Italy Imposes New Travel Rules in Bid to Stave Off U.K. Variant

Italy will require people who arrive from Britain to quarantine for five days and take a coronavirus test starting Monday in response to concerns about the Delta variant.

Italian Health Minister Roberto Speranza said Friday that he signed the order in response to the spike in Delta-related cases of the virus in Britain. The variant is responsible for over 90 percent of new infections in the U.K. but has not been widely detected in Italy.

The county's quarantine requirement may affect the Euro 2020 soccer competition. England's national team is likely to play in Rome if it moves forward from the group stage.

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Combat medics from Queen Alexandra's Royal Army Nursing Corps vaccinate people at a rapid vaccination center in Bolton, England, on June 9. Christopher Furlong/Getty Images

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Under the ordinance, Italy will allow people to enter from the United States, Canada and Japan if they meet the prerequisites for the European Union Green Certificate. Those requirements include full vaccination, documented recovery from COVID-19 or a negative swab test performed within 48 hours of arrival in Italy.

U.S. travelers who flew into Italy on COVID-tested flights, which require a negative swab test within 48 hours before boarding, could already enter Italy as tourists. Alitalia and at least two U.S. airlines have been operating those flights, which also require a swab test for passengers when they disembark in Italy.

Tourism, especially by U.S. visitors, is an important part of Italy's economy, and the sector is eagerly awaiting Americans' return.

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British Health Secretary Matt Hancock leaves 10 Downing Street in London on June 7. The Delta variant, which is fast becoming the dominant coronavirus variant in the U.K., is 40 percent more transmissible than the country's existing strains, according to the secretary. Matt Dunham/AP Photo