Italy imposes five-day quarantine for tourists over Easter

ROME (Reuters) -Italy will impose a mandatory five-day coronavirus quarantine for people arriving or returning from trips to European Union countries until April 6, the health ministry said on Tuesday.

Travellers must also take a COVID-19 test at the end of the quarantine period. Similar measures were already in place for trips to countries outside the European Union.

The decree will be effective the day after its publication either Tuesday night or Wednesday, a ministry spokesman said.

The decree came after the hotel industry complained that while travel between Italy’s 20 regions was virtually barred, travel within the EU was allowed with some restrictions.

All over Italy restaurants and bars can only serve takeaways as infections and deaths have risen. In many regions, all but essential shops have been forced to close and people may leave their homes only for work, health reasons or emergencies.

Italian hotel owners blame the government for not offering enough compensation for their forced closures.

“We absolutely did not want to make war against Italians going abroad. ... If the test is valid to go abroad, it must be valid for Italy too,” Bernabo Bocca, president of Italy’s hotel lobby Federalberghi, told Ansa news agency.

“We thought it was fine that an Italian taking a test could go abroad, but an Italian taking a test should also be allowed to go to a hotel in Venice,” he added.

Reporting by Angelo Amante; Editing by Crispian Balmer and Richard Chang