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Italy and Greece relax Covid restrictions ahead of tourist season

Air travellers were previously required to show proof of vaccination, a negative test or a recent recovery from the disease (Steve Parsons/PA)
Air travellers were previously required to show proof of vaccination, a negative test or a recent recovery from the disease (Steve Parsons/PA)

Italy and Greece have relaxed some Covid-19 restrictions, in a sign that life is increasingly returning to normal before Europe’s peak summer tourist season.

Greece’s civil aviation authority announced it was lifting all coronavirus rules for international and domestic flights except for the wearing of face masks during flights and at airports.

Previously, air travellers were required to show proof of vaccination, a negative test or a recent recovery from the disease.

People at a bar in Rome
A bar in Rome (Gregorio Borgia/AP)

Under a decree passed by Italy’s health ministry, the country has done away with the health pass that had been required to enter restaurants, cinemas, gyms and other venues.

The green pass, which showed proof of vaccination, recovery from the virus or a recent negative test, was still required to access hospitals and nursing homes.

Some indoor mask mandates also ended, including in supermarkets, workplaces and shops. Masks were still required on public transport, in cinemas and in all health care and elderly care facilities.

Public health officials said masks remained highly recommended for all indoor activities, and that private companies could still require them.

People wear face masks on a public transport bus in Rome
Public transport in Rome (Gregorio Borgia/AP)

As of Sunday, visitors to Italy also no longer have to fill out the EU passenger locator form, a complicated online form required at airport check-in.

Despite restrictions being relaxed, public health officials urged prudence and stressed the pandemic was not over.

Italy is reporting 699 cases per 100,000 inhabitants and recording more than 100 deaths per day, with a total confirmed death toll at 163,500. But hospital capacity remains stable and under the critical threshold.

Italy was the epicentre of Europe’s outbreak when it recorded the first locally transmitted case on February 21 2020.

The government imposed one of the harshest lockdowns and production shutdowns in the West during the first wave of the virus, and maintained more stringent restrictions than many of its neighbours in subsequent waves.

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