Italy extends Covid-19 travel ban to Bangladesh and Sri Lanka as well as India

Italy has banned travel from Bangladesh and Sri Lanka amid the coronavirus emergency in neighbouring India, as well as tightening quarantine rules for residents who have recently returned from one of those countries.

Italy extends Covid-19 travel ban to Bangladesh and Sri Lanka as well as India
Malpensa airport in Milan. Photo: Piero Cruciatti / AFP

In a new ordinance issued on April 29th, Health Minister Roberto Speranza extended Italy’s ban on arrivals from India to Bangladesh and Sri Lanka, in response to surging infections and a rapidly spreading new variant.

Under the new rules, only Italian citizens who live permanently in Italy are allowed to enter from any of the three countries. Previously foreign nationals resident in Italy had also been allowed to return.

READ ALSO: Italy bans arrivals from virus-hit India

The ordinance also tightens the quarantine rules for anyone returning from India, Bangladesh or Sri Lanka, who must now spend ten days in a “Covid hotel” where they can be monitored by local health authorities. 

Anyone travelling from one of the three countries must also test negative for coronavirus no more than 48 hours before departure, get another test on arrival, and finally take a third test after ten days in isolation.

People who arrived in Italy from one of these countries, or transited through them, in the 14 days before the latest ordinance – so since April 15th – should also contact the local health authorities to get tested and self-isolate at home for ten days, followed by another test.

A medical worker waits to test arriving passengers at Malpensa Airport in Milan. Photo: Piero Cruciatti / AFP

The travel restrictions apply until at least May 15th.

The move comes amid record case numbers in India, which reported more than 3,000 deaths on Wednesday alone. The variant linked to hundreds of thousands of new cases per day is already confirmed to have reached Italy, with reports of cases in Tuscany and Veneto.

READ ALSO: Indian coronavirus variant detected in northern Italy

Twenty-three people tested positive for coronavirus on a flight from New Delhi that landed in Rome on Wednesday night, local authorities said, out of 223 aboard.

All passengers were taken into supervised quarantine at specially converted hotels or military facilities near the capital, Rai reported, including those who tested negative.

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LISTED: The new direct flights to and from Italy in 2024

Several airlines have announced new routes in and out of Italy in 2024, with the political and economic capitals of Rome and Milan among the cities seeing the biggest increases.

LISTED: The new direct flights to and from Italy in 2024

The EU is promoting train travel as a greener alternative to flying – but this hasn’t stopped several carriers deciding to add new routes to and from Italy. 

Budget airlines including Wizz Air and Jet 2 have added routes from Rome and Milan to European destinations including Germany, Denmark, Scotland, France and Spain.

Meanwhile Italy’s ITA Airways is introducing intercontinental flights to Africa and the Middle East, as well as adding two routes to the US and Canada.

Here’s a look at the new routes, plus one important EU-wide travel change you should know about, coming in 2024.

Rome Fiumicino-Chicago, Toronto, Accra, Dakar, Riyadh, Kuwait City, Jeddah

Italian flag carrier ITA, the successor to Alitalia, is adding seven new global destinations for 2024: two in North America, two in West Africa, and three in the Middle East.

READ ALSO: Where Italy’s new ‘tourist trains’ can take you in 2024

The Chicago and Toronto flights are scheduled to start in April and May respectively, and will both have six weekly rotations.

Flights to Riyadh will start in May; to Accra and Kuwait City, in June; to Dakar, in July; and to Jeddah in October.

Rome Fiumicino-Berlin, Hamburg, Alicante and Copenhagen

Budget airline Wizz Air is also increasing its offering of routes to and from the Italian capital.

Flights to Berlin and Hamberg will start in March, to Alicante in April, and to Copenhagen in July. 

Milan Malpensa-Paris Beauvais and Tenerife

Wizz Air is also introducing new routes from the northern city of Milan in 2024, adding daily fights to Paris Beauvais from March and a Tenerife route from July.

READ ALSO: MAP: Where can high-speed rail take you in Italy?

Milan Bergamo-Copenhagen, Helsinki and Stavanger

Norwegian Air is also set to trial three new destinations from Milan: the Danish and Finnish capitals as well as Stavanger in Norway.

Bari-Oslo, Copenhagen, Stockholm

At the other end of the country, Norwegian is also adding weekly flights from the southern city of Bari to Stockholm, and bi-weekly flights to Copenhagen and Oslo.


American Airlines has said it will add a daily route from Naples to Philadelphia starting in June, as well as bringing back its non-stop flights from Philadelphia and Chicago to Venice.


Finally, low-cost airline Jet 2 is adding a bi-weekly service from Rome to Edinburgh from March.

Other changes: new passport controls

In addition to being aware of these new routes, it’s also important to know that the EU’s new Entry & Exit System (EES) is scheduled to come into effect in the autumn of 2024, after several delays.

This will involve biometric data and fingerprint scanning for people entering Italy from outside the EU – full details here