It almost doesn’t seem believable.
But, yes, Italy turns the corner after so much time and after so many ups and downs. Finally, the daily stats are saying that Italy is no longer pinned to the mat by Covid. To see the number of new daily cases well below 5K and daily deaths less than 100 is quite encouraging. And the trends continue to dip.
“Health authorities in the country appear optimistic. ‘Starting from mid-June all of Italy could be in a white zone. It’s undoubtedly an improving scenario,” commented Silvio Brusaferro, president of the Italian National Institute of Health (ISS). “We are now in a transition phase,” he continued. “Thanks to the improvement in vaccine coverage, the virus is circulating less […]. The reopenings are having successful outcomes, and there will be space for more economic activity in the future. I insist that we need to be careful. We are not out of the pandemic yet,’ he added.”
—From “Italy Touches Covid-19 Record Lows” by Irene Dominioni, Forbes (read the full article here).
Italy turns the corner as residents have been increasingly embracing vaccinations.
This is HUGE. Yeah, like in the U.S., there is a solid chunk of the population refusing the get the vaccine (and I guess leaving it to the rest of us to reach some semblance of herd immunity). But, from what I’m seeing in the news, people are mostly jumping on board and making their vaccine reservations.
The youngsters are behaving WAY more!
This is one of the most encouraging things I’ve witnessed. For starters, when the vaccinations were opened up to those over sixteen, even if it meant taking AstraZeneca, the country’s youth have been queueing up.
“Italy’s local health authorities got the green light to open up coronavirus vaccination appointments to everyone over 12 years old from Thursday, June 3rd.”
—The Local.it (read the full article here).
On top of that, the “clusters” of young people that I see around town are mostly masked up. Rewind to six months ago and very different optics. Back then the young groups broadcasted a cavalier, this-isn’t-my-problem attitude. No, now they’re behaving. I suspect the reason is that they’re done with having their wings clipped and they’re itch’n to be back in the game. I certainly can relate when I dig into the memory banks of my own adolescence!
Tourism is slowly returning.
Though Italy turns the corner, current tourism is a pale reflection of normal times. In Imperia, Liguria, where we live by the sea, we’re seeing an increasing presence of European couples and families, particularly Germans and other Northern EU countries. The border between France and Italy still requires recent Covid tests and/or proof of vaccination, so the flow between the two isn’t robust.
We’re still waiting for details, but a Covid “passport” is in development to encourage more fluid movement (and less confusion) in the EU.
Noticeably absent? UK residents.
With Brexit settling in and with a recent surge in the Indian variant of Covid on “the island,” what once was an easy and robust flow of tourism into Italy and other parts of the EU seems now to be just a trickle. And stories have been emerging of EU citizens trying to enter the UK being detained and held, and not in a nice way. So, the love between the UK and the EU is strained. Italy turns the corner but it looks like the UK still has some headaches to navigate.
Coming to Italy from the U.S.?
After almost a year of being restricted to travel for only “essential” reasons, Italy is now open to U.S. tourists, though the logistics haven’t come clearly into focus for all involved. Supposedly, a Covid test flight directly from the U.S. is the easiest path, but still requires documented outbound testing.
Transiting through another EU country?
You’d better double and triple-check with your airline to be sure of their requirements. AND bring copies of stated policies and any legal documents substantiating the purpose of your trip. We have dear friends who just traveled to Italy to close on a property and they were transiting through Germany. Although they had done their diligence with the airline, even going to the airport days before the flight to confirm that they were doing everything properly, on the day of check-in they were grilled and asked for extra documentation (and warned that they’d better have even more for passing immigration in Germany).
So, I guess we could say “Che casino!” (What a mess!) for this often-confusing transition period.
Meanwhile, yours truly waits for my next AstraZeneca dose.
I didn’t get a choice, and that was fine by me. I’m the polar opposite of a vaccine worrywart. Call me crazy but I’ve been doing flu vaccines for 40+ years with no ill effects. In other words, I’m sold, even in the face of risks (however minuscule).
In Italy, the timing between AZ doses is almost three months, so I have a solid 7-8 weeks to go. People reserving now are mostly getting Moderna or Pfizer, with somewhere around forty days in between the doses. For get-it-now-without-waiting volunteers, that’s mostly AZ since the EU has a surplus now that the longer-term strategy has shifted to the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines.
As Italy turns the corner, I look forward to turning the corner as well with full vaccination!
Hi Jed, nice post. One thing I think you missed. As of now anyone on a flight not listed as Covid tested must quarantine for 10 days in Italy. Direct flights only and only from a few US airports to only Milan and Rome. Anyone traveling through another country would have to Quarantine for 10 days.
Thanks, Nancy. The easiest path to entry to Italy is indeed a Covid flight. I purposely didn’t attempt to spell out other entry paths since there is still some confusion, not only in specifics but in actual practice. Our friends who arrived in Venice (transitting through Frankfurt) over a week ago were not asked to register for monitoring after their arrival and they have since moved freely about. The big deal for them was proof of vaccination and a recent negative Covid test. They’re also expected to be tested upon departure from Italy (again transiting through Germany).
My understanding, possibly erroneously, is the general policy is that people are asked to voluntarily practice 10 days of self-isolation upon arrival. I’m not aware of stories of people arriving and being monitored through quarantine.
As Italy and the rest of the EU move towards some kind of Covid passport for movement within the EU (I think they’re shooting for the beginning of July) I imagine that loosening arrangements will be made for U.S. citizens arriving for tourism, especially since Italy is trying to rev up its tourism motor again.
Still, for now, to take the guesswork and possible hiccups out of the equations, the direct-to-Italy Covid test flights are the way to go.
I hope you, like us, are enjoying greater freedoms. We spent a glorious afternoon on the beach today at our reserved spot for the summer. My guess is that it was about 20% occupied. In a couple of weeks, when school is out, my bet is that we’ll be seeing a different picture. Jed
Congratulations on your vaccine status. We both completed ours in late Winter. Not one problem. Now, as I had predicted, one can get vaccinated pretty much everywhere, without an appointment. The results of the large number of vaccinated people here on Cape Cod is stunning. We are slowly re-entering and it is joyful. Our mask mandates are over-with and people who choose to wear them may, while others don’t. So far, so good. Respect for the choices has become the new operating principle, at least here in Biden country. I, as a nurse, understand that there are people who won’t get vaccinated for a number of reasons. I have seen them all! Gotta say, a lot of them are simply afraid of “needles” but have found it easier to say that they fear the unknown effects. Same people who engage in risky behaviors otherwise. History of contagious diseases tells us that the formulation of a new vaccine is not, by any means, a new occurrence. Smallpox got wiped out as the result of a major, very invasive live vaccine.
Hi Lynn, Thanks for sharing your perspective as a nurse and as a compassionate human being. I’m glad the U.S. is far enough along to begin dispensing with mask mandates. We’re still a long way away from that step, but hopefully, not too long.
I relish the infrequent opportunities, usually far outside the urban centers and by the sea, to unmask and drink in the salty air!