Italy has tightened its domestic Covid rules, requiring individuals to provide a vaccine passport certifying that the bearer has been double vaccinated, to access most services, venues, and transport.
Under the new rules, introduced on 10 January, both locals and tourists without appropriate certification will be restricted from entering:
- All restaurants and bars
- All public transport
- Ski lifts
- Spas and thermal baths (for all purposes other than rehabilitation or therapy)
- Museums, libraries, cultural venues and exhibitions
- Celebrations related to civil or religious ceremonies
- Fairs, festivals, conventions and conferences
- Theme parks
- All indoor and outdoor social or recreational centres
- Games rooms, bingo halls, casinos and betting rooms.
Italy also plans to impose a validity period of six months for vaccine certificates from February, meaning that international travellers who had their second dose more than six months ago will need a booster to enter these venues.
Italy also expanded its ‘yellow zone’ list to 15 with the addition of the Aosta Valley, Tuscany, Emilia Romagna and Abruzzo, meaning that the four regions have surpassed a threshold of 10 per cent in intensive care and 15 per cent in general hospitalisations, with a weekly incident rate of 50 cases per 100,000 inhabitants.
Japan will continue Covid border restrictions until at least March
The government of Japan will continue to enforce its current Covid border restrictions until the end of February, following an announcement by Prime Minister Fumio Kishida on 11 January.
The measures, adopted following the discovery of the Omicron variant in late 2021, bans all new entry for non-Japanese citizens and permanent residents, including students and relatives of citizens and residents living overseas, except for under exceptional circumstances.
The rules also specify a six-day hotel quarantine for all inbound travellers who are permitted to enter, followed by home quarantine.
Kishida said: “Thanks to the toughest border rules in the G7 nations, we've been able to keep the spread of Omicron to a minimal level, giving us time to prepare to deal with domestic infection. We'll maintain the current framework of measures until the end of February, while taking necessary measures from the perspective of humanitarian and national interests.”
However, Kishida also implied that the outlook remains positive that restrictions would ease after February, saying that while much is still unknown about the Omicron variant, it appeared that the risk of serious cases was lower.
Iran eases land and air Covid border restrictions
Iran has announced that it will ease its Covid-related land border restrictions, according to a statement by Minister of the Interior, Ahmad Vahidi.
Under the new rules, entry is now possible for fully vaccinated travellers coming from neighbouring countries including Azerbaijan, Armenia, Turkmenistan, Pakistan and Afghanistan, Turkey and Iraq, following the provision of a negative PCR test.
The country restricted all non-citizens from entering via land borders on 25 December 2021.
Iran has also restricted air travel restrictions on travel to several African countries, having previously imposed a travel ban in November for flights from South Africa, Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Lesotho, and Eswatini in response to concerns about the Omicron variant.