British tourists visiting Italy may have to quarantine amid alarm over Delta variant

British tourists visiting Italy could be made to quarantine amid alarm over the growing number of Delta variant cases in the UK, the Italian prime minister has warned.

British and other European visitors currently just have to show a negative Covid-19 test or proof they have been vaccinated when they arrive at the country’s borders.

But that could change if the number of Delta variant infections continues to rise in Britain, said Mario Draghi.

“If the number of cases increases, we will have to reimpose quarantine for those who arrive from England. But we are not there yet,” he said at the end of the G7 summit in Cornwall.

Italians often use “England” as a synonym for the whole of the UK, but it was not clear if Mr Draghi was referring to England alone or all four home nations.

Tourists stroll past the Doge's Palace in Venice

Credit: AFP

More than 90 per cent of new coronavirus cases in Britain are now down to the Delta variant, which was first detected in India. In Italy, by contrast, the Delta variant accounts for just one per cent of new cases.

Meanwhile, 40 million Italians – around two thirds of the population – were from Monday living in low-risk “white” regions, meaning that night-time curfews and other stringent anti-coronavirus measures have been lifted.

The rest of the country is designated a moderate-risk yellow zone. During the pandemic, Italy’s 20 regions were classed red, orange, yellow or white depending on the rate of infection.

For the first time in nine months, there were no deaths in the previous 24 hours in 12 regions, including Veneto, the northern region which includes Venice, and Lazio, the central region around Rome.

Facemasks and social distancing in public places are still compulsory.

Italy’s vaccination programme has been thrown into confusion after the government ruled last week that AstraZeneca jabs should no longer be given to people under the age of 60.

Millions of people under 60 have already had a first AstraZeneca jab but have now been told that their second jab will be Pfizer or Moderna.

Mr Draghi denied that the change of heart would hamper Italy’s campaign. “The vaccination plan continues, there are no particular uncertainties or fears that it will not succeed,” he said.

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