In an attempt to keep a second wave of Covid-19 at bay, Italy has ordered that coronavirus tests be conducted on travelers coming from Greece, Malta, Spain and Croatia.
Incoming visitors or Italian nationals returning from these countries will be required – according to Italian media reports – to undergo an antigen test on arrival (at airport, port, or train station), a swab test 48 hours after arrival, or to present a negative Covid-19 test result 72 hours prior to arrival in Italy.
Italy has also added Columbia to its list of countries not allowed entry, including transit passengers, the Italian news agency ANSA reports.
The decision was announced after an emergency ministers and regional governors meeting on Wednesday called to address a surge in positive Covid-19 cases in travelers returning from the announced countries.
Authorities have already tightened measures for fear of a second wave of the deadly virus, and are even more concerned about returning nationals who were on holiday in high risk countries.
“I signed a decree providing for a DNA test or antigen swab test on those returning from Croatia, Greece, Malta, and Spain,” Italy’s Health Minister Roberto Speranza said on his twitter account.
Ho firmato una nuova ordinanza che prevede test molecolare o antigenico, da effettuarsi con tampone, per chi arriva da Croazia, Grecia, Malta e Spagna.
Dobbiamo continuare sulla linea della prudenza per difendere i risultati raggiunti negli ultimi mesi con il sacrifico di tutti.
— Roberto Speranza (@robersperanza) August 12, 2020
However, it is still unclear what measures specific Italian regions will be implementing.
Earlier on Wednesday, Italian media reported that quarantine measures would apply to incoming travelers from Greece, Spain, and Malta for the regions of Puglia and Campania. On its part Sicily said it wanted quick tests on returning holidaymakers, but would opt for a two-week-long quarantine and swab tests as of August 14.
“While the figures tell us that we are much better (than before) I don’t think the battle has been won. We cannot consider ourselves safe and we must keep our guard up,” said Speranza in parliament on Thursday, after announcing extended Covid-19 health measures until at least September 7.
“We must continue on a path of caution to defend the results we have obtained over the past months through sacrifices by everyone,” he added via twitter account.
Italy was among the hardest hit countries when the coronavirus pandemic broke out.
On Wednesday, Italy’s health authorities confirmed 481 new coronavirus cases over the previous 24 hours, up from 412 the day before.