Italy makes coronavirus tests mandatory for travellers from the UK

Italy has added the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, the Czech Republic and Belgium to its list of high-risk countries from which travellers must get tested for coronavirus.

Italy makes coronavirus tests mandatory for travellers from the UK
Photo: AFP

The Italian and British governments have confirmed that testing is now a requirement for all travellers from the UK to Italy.

There was widespread confusion about the requirement after Italian government on Wednesday suggested it would make testing compulsory for people arriving in Italy from these countries under an upcoming emergency decree next week, and the rules were not expected to come into force until October 15th.

However, Italian health minister Roberto Speranza on Thursday October 8th signed an ordinance bringing the rules into effect immediately.

The Italian Health Ministry has added British, Dutch, Czech and Belgian arrivals to the list of travellers required to submit to a swab test upon entry to Italy.

The Italian government has subsequently updated its travel advice.

Photo: AFP

The British Foreign Office also issued the following advice on Thursday:

“A negative Covid-19 test result is required when you arrive in Italy from the UK.

“The test needs to have been carried out in the 72 hours prior to your travel and should be a molecular (PCR) or an antigenic test. You’ll be asked to show proof of your test date and result at the border.”
“You should not use the NHS testing service to get a test in order to facilitate your travel to another country. You should arrange to take a private test.”
“Alternatively, you can take a free Covid-19 test at the airport when you arrive in Italy. This usually takes 30 minutes to an hour. You won’t be allowed to leave the airport until you have your result.”
It is not clear how long these rules are expected to remain in place.

Previously only people arriving in Italy from Spain, Greece, Croatia, Malta or one of seven regions of France, including Paris, were obliged to get tested.

Greece, Croatia and Malta have now been removed from the “at risk” list by Thursday's ordinance.

The testing rule applies to everyone departing from one of these countries, regardless of nationality or where you're a resident.

Travellers can either get tested before they leave – both molecular (PCR) and rapid antigen tests are accepted, so long as they're carried out no more than 72 hours before your journey – or within 48 hours of arriving.

Most major airports in Italy now offer rapid testing as soon as you land, as do some international ports and train stations. These tests are free as it is classed as an emergency procedure.

Travellers are advised to contact their destinaton airport in Italy to confirm the availability of testing on arrival.

For more information about how to get a coronavirus test when travelling to Italy, see our guide here.

For more details travellers are advised to check the relevant country information on the ViaggiareSicuri website. You may also wish to check the Italian Foreign Ministry's website (in English) as well as the latest advice from the British government.

Please note: The Local is not able to advise on specific cases.

Member comments

  1. We travelled back from the UK today on an early morning flight and had to have rapid testing at Rome Fiumicino. British Airways staff were unaware of the change, as they didn’t mention it on the flight.

    It’s a quick process once you’ve completed the various forms, and you have to wait in the testing area for the result (which takes 30 minutes). Police were checking that you had your test result slip before they’d let you leave the area.

    Just for reference, it added at least an hour to our journey time, even though the testing area was almost empty when we were there. When it’s busy I should imagine it could get a little chaotic, as your completed forms have to be checked, then you see a doctor who prepares the test before you actually have the nasal swabs taken.

  2. Hi — I will be arriving in Italy by car from France, probably on 12 October. If anyone has done this recently and has any information to share (e.g., where to go for the mandatory test, how long it takes, and so on) I would be very grateful for any tips. Thanks!

  3. Hi all,
    We have just arrived at Catania, we normally fly to Palermo, and having had a pcr test in the UK. We were not asked for proof of a test or advised to take a test within 48 hours etc

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Covid-19 still causing 1,000 deaths a week in Europe, WHO warns

The World Health Organization's European office warned on Tuesday the risk of Covid-19 has not gone away, saying it was still responsible for nearly 1,000 deaths a week in the region. And the real figure may be much higher.

Covid-19 still causing 1,000 deaths a week in Europe, WHO warns

The global health body on May 5 announced that the Covid-19 pandemic was no longer deemed a “global health emergency.”

“Whilst it may not be a global public health emergency, however, Covid-19 has not gone away,” WHO Regional Director for Europe Hans Kluge told reporters.

The WHO’s European region comprises 53 countries, including several in central Asia.

“Close to 1,000 new Covid-19 deaths continue to occur across the region every week, and this is an underestimate due to a drop in countries regularly reporting Covid-19 deaths to WHO,” Kluge added, and urged authorities to ensure vaccination coverage of at least 70 percent for vulnerable groups.

Kluge also said estimates showed that one in 30, or some 36 million people, in the region had experienced so called “long Covid” in the last three years, which “remains a complex condition we still know very little about.”

“Unless we develop comprehensive diagnostics and treatment for long Covid, we will never truly recover from the pandemic,” Kluge said, encouraging more research in the area which he called an under-recognised condition.

Most countries in Europe have dropped all Covid safety restrictions but some face mask rules remain in place in certain countries in places like hospitals.

Although Spain announced this week that face masks will no longer be required in certain healthcare settings, including hospitals and pharmacies, with a couple of exceptions.

Sweden will from July 1st remove some of its remaining Covid recommendations for the public, including advice to stay home and avoid close contact with others if you’re ill or have Covid symptoms.

The health body also urged vigilance in the face of a resurgence of mpox, having recorded 22 new cases across the region in May, and the health impact of heat waves.