Italy Introduces New Covid-19 Restrictions for Unvaccinated

Italy decided to introduce some limitations for unvaccinated people due to the increasing number of COVID-19 cases and the emergence of the new coronavirus variant. The Italian government has also banned entry for travelers from 8 South African countries.

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The emergence of Omicron has stopped the revival of the tourism sector around the globe. Amid the increasing number of coronavirus cases and the detection of its new variant, Italy, following the decisions of many worldwide governments, has decided to tighten travel restrictions for unvaccinated citizens and foreign visitors. Unvaccinated travelers will face some limitations on access to certain services and places in Italy. The restrictions are going to remain in place until January 15th, 2022.

COVID-19 situation in Italy

The general situation within the country has improved as Italy faced the dropping hospitalization number and the increase in vaccination rate. Nevertheless, Italy is still emerging from the consequences of long-lasting lockdown and a third wave of the coronavirus. The emergency state had to be prolonged after the new coronavirus variant cases had been reported in Italy. 

Compared to other European countries, Italy has the highest vaccination rate. 80% of the Italian population have received either one or two COVID-19 shots, while another 15 % have been administered a booster shot

At the beginning of the pandemic, Italy was the first nation in Europe that was hardly hit by a coronavirus and also reported the highest number of coronavirus-caused deaths. In recent weeks, Italy has seen a significant increase in coronavirus infections with 15000 cases reported on Dec. 5th. 

New limitations for unvaccinated

According to the recently announced travel guidelines introduced in Italy, all unvaccinated persons will be banned from accessing indoor seating at restaurants or bars. Only fully vaccinated or recently recovered from coronavirus can enter these indoor areas, accessmuseums, clubs, or cinemas. 

Unvaccinated people will receive a basic green health pass upon getting a negative PCR test result. The test needs to be taken within the last 48 hours

The country has also enforced other protection measures, for example, traveling on public transportation  requires holding a health certificate. Those who travel without a valid one will be fined 400 Euro (USD 450). 

COVID-19 Green Pass

In June, Italy introduced COVID-19 Green Pass (cerrificazione verde), which functions as a digital or paper certification proving that its holder has received COVID-19 shot, was tested negatively or recovered from the coronavirus. The Green Pass applies to those who are 12 or older. 

Originally, the certificate was intended to be used for large events, e.g. weddings. Nevertheless, its scope has been expanded in the course of time. 
Travelers from European Union countries who are holders of the COVID-19 Green Pass and wish to enter Italy need to meet one of the following requirements:

  • to have received the complete COVID-19 vaccination
  • to have recovered from the coronavirus
  • to present a negative result of an antigen/molecular test

They also must remember about filling out the Passenger Locator Form

Countries banned from entry to Italy

Upon the Omicron variant detection, Italy immediately banned eight southern African countries from entry. These countries include:

  • Lesotho
  • Zimbabwe
  • South Africa
  • Malawi
  • Namibia
  • Mozambique
  • Botswana
  • Eswatini

Those travelers who have stayed or transited through one of the above-listed 8 countries within the last 2 weeks cannot enter Italy. The only group exempted from the entry ban are Italians. Nevertheless, they still need to fill out the Passenger Locator Form and submit a COVID-19 negative test result taken 72 hours of entry to Italy. Another test is required to be taken at the airport. Moreover, those passengers will also need to undergo a 10-day self-isolation that may be ended only upon receiving the negative result of the COVID-19 test. 

For the time being, these restrictions will be effective until Dec. 15th and are subject to further extension according to the progressing coronavirus situation worldwide. More information about the entry rules to Italy according to nationality can be found here.

Katarzyna Żyła

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