Italy to lift quarantine for British travellers from mid-May
8th May 2021

Italy reveals plans to lift quarantine restrictions for travellers arriving from Britain as early as mid-May – though holidaymakers will still have to isolate when they return to the UK

  • Travellers from the UK, Israel and Europe will not have to quarantine in Italy
  • Regulations may also be scrapped from people arriving from US by June
  • But Britons will have to self-isolate for ten days and take two tests on their return

Britons could head to Italy without having to quarantine on arrival as soon as mid-May – but will still be forced to self-isolate for 10 days on their return.

Foreign minister Luigi Di Maio said he is planning on lifting quarantine restrictions for travellers from Britain, Israel and European countries in a bid to revive its flagging tourism industry.

Quarantine requirement may be scrapped for those arriving from the United States from June, Di Maio said.

Britons could head to Italy without having to quarantine on arrival as soon as mid-May – but will still be forced to self-isolate for 10 days on their return

Foreign minister Luigi Di Maio said he is planning on lifting quarantine restrictions for travellers from Britain, Israel and European countries

He met with Health Minister Roberto Speranza to discuss the easing of restrictions for countries where vaccination levels are high.

‘We are working to lift the ‘mini-quarantine’ for people coming from European countries, the UK and Israel, if they have a negative swab, proof of vaccination or have recovered from COVID within the last 6 months. Same thing for the U.S.’, he wrote in a post on Facebook.

People entering Italy from other European countries and Israel currently face five days of quarantine and mandatory testing both before arrival and at the end of their isolation period. 

The current rules on EU arrivals expire on May 15. 

For travellers arriving from the United States the required quarantine period is 10 days.

However, for UK holidaymakers, Italy remains on the ‘amber’ list of countries meaning people are being advised not to travel there.

Travellers who go against the guidance and head to an amber destination must self-isolate at home for 10 days and take two post-arrival tests. 

Other popular holiday destinations are on the amber list including France, Greece and Spain, whereas Portugal, Israel and Gibraltar are on the green list.

Di Maio said Italy would also be working to increase the number of ‘Covid-free’ flights to and from the United States, and to end the quarantine requirement from June.

For UK holidaymakers, Italy remains on the ‘amber’ list of countries meaning people are being advised not to travel there

Italy began a cautious reopening on April 26 after months of coronavirus restrictions, with bars and restaurants permitted to serve customers outdoors.

The country is desperate for the return of tourists as it seeks to recover from a major recession sparked by the pandemic, but health experts still urge caution.

Italy recorded another 10,000 new cases of Covid-19 on Saturday and 224 deaths, taking the total to more than 122,000 – the highest rate in the EU, while around 27 per cent of the population have received their first vaccination dose.

‘I, like I think most Italians, want to reopen, I want people to go back out to work, to have fun, to be together,’ Prime Minister Mario Draghi told reporters Saturday after an EU summit in Portugal.

‘But… we have to do it safely, that is, calculating the risk that we run.’

He highlighted the importance of getting the EU’s mooted ‘Green Pass’ up and running, which would allow travel within the bloc to those with immunity, vaccinations or a negative coronavirus testItaly had been the world’s fifth-most visited destination, but visitor numbers collapsed by more than 60 percent from 2019 to 2020.

Google searches for ‘holidays to Portugal’ soared more than 3,000 per cent in the hour after the Government named it as one of the countries that will be on its ‘green’ safe travel list from May 17.  

The countries on the ‘green list’ from May 17 are: Portugal including the Azores and Madeira; Australia; New Zealand; Singapore; Brunei; Iceland; the Faroe Islands; Gibraltar; the Falkland Islands; and Israel

On Friday, the Department for Transport revealed at a Downing Street briefing that travellers will be able to visit 12 destinations – including Portugal – from May 17 without having to self-isolate on return to England.

Speaking soon after the briefing, the boss of a travel firm analysing Google data said that searches for ‘holidays to Portugal’ had ‘skyrocketed’ by 3,233 per cent compared to ten minutes before Transport Secretary Grant Shapps’ announcement. 

Searches for Israel and Gibraltar – which are also on the green list – were up by 1,329 per cent and 488 per cent, the Sun reported.   

However, travel bosses demanded that more countries be put on the quarantine-free list as they criticised the ‘overly cautious’ ministers for only approving 12 destinations so far.     

Of the nations and territories on the list, only the above three, as well as Iceland, are allowing Britons in without the need to quarantine.    

People returning to England from a green destination from May 17 will not be required to self-isolate and are only required to take one post-arrival coronavirus test.

Portugal, Gibraltar and Israel are among the small group of countries which will be on the green list from May 17 – with some countries on the list still not accepting holidaymakers. Pictured: Tourists sunbathing in Praia do Camilo, Lagos, Faro district, Algarve, Portugal

The green list also features several remote British Overseas Territories and destinations where visits are heavily restricted, such as Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Brunei and the Faroe Islands. 

Google searches for ‘holidays to Portugal’ soared more than 3,000 per cent in the hour after the Government named it as one of the countries that will be on its ‘green’ safe travel list from May 17.  

On Friday, the Department for Transport revealed at a Downing Street briefing that travellers will be able to visit 12 destinations – including Portugal – from May 17 without having to self-isolate on return to England.

Speaking soon after the briefing, the boss of a travel firm analysing Google data said that searches for ‘holidays to Portugal’ had ‘skyrocketed’ by 3,233 per cent compared to ten minutes before Transport Secretary Grant Shapps’ announcement. 

Searches for Israel and Gibraltar – which are also on the green list – were up by 1,329 per cent and 488 per cent, the Sun reported.   

However, travel bosses demanded that more countries be put on the quarantine-free list as they criticised the ‘overly cautious’ ministers for only approving 12 destinations so far.     

Of the nations and territories on the list, only the above three, as well as Iceland, are allowing Britons in without the need to quarantine.    

People returning to England from a green destination from May 17 will not be required to self-isolate and are only required to take one post-arrival coronavirus test.

The green list also features several remote British Overseas Territories and destinations where visits are heavily restricted, such as Australia, New Zealand, Singapore, Brunei and the Faroe Islands.

Prepare for TAKE OFF! Finally, the Government has told us where we can go after May 17. Here’s everything you  need to know…

Yesterday’s announcement by the UK Government of the countries on its long-awaited ‘green list’ has finally made a quarantine-free summer holiday possible.

From Israel to Iceland, Portugal to Gibraltar — the holiday ‘traffic lights’ have turned green, opening up a host of tantalising destinations that seemed out of the question during the depths of the winter lockdown. Under UK Government rules, holidaymakers to these ‘green list’ countries will still have to arrange pre-departure lateral test and on their return Covid PCR tests.

Crucially, however, no quarantine will be required on your return to the UK as the Government is satisfied that Covid infection rates are so low in these nations that there is no increased risk of spreading the disease when you come back. Here is our guide to each country’s rules and how, at last, to plan an overseas trip that will actually happen (fingers crossed).

PORTUGAL POSITIVE

Go, go, go! Wizz Air has bargain flights from Luton to Madeira, pictured, from £81 return later this month

GET SET FOR TESTING TIMES 

Foreign countries may want proof of negative PCR Covid tests on arrival, but how do you arrange one and how much do they cost?

Then there is the British rule — part of the ‘green list’ arrangements — to be tested (with a ‘lateral’ or ‘antigen’ test) before departing home, plus a separate PCR test before day two on your return.

It’s confusing, but how does testing work in practice?

  • Most countries will want proof, on arrival, of a negative PCR test taken 72 hours before departure — even if you have proof of being fully vaccinated. Check entry requirements at gov.uk.
  • The cost of a PCR test is about £100. At some private clinics it’s nearer £200.
  • Find government-accredited testing firms on the ‘List of providers: general testing’ page of gov.uk.
  • Boots (£99, boots.com) and Superdrug (£119, superdrug.com) can arrange such tests by appointment.
  • Tui this week launched holiday packages with all ‘green list’ tests from £60 pp. For countries that no longer need a negative PCR test before you go, it’s from £20 pp (tui.co.uk).
  • The Government is considering providing free lateral flow tests for departure abroad and prior to arrival home. Look out for details.
  • It is hoped an internationally-accepted ‘digital health passport’ will be created so fully vaccinated travellers will need no tests at all.
  • See the official ‘traffic light’ rules on ‘Global Travel Taskforce sets out framework to safely reopen international travel’ page at gov.uk.
  • Visit ‘Traffic light system: red, amber and green list countries’ at which.co.uk. 

WHEN CAN WE GO? Currently, you can only visit for ‘essential purposes’ or if you are a citizen. However, Rita Marques, Portugal’s tourism minister, said this week that it is ‘pushing hard to open up to third countries like the UK. The British market is really important. We are ready to welcome you when you are ready to come.’ So tourism should, subject to a new government decree, be possible from May 17.

ENTRY REQUIREMENTS: Tourists will probably need to prove they have had both jabs or are immunised from having previously had the virus. Alternatively, a negative PCR test taken within 72 hours of departure is likely to be accepted. These details, including the documentation required, are still being fine-tuned.

WHAT TO EXPECT: Last weekend, Portugal opened restaurants, cafes and pastry shops to groups of six inside and ten on terraces until 10.30pm as part of ‘phase four’ of its lifting of lockdown restrictions. Museums, attractions, swimming pools and concert halls have already reopened. On May 16, the country’s official ‘Situation of Calamity’ (full lockdown) is due to end with further easings of movement.

The Portuguese North Atlantic islands of Madeira and the Azores are also on the ‘green list’.

On Madeira there is currently a curfew between 11pm and 5am, while restaurants and bars must close at 10pm and are limited to 50 per cent capacity. It is against rules to have a drink at the counter of a bar or while standing, and groups are limited to five people. Face masks must be worn in public, with an exception for beaches (see Madeira Safe To Discover at visitmadeira.pt).

In the Azores, masks must be worn in public. Restaurants, cafes and bars are open until midnight, with a limit of ten people per table. However, ‘establishments with dance spaces’ are closed (see visitazores.com).

GETTING THERE: LUXURY: A week from £775 pp based on four sharing at Villa Esteval Dos Mouros in Alte, with East Midlands Airport flights (tui.co.uk).

BUDGET: Seven nights from £392pp at Vilamoura Golf Apartments in the Algarve, with flights from (jet2holidays.com).

CHEAPEST FLIGHTS: Luton to Madeira from £81 return later this month (wizzair.com).

FURTHER INFORMATION: visitportugal.com

ISRAEL SAYS ‘WELCOME’

WHEN CAN WE GO? Israel says it will permit vaccinated or ‘Covid-recovered’ tourists from 14 countries, including the UK, from May 23. To start with, only tourist groups booked with vaccinated guides/drivers will be allowed, but from July this should be extended to individuals. Tourism minister Orit Farkash-Hacohen says Israel wants to boost tourism by ‘taking advantage of the fact that Israel is a safe country’.

ENTRY REQUIREMENTS: On top of proof of being fully vaccinated (both jabs) or being ‘Covid-recovered’ (electronic or paper proof such as a Covid infection certificate showing that you have got over it or your paper vaccine card possibly accepted, although this has not been finalised), all visitors must have proof of a negative PCR test 72 hours before boarding their plane. On arrival, they must take another PCR test, as well as a serological test, which proves existence of antibodies — both, it is understood, arranged by airport authorities.

WHAT TO EXPECT: Restaurants, shopping malls and museums are open with social distancing, with one person allowed every seven square metres. Face masks are required in indoor public places.

Israel says it will permit vaccinated or ‘Covid-recovered’ tourists from 14 countries, including the UK, from May 23

GETTING THERE: LUXURY: Eight-night guided tours in July from £4,999 pp with flights (abercrombiekent.co.uk).

BUDGET: 14 nights at Crowne Plaza Tel Aviv from £2,005 pp, with flights from Luton in August (easyjet.com).

CHEAPEST FLIGHTS: Luton to Tel Aviv from £111 return in July (wizzair.com).

FURTHER INFORMATION: info.goisrael.com

ICELAND ALL OK 

We should be able to travel to Iceland from May 17. Currently, face masks must be worn in public places where it is not possible to maintain a two-metre gap 

The green list is based on factors that include a country’s vaccination programme

WHEN CAN WE GO? The Icelandic government wants tourism back up and running as soon as possible, so we should be able to go from May 17.

ENTRY REQUIREMENTS: Those who have been fully vaccinated or have had a prior Covid infection will be able to visit without requiring a negative PCR before travel. The paper vaccine card or a Covid infection certificate may well be accepted as proof. However, this is not clear yet.

Even if you have been vaccinated, you will be tested on arrival with a result coming in about six hours while you wait in your first accommodation.

From June 1, it is possible that Britain will be put on Iceland’s ‘blue list’ of countries with no border restrictions at all (Iceland has four colours on its unique Covid traffic light system).

WHAT TO EXPECT: Currently, face masks must be worn in public places where it is not possible to maintain a two-metre gap. Bars and restaurants are open until 9pm with a maximum of 30 people.

GETTING THERE: LUXURY: A Highlands And Lowlands 14-night fly-drive from £2,632, with flights from about £100 return extra (discover-the-world.com).

BUDGET: Seven nights at Room With A View hotel, Reykjavik, from £1,212pp with flights from Stansted (easyjet.com).

CHEAPEST FLIGHTS: Luton to Reykjavik from £53 return in July (easyjet.com).

FURTHER INFORMATION: visiticeland.com

GEAR UP FOR GIBRALTAR

WHEN CAN WE GO? Chief minister Fabian Picardo wants British tourists back immediately and is thankful that Gibraltar has received vaccine shipments from Britain: ‘It’s thanks to the [UK] Government that Gibraltar can proudly say all of our adult population is now vaccinated.’ Officials announced that there were ‘no Covid cases’ at all on the tiny British Overseas Territory earlier this week.

ENTRY REQUIREMENTS: There will be no requirement to take a PCR test before travel. Mr Picardo said: ‘When you’re coming to Gibraltar you’re coming to a part of Britain, and therefore you’re going to be very welcome here without the need for a PCR test.’

WHAT TO EXPECT: Masks must be worn in enclosed spaces including public transport and shops, where numbers are being limited. The Upper Rock is partially open to traffic and ramblers. All businesses including restaurants reopened last month.

 Officials announced that there were ‘no Covid cases’ at all on the tiny British Overseas Territory earlier this week. Pictured is the Rock of Gibraltar 

GETTING THERE: LUXURY: Ten nights at the Eliott Hotel from £949 pp B&B in July, with Heathrow flights; book by May 12 (ba.com/Gibraltar).

BUDGET: Seven nights at the Holiday Inn Express from £551 pp B&B from Gatwick (thomascook.com).

CHEAPEST FLIGHTS: Luton to Gibraltar from £61 return in July (wizzair.com).

FURTHER INFORMATION: visitgibraltar.gi

Escape Q&A: The new lowdown on summer travel

The world of summer travel has finally opened. Sort of.

Here the Daily Mail’s travel team answers readers’ questions about Covid testing for green-list countries, when travel will open up to France and Italy, and more.  

Q. I’m hoping to book a holiday to a green-list country. What tests will I need?

Holidaymakers to ‘green list’ countries will still have to arrange pre-departure lateral test and on their return Covid PCR tests

A. You will be required to take a lateral flow test within 72 hours of your return flight to England, followed by a PCR test on or before the second day of your return. You will not be required to self-isolate during this time.

The UK Government has said that it is considering providing free lateral flow testing kits for holidaymakers to take abroad. You are also likely to need proof of a negative PCR taken within 72 hours of your outbound flight, depending on the destination’s requirements. See gov.uk.

Q. Can I holiday in a country on the amber list?

A. Technically, yes, but it could be tricky. Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said yesterday that Britons should not be travelling to amber countries. You will be required either to quarantine at home for ten days on your return and take a PCR test on days two and eight (as well as a lateral flow test before the return flight).

Or you can pay for an additional ‘Test to Release’ on day five to end self-isolation early. You could be in an amber country that turns red, meaning you would need to quarantine at a government-approved hotel on your return at a cost of £1,750.

Q. Can I travel to all the countries mentioned on the green list?

A. No, borders in many green-list countries remain closed, including Australia, New Zealand and Singapore.

Q. How often will the green list be reviewed?

A. Every three weeks, with the prospect of more ‘greens’ being added after the first review on June 7. Mr Shapps hopes ‘the more traditional tourist destinations will be unlocked’ over the summer.

Australia and New Zealand have been added to the Government’s green list despite their borders being closed

Q. How will the Government decide whether a country should turn green?

A. The list is based on factors including a country’s vaccination programme, rates of infection, emerging new variants and access to reliable scientific data.

Q. Could a country suddenly be removed from the green list?

A. The Government is introducing a ‘green watchlist’, which will help identify the countries at risk of moving from green to amber. If a country reports a surge in ‘variants of concern’, it could be removed from the green list with little warning. To avoid losing your money, book with a reputable package holiday provider.

Q. When can we expect Spain and Greece to be added to the green list?

A. Spain, our favourite holiday destination, has vaccinated almost 30 per cent of its population with the first dose, making it a strong contender to be added on June 7. Greece is slightly further behind, having vaccinated 22 per cent.

Q. And what about France and Italy?

A. France, Western Europe’s most vaccine-hesitant country, has inoculated just 25 per cent of its population with a first dose. Italy is slightly ahead at 26 per cent. Both are likely to hit 40 per cent by early June, meaning they could be added to the green list.

Q. There are rumours of a UK-U.S. travel corridor. Is that likely to happen?

A. The U.S. government upgraded its warning against UK travel last month, increasing the risk to ‘Level 4: Do Not Travel’ — its highest. This was a blow to airlines. President Biden is planning to reopen its borders to some countries in time for Independence Day on July 4, when a UK-U.S. travel corridor could be introduced.

Q. What are the rules around children needing Covid tests?

A. The UK’s ‘green list’ testing requirements only apply to those aged over 11. However, each country has different rules for testing children on arrival. These can be checked either on gov.uk.

Summer holiday hotspots like Spain, France and Italy could be added to the Government’s green list in the coming months

Q. Where can I find the cheapest tests?

A. The Government has been working to reduce the price of testing, with PCR tests previously costing around £120-160. Prices have been slashed significantly in recent weeks, with one government-approved provider, Eurofins, now charging £45. TUI, meanwhile, has said it will subsidise the cost of Covid testing for its customers, offering packages for between £20 and £90.

Q. I’ve booked a holiday to Turkey in July. Will I be able to go?

A. Unlikely. The country went into an 18-day lockdown last week following a record surge in cases and was added to the UK’s red list last night.

Q. What about the Greek and Spanish islands?

A. Islands are being assessed as part of the mainland but this is likely to change at the next review on June 7, when the Canaries, Balearics and Greek islands could go green, even if the mainlands remain amber.

Q. How do I show proof that I have had both jabs?

A. Mr Shapps said the NHS app would be ready for travellers to show vaccination status in time for May 17. Travellers who do not own a smartphone can request a letter to verify vaccination status.

Meanwhile, the EU is separately creating a ‘Digital Green Certificate’ as a form of vaccine passport for members of the EU, aiming to have it ready for mid-June. The hope is that the two will be widely accepted and compatible.

Q. I live in Wales. Does the green list apply to me?

A. No. The devolved nations (Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland) have not set dates for the restart of foreign holidays.

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