Alitalia to run COVID-tested Rome-New York flights from Dec. 8

MILAN (Reuters) - Italian airline Alitalia will start offering COVID-tested flights between Rome and New York from December 8, the airline and the company that operates Rome's Fiumicino Airport said in a joint statement on Friday.
The announcement follows an order from the Department of Health, enacted late last month and in effect until February 15, requiring passengers flying between Rome and some U.S. destinations to present either a valid negative COVID test - the one within the last 48 hours has been carried out - when they arrive at the airport or are tested before boarding.
Upon arrival in Italy, passengers will undergo another coronavirus test which, if negative, will relieve them of the 14-day quarantine that Italy imposes on incoming travelers.
The quarantine exemption applies to Italy only, while the U.S. government's restrictions on entry into the United States remain in place.
In September, Alitalia experimented with COVID tests on some flights between Rome's Fiumicino and Milan's Linate city airport, Italy's largest hub, to resume domestic travel after the first wave of epidemics.
However, the government gradually restricted movement between regions to combat a second wave of infections.
Fiumicino saw a drop in passenger traffic this year due to the coronavirus crisis and had to announce a partial closure in early March.
"This experimental phase will aim to evaluate the effectiveness and functionality of the new travel mode in order to make it more widely available in view of the upcoming 2021 summer season," the companies said in the statement on Friday.
(Reporting by Gianluca Semeraro; editing by Emelia Sithole-Matarise)

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