Italy reopens to British tourists with a negative COVID-19 test result

May 17, 2021

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Italy is ready to welcome British tourists back with open arms. Over the weekend, the country announced that beginning this week, it will allow travellers coming from the U.K., EU and Israel to enter with a negative COVID-19 test result.

The new, relaxed border restrictions took effect as of 16 May, meaning British tourists can now visit Italy with just a negative COVID-19 PCR test result. Keep in mind, however, that Italy is currently on the U.K.’s amber list, meaning a 10-day quarantine is required on return home.

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As of Sunday, Italy has scrapped its mandatory quarantine requirement for arrivals from the U.K., EU and Israel. The move coincides not only with rapidly accelerating vaccine distribution around the European continent but also with the U.K.’s resumption of travel from 17 May.

“We have been waiting for this move for a long time and it anticipates a Europe-wide travel pass,” said Italy’s Tourism Minister Massimo Garavaglia.

As of June, the EU plans to launch its Digital Green Certificate as a means to reopen travel between Member States with record of vaccination or proof of negative COVID-19 test.

Pitigliano. (Photo by Gary Yeowell/Getty Images)

Italy has recorded nearly 124,000 COVID-19-related deaths since the start of the pandemic. However, its vaccine programme, which has sped up in recent weeks, and steadily declining infection rate has seen the relaxing of restrictions within the country. In total, 19 of Italy’s 20 regions are designated as “low-infection” zones, while one is categorised as a “medium-risk” zone.

The country’s Prime Minister Mario Draghi is set to announce on Monday whether or not it will rethink its nationwide 10 p.m. curfew.

Previously, Italy announced that Americans were eligible to enter on COVID-tested flights for business or health reasons. As of 16 May, Italy is also allowing Americans to enter for tourism reasons on a COVID-tested flight.

Notably, while Italy is reopening to travellers coming from the U.K., the British government still categorises Italy as an amber destination in its traffic light system. In other words, the government still recommends against travel to amber countries, and when you return to the U.K., you’ll need to quarantine for 10 days and pre-book a COVID-19 testing package to take a test on day two and day eight of your quarantine.

Travellers entering from amber countries can shorten their 10-day quarantine using England’s Test to Release scheme, which would require the purchase of an additional PCR test. You can take the third test after five full days of quarantine and if it returns a negative result, you can forgo the remainder of your quarantine, though you’ll still need to take the day-eight test.

Related: What kind of COVID-19 test will I need to travel and how much will it cost?

Italy’s reopening is positive news for the prospect of holidaying in Europe this summer. Already, we’ve seen the likes of Portugal and Greece reopen their doors to British tourists carrying a negative COVID-19 test result — or, in the case of Greece, proof of full vaccination. Spain has even said that it will welcome tourists without any restrictions — no negative COVID-19 test needed.

Featured photo of Polignano A Mare, Puglia by Sky_Blue/Getty Images.

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