Corona vaccination documents needed when traveling to Italy in 2021

Population to be vaccinated: 60,414,453[i]

What vaccines: Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna

Inbound travelers vaccination proof: Vaccination proof not required, but evidence of COVID-19 negative test taken 72 hours before arrival and Self-Declaration Form[iii]

Inbound travelers quarantine: Yes, 10-14 days[iv]

Quarantine accommodation: Self-isolation at own accommodation-subject to category[v]

Italy, one of the most favorite destinations in the European Union, was hard-hit by COVID-19. Following the outbreak in Wuhan, China, Italy recorded its first case on 30 January when two Chinese tourists were tested coronavirus positive. The country witnessed a sharp increase in COVID cases with tens of thousands of patients tested positive. On 08 March, the Italian government announced lockdown measures in the northern region and eventually to the whole nation. Air travel was suspended as well as non-strategic business, events, schools, and universities.

 

COVID-19 effects on Italy tourism

Economic estimates suggested that Italy lost about £6.4bn ($8.3bn)[vi] from tourism revenue due to COVID-19. In 2019, 94 million tourists came to Italy, making it the fourth most visited country in international tourism. Italian cities most visited were Rome, Milan, Venice, Naples, Turin, Florence, Tuscan, and the Vatican. Italy is popular for its rich cultural heritage, fine food, historical artifacts, fashion, arts, museums, and exquisite sceneries.

 

According to World Travel and Tourism Council the dent left by the global pandemic could hurt Milan’s rank as one of the world’s financial powerhouses for business and Rome’s position as a top tourist destination.

 

Following the COVID-19 outbreak, all tourism activities stopped and revenue from this industry significantly dropped.

 

Roll out a vaccination program

During the last quarter of 2020, the availability of an approved vaccine gave hope to people. As pharmaceutical companies announced the completion of clinical trials, the Italian government examined its COVID-19 response and recovery plan. The goal is to slowly restart the economy and regain a sense of normalcy following the strict lockdown measures and quarantine guidelines.

Italy’s coronavirus emergency commissioner Domenico Arcuri proposed mass vaccination to commence in January 2021. Meanwhile, Health Minister Roberto Speranza cited the conditional approval for the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine, which is already distributed in the United States and the United Kingdom.

As of December 27, a total of 900,000 of Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine doses were delivered to regional health around Italy. Vaccination rollout began this January. To date, more than 700,000[vii] people nationwide had been immunized. This puts Italy as one of the fastest-vaccinating countries in the EU. Apart from Italy, other EU members like Germany, France, Belgium, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Spain, and Switzerland agreed to coordinate COVID-19 vaccination efforts and share information and progress to promote effective immunization programs.

Italian Health Ministry identified priority sectors of the population to receive its first dose of vaccine. First in line are doctors and health care workers estimated to be 1.4 million people.

This will be followed by over 570,000 people who are residents in nursing care homes. Next in line are citizens aged 80 and above, then those aged 60 to 79, and people with chronic disease. These groups are considered vulnerable and high-risk for COVID-19 according to the World Health Organization.

Identified key workers like teachers, police officers and prison wardens will also be prioritized.

Finally, the vaccines will be offered to the general public through walk-in centers and specially-designed vaccine kiosks. The health ministry emphasized that vaccines are free of charge and non-obligatory.

EU drug regulators have also approved the use of Moderna as another viable vaccine option for consideration by EU members. With two vaccines available for use, member countries expect to speed up their immunization program.

In addition to this, the Italian government is set to invest in a single dose vaccine from local biotech firm ReiThera, following the success of its Phase 1 clinical trials.

The Italian government hopes to get 14 million people vaccinated by March and most of its population immunized by September 2021. Health experts estimate that about 60-90 percent[viii] of the population should be vaccinated to attain herd immunity against the virus and prevent future outbreaks.

 

Proof of corona covid-19 vaccination when traveling by car or air to Italy. A vaccine passport?

One of the interesting strategies considered is the use of digital health passports or “vaccine passports”. The idea floated as proof of vaccination for individuals to freely move around.

Another innovative digital project is CommonPass, a mobile app to facilitate the secure sharing and protection of public health information. Easily accessible health data records of individuals can facilitate global travel during the pandemic. CommonPass completed beta testing by Cathay Pacific flights between Singapore and Hong Kong and by United Airlines flights between London and New York.

 

Italian Health Minister called the vaccine “a light at the end of the tunnel”.[ix] While it’s not a silver bullet or cure-all for the COVID-19 virus, the availability of vaccine provides hope of a higher chance of winning the battle against the pandemic. After the crippling effect of the disease, the vaccine paves the way for countries to start rebuilding its economy and establish a sense of normalcy.

Beginning June 2020, Italy has eased up its border restrictions and permitted travel to and from the country following health guidelines and protocols regularly updated through decrees issued by the Italian government.

Based on the updated Ministerial Decree[x], provisions for travel to and from Italy are outlined for strict compliance. Travel rules vary depending on origin and purpose.  Provisions and guidelines have set parameters and dates of coverage. For detailed instruction, the government outlined rules and regulations for travel based on origin[xi]:

  • List A – Vatican City and Republic of San Marino
  • List B – The States and territories with low epidemiological risk will be identified, among those in List C
  • List C – Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Croatia, Denmark (including the Faroe Islands and Greenland), Estonia, Finland, France (including Guadeloupe, Martinique, Guyana, Reunion, Mayotte and excluding other territories outside the European mainland), Germany, Greece, Ireland, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands (excluding territories outside the European mainland), Poland, Portugal (including the Azores and Madeira), Czech Republic, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain (including territories in the African continent), Sweden, Hungary, Iceland, Norway, Liechtenstein, Switzerland, Andorra, Principality of Monaco.
  • List D – Australia, Japan, New Zealand, Rwanda, Republic of Korea, Singapore, Thailand
  • List E – Rest of the world – (all States and Territories not specifically referred to in any other list)
  • Special Provision for the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland

One of the interesting strategies considered is the use of digital health passports or “vaccine passports”. The idea floated as proof of vaccination for individuals to freely move around.

Another innovative digital project is CommonPass, a mobile app to facilitate the secure sharing and protection of public health information. Easily accessible health data records of individuals can facilitate global travel during the pandemic. CommonPass completed beta testing by Cathay Pacific flights between Singapore and Hong Kong and by United Airlines flights between London and New York.

However, issues on ethics and data privacy remain important concerns among experts.

Meanwhile, the Italian government speeds up its immunization program through the establishment of vaccine kiosks in key tourist destinations across the country. These kiosks will be easily identified with their white structure and flower graphic adornment, symbolizing “serenity and regeneration”.

The government is also considering offering vaccines to non-citizens, but no official decree has been implemented yet.

Apart from the immunization program, the health ministry strictly observes 14-day self-quarantine for all tourists, regardless of their origin and purpose. Special cases apply for those who require immediate medical treatment and life-and-death emergencies. Tourists are also required to show negative COVID-19 test results taken within 72 hours before arrival and filled out Self-Declaration Forms.

 

According to Statista[xii] estimates, Italy would experience a 61 to 81 million drop in tourist arrivals for 2020. It will take a while for tourism to reach its 2019 peak given the health variables posed by the pandemic.

 

[i]https://www.worldometers.info/world-population/italy-population/

[ii]https://app.powerbi.com/view?r=eyJrIjoiMzg4YmI5NDQtZDM5ZC00ZTIyLTgxN2MtOTBkMWM4MTUyYTg0IiwidCI6ImFmZDBhNzVjLTg2NzEtNGNjZS05MDYxLTJjYTBkOTJlNDIyZiIsImMiOjh9

[iii]http://www.salute.gov.it/portale/nuovocoronavirus/dettaglioContenutiNuovoCoronavirus.jsp?lingua=english&id=5412&area=nuovoCoronavirus&menu=vuoto

[iv]http://www.salute.gov.it/portale/nuovocoronavirus/dettaglioContenutiNuovoCoronavirus.jsp?lingua=english&id=5412&area=nuovoCoronavirus&menu=vuoto

[v]http://www.salute.gov.it/portale/nuovocoronavirus/dettaglioContenutiNuovoCoronavirus.jsp?lingua=english&id=5412&area=nuovoCoronavirus&menu=vuoto

[vi] https://www.pharmaceutical-technology.com/features/covid-19-italy-coronavirus-deaths-measures-airports-tourism/

[vii]https://app.powerbi.com/view?r=eyJrIjoiMzg4YmI5NDQtZDM5ZC00ZTIyLTgxN2MtOTBkMWM4MTUyYTg0IiwidCI6ImFmZDBhNzVjLTg2NzEtNGNjZS05MDYxLTJjYTBkOTJlNDIyZiIsImMiOjh9

[viii] https://www.thelancet.com/journals/lancet/article/PIIS0140-6736(20)32318-7/fulltext

[ix] https://www.thelocal.it/20201216/light-at-the-end-of-the-tunnel-italy-approves-plan-to-begin-covid-vaccinations-in-january

[x] https://www.trovanorme.salute.gov.it/norme/dettaglioAtto?id=77479

[xi] http://www.salute.gov.it/portale/nuovocoronavirus/dettaglioContenutiNuovoCoronavirus.jsp?lingua=english&id=5412&area=nuovoCoronavirus&menu=vuoto

[xii] https://www.statista.com/statistics/1130959/coronavirus-impact-on-tourist-arrivals-in-italy-by-scenario/