Italy plans to loosen its anti-COVID regulations for travelers coming from China

Italy will loosen its anti-COVID controls for travellers arriving from China, making swabs random rather than mandatory at its airports, a document seen by Reuters on Tuesday showed.

Under a new order signed by Health Minister Orazio Schillaci, Italy will require those flying from China to test negative within 48 hours of departure and may carry out additional swabs “on a random basis” upon arrival at the airport.

On Dec. 28, Italy imposed mandatory COVID tests and virus sequencing for passengers coming from China.

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A sign representing coronavirus testing is displayed at the Malpensa Airport in Milan, Italy, on Dec. 29, 2022. 

A sign representing coronavirus testing is displayed at the Malpensa Airport in Milan, Italy, on Dec. 29, 2022. 
(REUTERS/Jennifer Lorenzini)

Tuesday’s order will come into force on Wednesday and will be valid until the end of February.

Italy’s stance contrasts with that of France which on Saturday extended mandatory COVID tests for travellers from China until Feb. 15.

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The scale of the outbreak in China and doubts over official data prompted many countries, including the United States and Japan, to impose travel rules on Chinese visitors.

The re-opening of China’s borders from Jan. 8 raises the prospect of Chinese tourists returning to shopping streets worldwide, once a market worth $255 billion a year globally.

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