Italy is tightening its restrictions on all travelers in response to the growing threat of the omicron variant.
From tomorrow, December 16, arrivals from other European Union countries will have to take a COVID test before arriving in the country.
Previously, proof of vaccination, recent recovery or negative test was sufficient for visitors to the Schengen area. But now, like arrivals from the UK and other non-EU countries, they must begin the testing process before they embark.
Italy’s Council of Ministers also agreed yesterday, December 14, that all unvaccinated travelers “will incur the quarantine requirement” for five days. They can then test for release.
What are the testing requirements for Italy?
The new rules mean that all travelers who are fully vaccinated against the virus will have to present a negative COVID test before leaving for Italy. This can be either an antigen test – which should be done 24 hours before departure – or a PCR test, which should have been done within 48 hours.
Restrictions for non-EU travelers have been tightened accordingly. The British, for example, already had to take a pre-departure test, but the time frame in which they can do so will be reduced to match the above.
Signed Tuesday evening by the Italian Minister of Health, these testing rules will remain in place until at least January 31.
Extended state of emergency in Italy
Italy’s COVID infection rate is lower than other Western European countries, including the UK, France and Germany. But with around 20,000 new cases per day and increasing, it is also strengthening national measures to bring the highly transmissible variant of omicron under control.
Last night, Italian ministers voted to extend the country’s state of emergency until March 31, 2022.
This means that the national government and regional authorities will retain their power to impose new laws in the short term if the health situation demands more stringent measures.
Under this decree, Italian residents and visitors will continue to wear “Super Green Passes” to access a number of social places.
This new green pass was launched last week and it shows evidence of vaccination or recovery from the virus in the past six months. The original Basic Green Pass can be obtained by testing negative, but does not grant holders access to places like theaters, cinemas, restaurants and bars.
The super pass system was supposed to be withdrawn in mid-January, but has now been extended to March 31, 2022 as Italy ramps up its vaccination and recall campaign.