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Italy reopens to US tourists on covid-tested flights

Delta launches flights to Italy to American leisure travellers from 16 May.

Delta Air Lines is offering covid-tested flights to Italy to "all customers" from 16 May as the Italian government lifts "entry restrictions enabling American leisure travelers to visit the country for the first time in more than a year."

The news, announced on the US airline's website, will allow non-essential travel to Italy from the US, with Delta's customers obliged to undergo coronavirus testing before departure and on arrival, regardless of their vaccination status.

On testing negative, passengers will not be required to quarantine in Italy.

The direct, covid-tested Delta flight options, operated in conjunction with Italian airline Alitalia, include five-times-a-week between Atlanta and Rome (increasing to daily from 26 May); a daily service between New York-JFK and Milan; and three-times-a-week from New York-JFK to Rome (increasing to daily from 1 July).

Later this summer Delta will offer additional routes: New York-JFK to Venice starting on 2 July, as well as Atlanta to Venice and Boston to Rome from 5 August.

The move by Delta followed an announcement by Italy's foreign affairs minister Luigi Di Maio who stated that tourists from the USA, Canada and Japan will be allowed to travel to Italy on board covid-free flights.

Describing it as "safe travel without quarantine," Di Maio said: "We are opening up to safe tourism from all G7 states after more than a year. Until now, with covid free flights, it was not possible to come to Italy for tourism from non-EU countries."

The travel update comes as Italy announced it will drop quarantine restrictions for travellers arriving from European and Schengen zone countries, Israel and the UK, from 16 May.

Previously people travelling to Italy from these areas were obliged to quarantine for five days on arrival and undergo obligatory covid tests both before arrival and at the end of their isolation period.

Under the new travel rules, a negative covid-19 test result before travelling will still be required, the Italian health ministry has confirmed.

The move comes a week after Italian prime minister Mario Draghi said that Italy would reopen to vaccinated, recovered or covid-negative tourists this summer.

"The time has come to book your holidays in Italy" - Draghi said - “Our mountains, our beaches, our cities are reopening.”

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