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Italy has extended at the last opportunity its requirement for Britons to self-isolate for five days on arrival in the country.
The rule, introduced in June, was due to expire on July 30, but will now be kept in place until August 30, the health minister Roberto Speranza said late on Thursday.
This means the plans of thousands of British holidaymakers are likely to be thrown into disarray, with Italian authorities issuing fines to anyone who breaks quarantine.
In 2019, before the Covid-19 pandemic triggered worldwide lockdowns and travel restrictions, nearly 14 million Britons visited Italy – about 6 per cent of the total arrivals from abroad.
What is the Italian ruling?
All Britons must complete a mandatory five-day quarantine upon arrival (until at least August 30). Visitors will also have to get a test before they fly to Italy and after the five-day quarantine period.
The Italian embassy in London states: “If entering Italy having been in the UK in the preceding 14 days, quarantine for five days at their home or the place where they are staying, and notify the local health centre of their arrival in Italy.
“[You must] take another molecular or antigen test at the end of the five days of quarantine.”
Is Italy on the green list?
No, it is amber, which means that any Britons who are not fully vaccinated must then self-isolate for up to 10 days once back in the UK. If you are fully vaccinated you do not need to self-isolate on return (including pre-departure and day two tests).
The next green list review is August 5, but Italy is not expected to be added.
Can I still visit?
Yes, but you must be prepared to self-isolate in your accommodation for five days. Once you test negative after the five days you are free to enjoy your holiday.
From August 6, entry into bars, restaurants and museums, among other venues, will be dependent on proof of vaccination.
Tour operator Oliver’s Travels has confirmed it has guests still planning to go. Founder Ravi Sabharwal said: “We have 139 passengers due to travel this weekend. However, due to the nature of our villas with private pools and large grounds we expect many will still travel, [especially] with extra services such as fridge-stocking, meal delivery services able to be arranged through our concierge service and on the ground villa managers. We have already had clients contacting us this morning to arrange this.”
Can I cancel my holiday?
It depends on your booking. Generally, disinclination to travel is not a good enough excuse and seeing as Italy is allowing entry to Britons, trips may not be cancelled.
However, most airlines and tour operators are generous with their flexibility options at the moment, meaning you will most likely have the chance to rebook, at least.
Tui’s website suggests it is still running trips to Italy for August but its quarantine promise means it will not run trips to anywhere that requires arrivals to self-isolate. It is likely to offer a refund or chance to rebook.
Contact your airline, tour operator and insurer to see what your options are.
Are flights still running?
Yes, flights are still operating between the UK and Italy but at reduced levels thanks to a fall in demand. Check with your airline before travelling to ensure your service is still going ahead as planned.