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HEALTH

Covid-19: Naples orders tests on arrivals from abroad amid fears of local lockdown

After the southern Italian region of Campania became the first region to enforce mask-wearing at all times in public, it is now also requiring all international arrivals to undergo mandatory Covid-19 testing.

Covid-19: Naples orders tests on arrivals from abroad amid fears of local lockdown
People walk past an imagine of local hero Diego Maradona in central Naples. Photo: AFP

Under a new ordinance issued by the regional government on Monday, the tests will be a requirement for all passengers arriving on international flights into Naples' Capodichino airport.

Officials stated that all passengers must undergo molecular or antigen tests, saying the order was issued as “in recent days, very few passengers coming from abroad landing in Capodichino (in particular from Paris, Lyon, Barcelona, ​​Frankfurt), have undergone the voluntary swab test.”

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“It is necessary to activate very strict controls for those returning from abroad, and in particular from countries where a significant increase in positive cases is being recorded,” stated regional governor Vincenzo De Luca.

“What happened in the last week must not be repeated,” he said, apparently referring to the sharp rise in cases seen locally.
 

The new rule, in place until at least October 4th, comes as the rising numbers of new cases in Campania fuels concerns about a potential localised lockdown.

“If we want to avoid wider closures we need the utmost rigour,” De Luca said.

Campania's new requirement is in addition to national rules which make testing mandatory for all arrivals to Italy from Spain, Greece, Croatia, Malta and parts of France.

Campania's health authority recorded 295 new infections in 24 hours on Monday, more than any other region in Italy.

More worryingly the number of hospitalised patients is also increasing, with 412 people now in hospital in the region, and a further 30 in intensive care.

The new testing requirement was announced shortly after the region ordered masks must be worn at all times in public.

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The region now requires masks regardless of whether you're socially distanced from others, including outside and throughout the day, though there are exceptions for children under 6, people who can't wear a mask for health reasons, and people exercising on their own.

During Italy's lockdown from March to May, Campania introduced a raft of additional local measures making it one of the strictest regions in the country.

Other cities including Genoa have also isued ordinances requiring masks to be worn in public at all times.

In the rest of Italy, face masks are compulsory indoors during the day and outdoors between 6pm to 6am if you're in a busy area.

Italian police enforce the rules strictly and there are fines of up to €400 for non-compliance.

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TRAVEL NEWS

Covid face mask rule on flights in Europe set to be eased

The mandatory EU-wide mask requirement for air travel is set to be dropped from Monday, May 16th, but airlines may still require passengers to wear masks on some or all flights

Covid face mask rule on flights in Europe set to be eased

Europe-wide facemask rules on flights are set to be ditched as early as next week in light of new recommendations from health and air safety experts.

The European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA) and European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) dropped recommendations for mandatory mask-wearing in airports and during flights in updated Covid-19 safety measures for travel issued on Wednesday, May 11th.

The new rules are expected to be rolled out from Monday, May 16th, but airlines may still continue to require the wearing of masks on some or all of flights. And the updated health safety measures still say that wearing a face mask remains one of the best ways to protect against the transmission of the virus.

The joint EASA/ECDC statement reminded travellers that masks may still be required on flights to destinations in certain countries that still require the wearing of masks on public transport and in transport hubs.

It also recommends that vulnerable passengers should continue to wear a face mask regardless of the rules, ideally an FFP2/N95/KN95 type mask which offers a higher level of protection than a standard surgical mask.

“From next week, face masks will no longer need to be mandatory in air travel in all cases, broadly aligning with the changing requirements of national authorities across Europe for public transport,” EASA executive director Patrick Ky said in the statement. 

“For passengers and air crews, this is a big step forward in the normalisation of air travel. Passengers should however behave responsibly and respect the choices of others around them. And a passenger who is coughing and sneezing should strongly consider wearing a face mask, for the reassurance of those seated nearby.”  

ECDC director Andrea Ammon added: “The development and continuous updates to the Aviation Health Safety Protocol in light of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic have given travellers and aviation personnel better knowledge of the risks of transmission of SARS-CoV-2 and its variants. 

“While risks do remain, we have seen that non-pharmaceutical interventions and vaccines have allowed our lives to begin to return to normal. 

“While mandatory mask-wearing in all situations is no longer recommended, it is important to be mindful that together with physical distancing and good hand hygiene it is one of the best methods of reducing transmission. 

“The rules and requirements of departure and destination states should be respected and applied consistently, and travel operators should take care to inform passengers of any required measures in a timely manner.”

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