Italy introduces compulsory virus testing for travellers from France

People wearing face masks are seen on an airplane from Cairo to Hurghada, Egypt, on June 18, 2020. Egypt reported on Thursday 1,218 new COVID-19 infections, bringing the total cases registered in the country since mid-February to 50,437, said Egyptian Health Ministry. (Xinhua/Ahmed Gomaa)

Italy on Monday announced compulsory virus testing for anyone wishing to enter the country from Paris or other parts of France with high rates of coronavirus infection.

Explaining the decision on Facebook, Health Minister Roberto Speranza wrote that the situation in Europe “cannot be underestimated” and called for “great caution.”

“Italy today is doing better than other countries, but great caution is still required in order not to jeopardize the efforts made until now,” he wrote.

Italy was the first Western country to be hit by the pandemic but, after a severe health emergency in March and April, it brought infection rates under control in the following months.

However, virus numbers have crept up again since the second half of July and, with the reopening of schools this month, fears of a possible second wave of infections have increased.

According to the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), Italy has reported 34 Covid-19 cases per 100,000 inhabitants over the last 14 days.

By comparison, Spain has had 300.5, France 192.5 and Germany 25.9.

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