Coronavirus Update: Italy Orders Testing for People Returning From Holidays Abroad

Mon, 08/17/2020 - 09:14
Passengers in line wearing masks at Fiumicino Airport in Rome

Italy’s Health Ministry signed a new ordinance on August 13, which requires all people who have stayed in or transited through Croatia, Greece, Malta and Spain in the 14 days prior entry into Italy to be tested for Covid-19, in an attempt to contain an increase in the number of positive cases and avoid the import of new cases from countries currently considered at risk. 

The ordinance will be in effect until September 7. Spain, Greece and Malta have all officially confirmed that a second wave of Covid-19 is underway in their countries, according to Euronews, while Greece is currently facing the worst rate of infections since the beginning of the pandemic, reports the news site. These four countries are all popular Mediterranean destinations for Italians’ summer vacations. 

Under the new decree, anyone who returns from any of these four countries must prove to have tested negative to the virus or prepare to self-isolate until their test results are in.

It remains to be seen how the new decree will be enforced. Currently only Rome Fiumicino and Ciampino airports, as well as Venice and Verona airports, have set up areas for passengers to take rapid tests on the spot. Where this is not available, travelers are required to carry out a test within two days of entering Italy and to stay in isolation in the meantime, unless they possess a certificate obtained within the last 72 hours which shows they are Covid-19 free.

Anyone found to be positive, including asymptomatic cases, must report to the local health authorities.

Strangely enough, Italy has not included France in the list of countries for which mandatory testing is required, despite a considerable rise in cases there, between 2,500 and 3,000 a day. 

In the past few days, there has been a slight surge in cases in Italy, although numbers are still contained (between 300 and 500 a day, mostly in clusters). 

Another culprit for the increase in cases has been attributed to youngsters congregating at night in bars, discos and on the streets, as is typical of summer. Some accuse them of gathering without taking the necessary precautions. Thus, the government signed a new decree Sunday night ordering a three-week closure of discos and dance venues and mandatory mask wearing “in all public areas where groups could form at night,” from 6 pm to 6 am.