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Are Covid-free islands the way to go this summer?

Are Covid-free islands the way to go this summer?

Greece is doing it, Italy is still on the fence

Greek authorities decided to act creatively when it came to saving the tourist season this summer. They announced that the entire populations of small islands there will be put on the vaccination fast-track in order to guarantee visitors safety and peace of mind and encourage them to choose these places for their vacation.

Italy, another country that heavily relies on tourism for its GDP, has been embroiled in an internal debate since last week on whether to copy this approach and apply it locally. Some health officials and the Culture and Tourism Minister, Massimo Garavaglia, have welcomed this idea as a way of encouraging tourists to choose the country. However, there has been an opposition from regional authorities from the mainland, too.

Meanwhile, a Covid-free train starts running in Italy

If the Covid-free islands plan goes ahead that would mean that iconic isles, such as Capri, Ischia and Procida (which in total have about 20,000 residents) can receive carpet vaccination in order to help them quickly prepare their facilities for the fast-approaching summer. Such a move, on the other hand, is already causing criticism from various sides.

Some of the tourist regions located on the mainland felt that this would be unfair as it would represent a sense of discrimination and favouring some resorts over others for the benefit of the tourist money. Others have been vocal about the fact that this would go to the contrary of the national vaccination plan which stipulates that people over 80 are a priority for immunization before moving onto the younger generations.

The Apennine country has anyhow been rather decentralized internally in the past months due to the different Covid infection rates in different regions, which has caused the government to often impose bans on travelling between them.

Yet, there is also a sign of unity with the official launch of the Covid-free express train that will run between Rome and Milan starting Friday, 16 April. Passengers will have two options: they can either show a negative result (done 48 hours before boarding) with their ticket or get a fast test at the station before getting on the train.

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