The Italy Health Ministry on Friday announced the nation will drop its mandatory quarantine rule, from May 16, for visitors from the European Union, Britain and Israel who test negative for COVID-19.
With the vaccination rollout picking up speed in the EU, more countries are looking to ease travel restrictions this summer to help the tourism sector recover from the pandemic.
Tourism Minister Massimo Garavaglia said, “We have been waiting for this move for a long time and it anticipates a Europe-wide travel pass.”
From June, The European Union intends to start a unified system recording COVID-19 vaccinations, tests and recovery to allow more movement.
Visitors from the EU, UK and Israel have so far been required to quarantine on arrival for five days and were required to take two COVID-19 tests – one before arrival and the second at the end of their isolation period. However, the Ministry has explained that despite abolishing the quarantine requirement, a negative swab pre-travel will still be needed.
At present, visitors from countries with low infection rates, such as Australia, Rwanda, Singapore, New Zealand, South Korea, or Thailand, are allowed to enter Italy, but are subject to a mandatory quarantine of ten days.
Meanwhile, passengers from the US, Canada, Japan or any other country outside the EU are only allowed to enter Italy for essential reasons and not for tourism. Due to the present COVID-19 situation in Brazil, entry restrictions on those travelling from Brazil will continue to remain in place said the health ministry.
Italy’s Prime Minister Mario Draghi has also promised to extend the COVID-tested flights from certain destinations in Canada, Japan and the United Arab Emirates. Passenger on these flights will be allowed to skip quarantine if they test negative upon arrival on these routes, as well as on certain flights to Rome, Milan, Naples and Venice. The traveller must also be in possession of a negative test result before travelling.
The government of Italy had enforced severe international travel restrictions over the past few months in its fight against the spread of the coronavirus infection. With a steady decline of recorded Covid-19 cases in recent weeks, thanks in part to an increasingly effective vaccination campaign, the country is now easing its travel restrictions as it looks to give summer tourism a boost.
The national health institute (ISS) said on Friday the “R” reproduction number had dropped to 0.86 from 0.89 reported a week earlier. An “R” rate above 1 indicates that infections will grow exponentially. 19 of Italy’s 20 regions will be designated as “low-infection” zones and only one as a “medium-risk” one. On Monday, Prime Minister Mario Draghi’s government is also due to take a look into the nationwide 10 p.m. curfew and decide on whether the curfew should be eased or abolished.