 12 hours must provide a negative test result taken within 48 hours and undergo second testing on arrival. After that, they must quarantine for 14 days and undergo another test at the end of the quarantine period.

The restrictions against arrivals from Brazil have been extended until July 30.

Only legal residents of Italy may enter from India, Bangladesh, and Sri Lanka by presenting a negative test result taken within 48 hours of arrival. Anyone who has travelled through Bangladesh or India is required to take another test upon arrival and then quarantine for ten days at a place indicated by the authorities. They are required to undergo another test on day ten before leaving quarantine.

All persons travelling for essential purposes from countries that are banned entry must quarantine for 14 days.

COVID-19 Vaccine Passport

On May 4, Prime Minister Mario Draghi revealed plans for the establishment of a national “green pass”. The pass will indicate whether the holder has been vaccinated against COVID-19, has recovered from the virus, or has a recent negative test result, as a part of the EU vaccination passport initiative.

Draghi confirmed that tourists will also qualify for the pass and said that the country planned to launch it by mid-May, though no details have been given yet.

In addition, Draghi claimed that he wants to open the border for vaccinated travellers from the US, Canada, and Japan, without quarantine requirement. Meanwhile, on May 14, it was revealed that the ‘Covid-tested’ flights from the US would now allow tourism too.

What to Expect When Visiting Italy

All persons wishing to travel to Italy should keep in mind that based on infection levels, the country is currently divided into four zones: red, orange, yellow, and white.

As part of the Coronavirus preventative measures, it is mandatory to wear a mask at all times in indoor and outdoor places as well as keep a distance of at least one metre.

Since May 24, all regions have turned yellow, but there are microzones within the regions where the cases are increasing. Thus, it is suggested that everyone checks the local restrictions before travelling.

In yellow zones, restaurants and bars are already open throughout the day, allowing outdoor and indoor dining. No more than four people are allowed per table unless they live together, and the diners should be home before the imposed night curfew.

The 10 pm curfew was extended to 11 pm on May 19 and will remain effective across the country until further notice.

People now can invite guests at the home of up to four adults and an unlimited number of children. Trips to second homes are also allowed.

Additionally, sports activities have resumed, allowing up to 1,000 spectators in open environments and 500 in closed ones. Shops are open too, permitting only small numbers of people inside, while shopping centres may only remain open on weekends and holidays.

Cinemas, concert halls, and theatres have also reopened, but only with 50 per cent capacity and everyone is required to follow the social distancing measures and make reservations beforehand.

Similarly, museums and other cultural institutions are open, but only on the weekends. During the working days, admissions are limited, SchengenVisaInfo.com reports.

In contrast, as extremely low-risk areas, white zones are practically back to normal. All areas belonging to the white zone are exempt from the restrictions, but local authorities can impose their own rules depending on the situation.

Italy’s Lazio region of Rome has launched a tourism campaign of €10 million to attract tourists to stay longer by granting extra free nights and subsidising the accommodation cost in the capital and other surrounding areas.

Travel Insurance: A Necessity for All Travellers

It is recommended that all persons wishing to travel to Italy or any other country during the summer purchase extended travel insurance that covers epidemic and pandemic situations.

Such insurance would ensure that in case of trip cancellations due to the COVID-19 situations, a considerate amount of money can be saved.

You can buy medical travel insurance protection for Italy at a very low cost from MondialCare, AXA Assistance or Europ Assistance.

COVID-19 Situation in Italy

As the first European country to be severely hit by the pandemic, Italy has been through many health-related hardships. However, a stringent lockdown put the Coronavirus situation under control.

Still, cases started increasing again in September, and another third wave took off in February 2021.

The first quarter of 2021 was spent by most of the country under lockdown restrictions, with infection rates increasing regardless of the measures.

As of June 4, 2021, Italy has registered 4,223,200 COVID-19 infection cases and 126,283 deaths. Nonetheless, on May 16, the country registered fewer than 100 deaths per day for the first time.

As for the vaccination campaign, it is finally speeding up after months of delays. The country has administered at least 35,817,595 doses of COVID-19 vaccines up to date, with a rate of around 498,549 doses per day during the last week.

Italy is mainly administering vaccines offered by Comirnaty, Moderna, AstraZeneca, and Johnson & Johnson.



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