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Italy approves Covid-tested flights from US to Milan

Passengers can now fly from the United States to northern Italy's biggest airport without quarantining if they book a special 'Covid-free' flight.

Italy approves Covid-tested flights from US to Milan
Passengers at Milan Malpensa airport. Photo: Miguel Medina/AFP

Covid-tested flights, which require all passengers to test negative for coronavirus in the 48 hours before boarding as well as taking another test on arrival, have already been operating between the US and Rome for just over two months.

Now the Italian Health Ministry has given permission for airlines to extend the service to Milan’s Malpensa airport, the second-biggest hub in Italy after Rome Fiumicino.

In a circular issued on March 10th, the ministry also extended the scheme until at least the end of June 2021, with the possibility of continuing it further.

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That means that until at least July, passengers will be able to fly from New York or Atlanta in the US to either Rome or Milan without having to quarantine for two weeks.

Italy’s international travel restrictions continue to apply, meaning that the only people eligible to fly from the US are those with an essential reason, such as returning to a permanent residence in Italy or to study or work.

Delta could start offering the service between Milan and New York as soon as this weekend, according to reports, while American Airlines is expected to follow next month.

The first Covid-tested flights proved so popular that the Italian government recently said it wanted to extend the scheme to other countries.

Italy’s last government had already signed off on Covid-tested flights between Italy and Germany, with Lufthansa originally slated to start running services from Frankfurt and Munich to Rome early this year, but those plans were put on hold when Germany went back into lockdown.

The scheme stands to make the biggest difference for travellers outside the European Union, who currently have to spend 14 days in quarantine if they come to Italy.

People arriving from other countries within the EU or Schengen zone – with the exception of Austria – can instead simply show a negative test result from the 48 hours before travel.

Italy has also begun experimenting with Covid-tested train travel, including introducing a high-speed connection between Rome and Milan next month that passengers will have to take a test to board. If successful, the scheme could also be extended to Florence, Venice and Naples. 

Member comments

  1. Anyone know if I, a U.S. citizen, can travel to Italy from the U.S. without my Italian wife. She resides in Italy. We were separated by covid.

    1. spouses of legal residents in italy can travel to italy. I’m an american living here and my american husband was able to visit me without any problems. you just need to show proof of the relationship and have her ID and residency documents. there are other articles on this website that explain it, and you can also look at the FB groups love is not tourism-italy

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POLITICS

Italian tourism minister charged with Covid-era fraud

Prosecutors on Friday charged Italy's tourism minister with fraud relating to government redundancy funds claimed by her publishing companies during the coronavirus pandemic.

Italian tourism minister charged with Covid-era fraud

Opposition lawmakers immediately requested the resignation of Daniela Santanche, a leading member of Prime Minister Giorgia Meloni’s far-right Brothers of Italy party.

Santanche, 63, has strongly rejected the allegations, including in a defiant appearance in parliament last year.

“The Milan prosecutor’s office today requested the indictment of the Minister Santanche and other persons as well as the companies Visibilia Editore and Visibilia Concessionaria,” the office said in a brief statement.

They were indicted “for alleged fraud of the INPS (National Institute for Social Security) in relation to alleged irregularities in the use of the Covid 19 redundancy fund, for a total of 13 employees”.

According to media reports, Visibilia is accused of obtaining state funds intended to help companies struggling with the pandemic to temporarily lay off staff — when in fact the 13 employees continued to work.

Santanche sold her stake in Visibilia when she joined the government of Meloni, who took office in October 2022.

The investigation has been going on for months, but with the decision by prosecutors to indict, opposition parties said Santanche should resign.

“We expect the prime minister to have a minimum of respect for the institutions and ask for Daniela Santanche’s resignation,” said Elly Schlein, leader of the centre-left Democratic Party.

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