The Italian Ministry of Health announced as of January 1, 2023, that those with a COVID positive test without symptoms do not need to take a swab test after five days as previously required. However, they are required to wear a mask up to 10 days after their last positive test. (They may elect to take a test and, if negative, mask requirements are not in effect). In addition, those who have been without symptoms for at least two days need not take a post-infection swab test. These people can end isolation five days after the first positive test or appearance of symptoms. These measures will significantly reduce the number of swab tests carried out in Italy.
There are some exceptions to the new mandate. Health personnel and immunosuppressed individuals must still follow the previous rules of testing and must take an antigen or molecular test daily for five days after a positive test regardless of the presence of symptoms or not.
Also, the new protocol requires all travelers traveling into Italy from China to have a COVID test upon arrival. Health officials at Milan’s Malpensa airport convey that since this ruling went into effect last week half of the arrivals from China were infected, although there were no new variants reported at this time.
The Ministry of Health has also reduced the duration of self-monitoring of those who have had contact with a COVID positive individual. Previously the ruling required a self-monitoring phase of 10 days, during which one must wear a mask when going out. Now the mask requirement lasts for five days after contact. Healthcare workers must perform an antigen or molecular test daily until the fifth day after the last contact with a confirmed case must perform an antigen or molecular test daily. (Rita Kungel)