Pre-departure COVID-19 testing for all EU visitors and quarantine for the unvaccinated are the new entry rules the Italian Council of Ministers agreed upon on Tuesday.
The measures, that will take place from Dec. 16 to Jan. 31, allow authorities to request unvaccinated visitors to serve a 5-day quarantine upon entering the country.
Travelers coming from the EU, as well as those visiting from third-party nations, will have to present a negative COVID-19 test prior to departure to be permitted boarding.
“For those who also come from EU countries but are not vaccinated, it will not be enough to show the negative swab to circulate in Italy, but they will incur the obligation of quarantine,” announced the Ministers.
The decision has not been welcomed by the European Commission, which has pushed to maintain equal rules to travel across the EU.
“These individual decisions of the member states will damage … the trust of people that there are equal conditions everywhere in Europe,” said Commission vice president Vera Jourova in Brussels.
Tour operators in Italy have also expressed their discontent. According to several organizations, the new restrictions constitute “a fresh blow” to its already damaged sector, thus they have urged the government to provide “immediate and adequate compensation”.
The State of Emergency was also extended until March 31, 2022.
Along with it, the government also approved the obligation to continue using the “super Green pass” to attend indoor restaurants, cinemas, stadiums and other venues in white zones at least until March 31.
Regardless of the criticism, Italy’s decisions are supported by solid epidemiological data.
Last Monday, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention added Italy to its highest-risk category for travel, along with Greenland and Mauritius in Africa.
According to the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), the country has registered 27 Omicron cases thus far.
Since February 2020, Italy has reported 5,258,886 cases and 135,049 deaths.