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EuropeItaly scraps quarantine for EU, Britain and Israel

Italy scraps quarantine for EU, Britain and Israel

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Persecuted christians - Conference at the European Parliament about the persecution of Christians in Sub-Saharan Africa (Credit: MEP Bert-Jan Ruissen)

Break the silence on persecuted Christians

MEP Bert-Jan Ruissen held a conference and exhibition at the European Parliament to denounce the silence surrounding the suffering of persecuted Christians worldwide. The EU must take stronger action against violations of freedom of religion, especially in Africa where lives are lost due to this silence.

Italy on Friday said it was scrapping quarantine requirements for visitors from the European Union, Britain and Israel who test negative for coronavirus, as it seeks to woo back tourists.

Under new rules that come into force from Sunday, Italy will also extend so-called “COVID-free” flights, currently in place to and from the US, to Canada, Japan and the United Arab Emirates.

Naples and Venice will also be served by such flights, in addition to Rome and Milan, a health ministry spokesperson said.

At the same time, measures blocking arrivals from Brazil have been extended.

“Health Minister Roberto Speranza has signed a decree that provides for entry from countries in the EU and the Schengen area, as well as Britain and Israel, with a negative test, overcoming the current system of mini-quarantine,” the spokesperson said.

Outdoor eating in cafes and restaurants resumed last month and museums and cinemas reopened, although a 10pm curfew remains in place nationwide. 

Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi has said the return of tourists is crucial to the recovery of the eurozone’s third largest economy, which was one of the EU countries worst hit by coronavirus.

The economy shrank by a staggering 8.9 per cent last year and more than 120,000 people have died since COVID-19 swept across Italy in February 2020.

Outdoor eating in cafes and restaurants resumed last month and museums and cinemas reopened, although a 10pm curfew remains in place nationwide. 

Draghi is under pressure from the far-right League and other parties supporting his national unity government to allow further reopenings, and the issue is set to dominate scheduled coalition talks on Monday.

Italy’s rate of infections has slowed in recent weeks while the vaccination campaign has gained pace after a slow start, with some 26 million doses administered in the country of 60 million people.

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