Italy is poised to be removed from England’s travel corridor in a fresh blow to holidaymakers, who will have to quarantine for a fortnight on their return from the country, the Guardian has learned.
It is understood that Italy, which recorded its highest daily tally of new Covid-19 cases on Wednesday, is being dropped from the dwindling list of countries that travellers can visit without having to quarantine when they come home.
Last week Italy imposed new rules meaning visitors from the UK and other nations must provide evidence of a negative Covid test taken 72 hours before travel.
Italy was one of the last major European holiday hotspots where English travellers could visit without quarantining on their return, after France and Italy were dropped from the travel corridor in recent months. Last year UK residents made more than 5m visits to Italy, according to Office for National Statistics estimates.
The Guardian understands that Vatican City and San Marino are also being removed from the travel corridor and Crete is being added, in moves that are likely to be followed by the devolved nations, which have autonomy over such changes. It is understood the changes will come into effect from 4am on Sunday, giving 24 hours more warning than previous corridor changes in recent weeks.
A formal announcement is expected by the transport secretary, Grant Shapps, on Thursday afternoon. The Department for Transport has been contacted for comment.
Shapps has been under pressure from the aviation sector over the government’s failure to introduce a testing regime to cut quarantine times for visitors. Last week he launched a “global travel taskforce” to explore the issue, and it is due to report back next month.
Italy has the second highest Covid death toll on the continent, with 36,289 fatalities since the pandemic began, but its daily cases are below the UK’s.
On Wednesday Italy recorded 7,332 Covid-19 infections over the previous 24 hours, up from 5,901 on Tuesday. The previous highest daily number in Italy was 6,557 new cases on 21 March.
Italy reported another 43 Covid-related deaths on Wednesday, and the number of people in intensive care with the virus is rising – 539 on Wednesday, up from 514 the day before.
The country’s prime minister, Giuseppe Conte, has said he is determined to avoid a new general lockdown. On Tuesday Italy imposed new restrictions on gatherings, restaurants, sports and school activities.
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