Italy considering mandatory COVID-19 testing for passengers returning from Malta

Italy considering rapid testing of returning passengers after spike in new infections among holidaymakers returning from Spain, Greece, Malta and Croatia

Italy is planning on introducing rapid testing for COVID-19 at airports for returning travellers from several countries, including Malta
Italy is planning on introducing rapid testing for COVID-19 at airports for returning travellers from several countries, including Malta

Italy plans introducing rapid testing for COVID-19 in ports, airports and border crossings for arrivals from several countries, including Malta, after a spike in new cases.

The procedure is expected to kick off with rapid tests in airports, according to Italian Health Minister Roberto Speranza.

This development comes as Sicily recorded the highest number of positive cases over the past few days in Syracuse with regional newspaper, La Sicilia, attributing the 16 cases to a cluster of people, who had been in contact with somebody returning from Malta.

Passengers getting off a returning flight from the enlisted countries must stop at the airports, take the test, and wait for the result. The measures will immediately apply for Spain and Greece, with Malta and Croatia next on the list. The same procedure may be extended to disembarking passengers from ships and ferries in the near future.

Scientists favour rapid testing since swabbing does not provide an immediate result. It must be repeated after a few days and hence, it lacks immediate verification of those possibly infected abroad.

The second week of August was considered the most dangerous for the spread of COVID-19 in Italy.  Significantly, the most serious consequences could manifest themselves in the coming weeks, close to the start of schools.

Malta has seen its own spike in COVID-19 cases over the past few weeks with active cases surpassing the 400 mark.

The vast majority of patients are in isolation at their homes and most have mild symptoms but the health authorities have re-introduced restrictive measures on mass events and made mask-wearing obligatory in shops, airport and sea passenger terminals and the Gozo ferry.

READ ALSO: Five entertainment establishments fined €3,000 for breaching rules on mass events

More in Europe