Severity: Critical Alert

Exit/Entry: Italy imposes mandatory 14-day self-isolation for travelers from Bulgaria and Romania from July 24 due to increased COVID-19 activity.

  • Alert Begins: 24 Jul 2020 04:53 PM UTC
  • Alert Expires: 31 Jul 2020 11:59 PM UTC
  • Incident: COVID-19 restrictions
  • Location(s): Nationwide (map)
  • Time Frame: Indefinite
  • Impact: Severe travel and business disruptions

Summary
Authorities in Italy have imposed mandatory 14-day self-isolation for travelers who have stayed in Bulgaria and Romania in the last 14 days from July 24 due to increased coronavirus disease (COVID-19) activity in those two countries. Authorities are allowing unrestricted travel to resume with all other EU, Schengen Area, and associated countries. Travelers from Algeria, Australia, Canada, Georgia, Japan, Morocco, New Zealand, Rwanda, South Korea, Thailand, Tunisia, and Uruguay are permitted to enter Italy, but are required to register with authorities and self-isolate for 14 days on arrival. Travel from all other countries remains prohibited, bar a few exceptions, including study, proven work needs, and urgent reasons such as health; all such arrivals are also required to register and self-isolate for 14 days on arrival.

Previously, authorities extended COVID-19 related extraordinary measures through at least July 31. These measures include the requirement for individuals to wear protective face coverings in enclosed public spaces and observe social distancing of at least one meter (3 feet) where possible. Most businesses and activities are permitted to resume, provided strict social distancing and hygiene requirements are enforced.

Authorities have removed restrictions on interregional travel within Italy; however, regional authorities may require health screenings for arrivals. Interregional rail schedules have increased, though all passengers are subject to a mandatory temperature check before boarding. Any individuals displaying symptoms of COVID-19 are not permitted to travel and must remain home.

Local authorities are empowered to reintroduce restrictions based on assessments of disease activity in the area. All restrictions are subject to amendment at short notice and may receive updates or extensions in the coming days.

Background and Analysis
The measures adopted by the Italian government are similar to actions taken by other regional governments in response to the spread of COVID-19. COVID-19 is a viral respiratory disease caused by infection with the SARS-CoV-2 virus (previously known as 2019-nCoV). Symptoms occur 1-14 days following exposure (average of 3-7 days). These symptoms include fever, fatigue, cough, difficulty breathing, sometimes worsening to pneumonia and kidney failure - especially in those with underlying medical conditions. On March 11, the WHO declared the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak a pandemic.

As countries relax blanket restrictions across Europe, authorities could begin to reintroduce sporadic, highly targeted measures in response to local COVID-19 outbreaks. Such measures could apply to neighborhoods or specific facilities, including schools, factories, or accommodation and office blocks. Mandatory social distancing procedures in public places and on public transport, as well as widespread voluntary “self-policing” by residents, will assist in reducing the potential for contagion, negating the necessity for a large-scale, blanket reintroduction of significant restrictions.

Advice
Follow all official instructions. Abide by national health and safety measures. Reconfirm all travel arrangements. Consider delaying traveling if experiencing symptoms associated with COVID-19, as they may prompt increased scrutiny and delays. Liaise with trusted contacts for further updates and guidance. Maintain contact with your diplomatic representation. Ensure contingency plans account for further disruptive measures or extensions of current restrictions. Reconsider and reconfirm nonemergency health appointments.

Emphasize basic health precautions, especially frequent handwashing with soap and water, or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are unavailable. Practice good coughing/sneezing etiquette (i.e., covering coughs and sneezes with a disposable tissue, maintaining distance from others, and washing hands). There is no evidence that the influenza vaccine, antibiotics, or antiviral medications will prevent this disease, highlighting the importance of diligent basic health precautions.


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