Italy ban on tourists from Singapore on COVID-19 concerns possibly 'clerical mistake', says ambassador
SINGAPORE: The Italian Ambassador to Singapore said on Thursday (Dec 16) that a ban that his country has imposed on tourists from Singapore is possibly an "error".
Speaking to CNA in response to queries, Mr Mario Andrea Vattani said: "We are writing to Italy’s MOH (health ministry) to ask them to review their choice of banning Singapore travellers to Italy for leisure. I would like to believe it is a clerical mistake or error to refer to Singapore’s removal from the EU list that was published on Nov 9 to make a decision now."
On Nov 9, Singapore was removed from a European Union list of countries for which travel restrictions should be lifted.
The EU list, which is reviewed every two weeks, states that the criteria for being listed takes into account the country's "epidemiological situation and overall response to COVID-19".
Mr Vattani told CNA he thinks that this list is not reflective of Singapore's current situation.
"In Singapore, the number of COVID-19 cases now are much lower, almost 100 per cent of the population is vaccinated. The Omicron variant is almost absent," said the ambassador.
SINGAPORE IN LIST OF HIGH-RISK COUNTRIES: ITALIAN HEALTH MINISTRY
On Wednesday, the Italian embassy in Singapore released an update on its website, saying that its health ministry had on Tuesday classified Singapore and Brunei as “List E” countries.
The countries in this list are deemed to be of high risk of COVID-19 infections.
This means that Singapore residents will not be able to travel to Italy for leisure from Thursday. The ban will stay in place until Jan 31.
Travellers from Singapore and other List E countries may enter Italy only for work, health, study reasons; out of "absolute urgency" or if they are returning to their homes in Italy.
Tourists from Singapore will not be allowed to enter Italy. Exceptions can be granted if the traveller is a citizen of an EU state or has a partner staying in Italy. Travellers participating in competitive sports competitions will also be allowed to travel to Italy.
Mr Vattani added that this decision will affect not only Singaporeans but also Italians travelling back for the holidays as they would now have to serve quarantine.
Travellers to Italy will be required to produce a negative pre-departure polymerase chain reaction (PCR) test taken within the last 24 hours. They will also need to self-isolate upon arrival for ten days at a declared address.
They will need to produce another PCR test at the end of the 10-day self-isolation.
Transiting in Italy’s airports is allowed, provided that the traveller does not exit designated areas within the airport.
Singapore launched a vaccinated travel lane (VTL) with Italy on Oct 19.
The move, which is a unilateral one, allows all fully vaccinated travellers from Italy to enter Singapore. With the recent move, travellers from Italy can continue to travel to Singapore via the VTL without quarantine.