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Italy lifts Covid travel ban on arrivals from southern Africa

The Italian government on Friday removed the travel ban in place for eight southern African states, which was imposed in November in response to the spread of the Omicron variant.

Italy has lifted its travel ban on 8 South African countries.
Italy has relaxed its Covid restrictions for international travellers, opening up tourism. (Photo by Filippo MONTEFORTE / AFP)

Italy has removed travel restrictions for those who have visited South Africa, Lesotho, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Namibia and Swaziland.

The measure had been in place since November 26th and applied to all those who had been in any of these states within the previous fortnight.

The decision to scrap the ban was confirmed by Italy’s health minister Roberto Speranza, who signed an ordinance on Friday – when the change also came into force.

“Considering the evolution of the epidemiological situation at national and international level, it is necessary, after consulting the General Directorate for Health Prevention, to stop applying the measures provided for in the aforementioned Order of the Minister of Health of November 26th 2021,” the text reads.

Arrivals from the eight countries however remain subject to tight entry restrictions under Italy’s travel ‘list E‘ rules, the health ministry confirmed in a statement.

This means tourism is not allowed and people can only enter the country for the following specific reasons:

  • work
  • health reasons
  • study reasons
  • absolute urgency
  • return to one’s home or residence. 

Arrivals from List E countries are also required to take a PCR or antigen test before travel to Italy and undergo a ten-day isolation period and further testing once in Italy. See full details of the rules here.

 
See further information about travel to Italy from any country on the Italian government’s ‘Viaggiare Sicuri’ website.

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TRAVEL NEWS

What does Italy’s general strike on Friday mean for travel?

Italian trade unions have called a nationwide general strike for Friday, May 20th. Here's a look at how travel within the country will be affected.

What does Italy’s general strike on Friday mean for travel?

The strike has been organised by a range of national and regional trade unions representing various sectors in protest at the Italian government’s spending on the Ukraine war.

Union leaders say the funds should be targeted instead at increasing workers’ wages and, in turn, families’ purchasing power.

Walter Montagnoli, national secretary of the CUB union, told SkyTG24: “The conflict needs to be stopped. […] Draghi’s government is taking military expenses to 2 percent of our GDP: national defence expenses will go from 25 to 38 billion euros, thus reducing the budget for healthcare, education, public transport, the construction industry and, naturally, pensions and wages.”

Demonstrations are set to take place in cities across Italy, including in Milan, Rome, Messina, Palermo, Catania, Cagliari, Turin, Bologna, Venice, Florence, Pisa, Turin, Genoa, La Spezia, Reggio Emilia, Trieste, Bergamo and Taranto, according to media reports.

Strike action is otherwise expected to focus on the transport sector, meaning some disruption to travel plans is likely – depending on where you are in Italy and what time you’ll be travelling.

Here’s a look at what you should know before setting out on your journey on Friday. 

Train services 

Railroad services will be affected for a period of 24 hours, from 9pm on Thursday to 9pm on Friday.

However, Trenitalia has already communicated that Freccia and Intercity trains will run regularly and essential regional services will be guaranteed in the following time frames: 6am to 9am and 6pm to 9pm.

If you’re travelling with Italo, the company has published a list of its guaranteed services on its website

Local public transport 

Local public transport including buses, trams and metro trains in Italian towns and cities will also be affected by the strike action, but the magnitude of disruption to regular services will depend largely upon the area.

Rome and Milan will likely be the most affected cities.

In Milan, metro trains will run regularly until at least 6pm, whereas buses and tram services may be affected between 8.45am and 3pm and after 6pm.

In the capital, local transport providers ATAC and TPL said services will operate normally before 8.30am and from 5pm to 8pm.

If you’ll be commuting, you’re advised to consult the website of your local transport provider before setting off.

Flights

The ENAC (Italian Civil Aviation Authority) confirmed that all flights between 7am and 10am and between 6pm and 9pm will operate as normal.

However, they strongly suggest that travellers contact their airline to check the status of their flight before leaving for the airport.

See ENAC’s website for further information.

Travelling by car

Travelling by car might also be fairly problematic (or more problematic than it usually is) as motorway toll booth staff are set to strike from 10pm on Thursday to 10pm on Friday.

While the impact may differ from one part of the country to another, this is likely to mean a smaller number of toll booths are open and, as a result, lines at some motorway entrances will be longer than usual.

Drivers are advised to consult motorway operator Autostrade per l’Italia’s traffic map for real-time updates.

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