Italy extends covid-19 restrictions until 31 July

Italy will "constantly update" coronavirus travel ban with high risk countries.

Italy has renewed its restrictions to counter the covid-19 crisis, including the obligation to wear masks in enclosed public spaces and the continued prohibition of public gatherings of people, until 31 July.

The measures, announced this evening by Italy's health minister Roberto Speranza, take effect from tomorrow, 15 July, reports Italian news agency ANSA.

"It is evident that we cannot lower our guard and we must not be divided about this," said Speranza, adding that there was no such thing as "zero risk without a vaccine."

Travel ban

In relation to the recent suspension of flights to and from 13 additional countries considered as posing an 'elevated risk' of covid-19 contagion, Speranza said that Italy would update this list "constantly," adding that the 14-day quarantine remains in place for all arrivals from extra-European countries.

The 13 countries barred on 9 July are: Armenia, Bahrein, Bangladesh, Brasil, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Chile, Kuwait, North Macedonia, Moldova, Oman, Panama, Peru, and the Dominican Republic.

Masks and social distancing

The obligation to wear protective masks in enclosed public spaces, including shops and public transport, as well as the observation of social distancing of one metre of interpersonal space, has been extended until 31 July.

Speranza described these individual measures as "minor sacrifices, but they are the most important."

State of emergency

Speranza said the government has yet to make a decision on extending Italy's coronavirus state of emergency, amid talk of it being extended until 31 October 2020, and not 31 December 2020 as suggested recently in the Italian media.

The state of emergency grants authorities special powers to tackle the fallout from the virus quickly, cutting through the usual bureaucratic procedures. An official announcement on this matter is expected in the coming days.

Overhead luggage ban on flights

Meanwhile the ban on cabin luggage in overhead lockers on aircrafts to and from Italy has been dropped, reports Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera.

From 15 July travellers will be permitted to bring trolley luggage on board, while those carrying jackets or coats must place them in single-use sterilised containers which will be provided on the aircraft.

Who can travel to Italy right now?

On 3 June Italy reopened to tourists from the EU and the Schengen Area, allowing unrestricted travel after months of lockdown, however travel restrictions remain in place for visitors from most countries outside Europe, including the US.

On 1 July the EU reopened its borders to travellers from a list of "safe countries" whose citizens now have quarantine-free access to the EU: Algeria, Australia, Canada, Georgia, Japan, New Zealand, Montenegro, Morocco, Rwanda, Serbia, South Korea, Thailand, Tunisia and Uruguay.

Photo credit: MARCO SOLBIATI / Shutterstock.com.