MILAN: Italy will loosen its anti-COVID controls for travellers arriving from China, making swabs random rather than mandatory at its airports, a document seen by Reuters on Tuesday (Jan 31) showed.
Under a new order signed by Health Minister Orazio Schillaci, Italy will require those flying from China to test negative within 48 hours of departure and may carry out additional swabs “on a random basis” upon arrival at the airport.
On Dec 28, Italy imposed mandatory COVID-19 tests and virus sequencing for passengers coming from China.
Tuesday’s order will come into force on Wednesday and will be valid until the end of February.
Italy’s stance contrasts with that of France which on Saturday extended mandatory COVID-19 tests for travellers from China until Feb 15.
The scale of the outbreak in China and doubts over official data prompted many countries, including the United States and Japan, to impose travel rules on Chinese visitors.
The reopening of China’s borders from Jan 8 raises the prospect of Chinese tourists returning to shopping streets worldwide, once a market worth US$255 billion a year globally.