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Delta, Alitalia To Launch Quarantine-free Flights Between U.S. And Italy

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U.S. airline Delta Air Lines, Inc. and its Italian codeshare partner Alitalia are planning to launch quarantine-free, COVID-free flights between U.S. and Europe through new testing protocols, starting in December.

In a statement, Delta said it has signed deals with airports and governments eliminating quarantine requirements on COVID-tested flights connecting Atlanta and Rome.

Atlanta, Georgia-based Delta has teamed with Rome's Aeroporti di Roma and Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport for trans-Atlantic COVID-19 testing program that will enable quarantine-free entry into Italy. The program conform to a decree expected to be issued soon by the government of Italy.

Starting December 19, Delta's trial will test customers and crew on newly re-launched flights from Atlanta Airport to Rome-Fiumicino International Airport. The tests will exempt from quarantine on arrival in Italy all European Union and Italian citizens as well as U.S. citizens permitted to travel to Italy for essential reasons, such as for work, health and education.

These passengers will need to test negative for COVID-19 through a COVID Polymerase Chain Reaction or PCR test taken up to 72 hours before departure, as well as three rapid tests; one in Atlanta before boarding, one on arrival in Rome-Fiumicino, and one before departure to the United States.

Customers also will be asked to provide information upon entry into the U.S. to support CDC contact-tracing protocols.

Delta has joined with healthcare services provider Mayo Clinic to review and assess the customer-testing protocols needed to execute a COVID-tested flight program.

Henry Ting, Chief Value Officer, Mayo Clinic, said, "Based on the modeling we have conducted, when testing protocols are combined with multiple layers of protection, including mask requirements, proper social distancing and environmental cleaning, we can predict that the risk of COVID-19 infection - on a flight that is 60 percent full - should be nearly one in a million."

The airline has also joined with the Georgia Department of Public Health to develop a blueprint for governments to reopen important international travel markets.

Rome airport already has implemented intra-Italy COVID-tested flight trial with Delta's Italian codeshare partner and Italy's flag carrier Alitalia.

Delta had suspended services to Rome in March due to the continued spread of COVID-19.

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