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Seattle times online article about testing positive in Italy

https://www.seattletimes.com/life/travel/a-dream-trip-to-italy-is-derailed-by-covid-19-what-happens-when-you-test-positive-abroad/?utm_source=email&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=a

Has anyone else read this article today? I know things will change in the next couple months but I am booked on the Heart of Italy tour on 4/22 and the final payment is due 2/20. I am debating postponing the trip until fall.
Will anyone talk be down from my panic? I am trying to pretend that the trip will happen but it is getting discouaging.
How many people are being forcibly quarantined like this? Hopefully a small number. I guess we all have to decide on our own level of being willing to risk it?
I am still trying to keep my travel dreams alive!

Posted by
10359 posts

Omicron is everywhere but you have until February 20th. It could be peaked and waning or gone by April, or not. This is how Italy handles cases when possible; they take it very seriously. Follow your gut instinct.

The health authorities are overwhelmed with cases for now. Too bad that these two couldn't stay where they were in the style they were accustomed to, but they are under Italian rules. They'll get it figured out eventually. Will contacting their hometown newspaper and claiming to be held prisoners make a difference to the Italian health authorities? I'd ignore an article meant to alarm readers (click bait) but pay close attention to what people on the ground are saying on forums like this one and Trip Advisor.

« At the mercy of national governments.... » Oh please send in the Marines to rescue these poor babes in the woods. What awful journalism.

Posted by
2744 posts

April 22 is a long time from now. From what I have read, the experts think Omicron will peak later this month. That's no guarantee of course, but if they are right, the risk of getting Covid will be lower by April. If it were me, I would stick with the April trip. Who knows if the fall will be any better. You are correct that each person has to decide what level of risk they are comfortable with. These are not easy decisions. I wish you luck.

Posted by
5137 posts

Forcibly quarantined? What do you not understand about what quarantine means? Of course you can't leave your accommodations (other than for medical care). Not until you're cleared to leave by the local health authority. There seems to be a high whine factor from the couple involved, and I think we're only getting a small part of the whole picture.

Many countries are much stricter with their protocols than the US. No surprise there. As to the numbers? There are several sites that publish current COVID statistics for most countries. Tourists are no more immune than residents, so it's reasonable to assume that they would make up a proportion of the numbers.

Travel right now includes acknowledging the risk of catching COVID while abroad. Hence the need to plan ahead for that possibility and have the appropriate insurance coverage. Only you can decide what your risk tolerance is and whether you should go or not. But from a pandemic standpoint, April is a very long way off, and the situation will undoubtedly change multiple times before then. Maybe for the better. Maybe not. Perhaps wait and see until just before final payment is due.

Posted by
4351 posts

I am sorry but when I read this earlier today, it just sounded like either it was badly reported or the people involved were those who just think it can never happen to them and don’t prepare accordingly. I know this is colored by the fact they are from Dallas and I run into that mindset often. However that whole “dentist and has her hands in people’s mouths….” sentence makes me feel like it was the latter (not very kind and generous of me, I know).

We all need to be honest with ourselves and know it can happen to us if we travel and be ready with a plan or the ability to make a plan. And if we can’t afford the time for quarantine, even if we have insurance and can afford the cost, it’s a good time to stay home.

However, that being said, you are signed up for a RS tour - not traveling on your own - and I suspect you will not be there, even with a positive test, without a good resource. But you would still either miss part of your tour or have to stay longer. But not without a contact in the country. IF the tour goes. And as others have said, April is a long way away.

My next solo trip is planned to head off in April for 3 weeks, plus I have another in March (with time in between) so maybe I am not the best responder. :)

Posted by
30 posts

Thanks for the replies. I am not trying to be overly dramatic and I am trying to take a deep breath and relax.
Right now we are trying to remain optimistic and keep on track with our date and wait for any updates that come from RS office.

Posted by
1103 posts

We booked two RS tours for 2022 but have cancelled the one for May. We have until early May to decide on the September trip. We are not worried about getting seriously ill with COVID, although it is a concern if one has to use European healthcare facilities for other reasons, given possible capacity issues. We are retired, so a quarantine would not affect our returning to work on schedule. Quarantine just sounds incredibly boring at the least, as well stressful having to worry about the possibility of it happening. If a PCR test is required, for example, it can show a positive result weeks after infection, so you would have to obtain certification that you have recovered.

We have accepted the fact that travel to Europe may not be possible for us in 2022. If this is the case, we will be sad and disappointed, but also relieved in a way.

Posted by
2113 posts

I doubt anything is missing from the story. I think it’s just a case of not really getting what quarantine really means, not being in control, and feeling sorry for themselves. I’d feel sorry for myself too, but the risk of testing positive is real and it’s a risk of traveling theses days. Some people can’t roll with the punches.

Posted by
6788 posts

Look at the photo -- the woman is wearing her mask *UNDER HER NOSE* -- doesn't appear to be following the most basic, simple public health requirements, doesn't understand them, doesn't care -- as long as she gets that selfie! That she would pose for a photo, with her "chin diaper" and not even recognize what a fool she appears to be, is just breathtaking.

This level of arrogance and willful, blissful ignorance is why we are where we are. God help us.

"High whine" -- quite the understatement. How many people have these entitled fools infected? And she is a dentist, a medical professional? Lady, get your germy hands out of my mouth!! FEH!!!!

Posted by
33336 posts

begging restaurants that do deliver to bring five or six large cups of Powerade.

good luck with that.

A room with a balcony isn't good enough, paid for by the government?

Posted by
9888 posts

The Powerade comment killed me . . . also the part about HEARING OTHER COVID PATIENTS THROUGH THE WALLS

Posted by
200 posts

I agree with other commenters!! This couple should have been prepared for the quarantine possibility. I recently tested positive (breakthrough case) on the final day of a domestic trip to visit family. It reinforced the importance of being mentally and logistically prepared for Covid during travel with plans for where you might stay (ideally with more than one room if someone else in your party isn't infected), a food source and at least some idea of where you might get medical care if needed. We're scheduled on an overseas trip in June 2022. I'm on the fence. It was harder than I expected to "think straight" even with only mild symptoms. I would have felt overwhelmed if I had to figure out logistics in a different country at that point.

Posted by
7722 posts

I won't attack or comment on the couple, except to say that I understand they are angry, upset, and the Covid Hotel may not be up to their usual standards, read any 1 or 2 star tripadvisor review and you hear the same comments.

However, this quote from the article got me: Unfortunately it’s pretty common for someone to get COVID-19 while traveling, especially for people that are gone for longer and on trips to see family,” said Sudeep Shah, a travel agent

No, it is not common Mr. Travel Agent, unless you mean everyday some test positive among the 1000's or 100,000. It is a risk, one you should be prepared for, one you should understand how it will work and how you progress out of Quarantine, and what documentation you need to show clear. You have to realize you are subject to Italian regulations, calling "the Embassy" is a silly waste of your time, and theirs.

Posted by
9888 posts

Sharon makes an excellent point that bears repeating:

It was harder than I expected to "think straight" even with only mild symptoms. I would have felt overwhelmed if I had to figure out logistics in a different country at that point.

Posted by
4600 posts

Caryn, you need to decide for yourself what your comfort level is for a trip in April. Can you afford (in every sense of the word) to go through what these folks are doing?

Since you're asking, I would push any trip towards the fall. I would bet the RS team would do the same.

Posted by
302 posts

For Caryn- you technically have almost 6 weeks until you must make a decision. At that point, either omicron will have peaked and cases will be declining- or not. I am guessing you booked this tour when RS resumed travel and the outlook was more positive.
So the question then becomes, to contemplate while you are waiting, do you want to go through this again? If you cancel and rebook for the fall, it's the same 50-50 situation you find yourself in now. The virus has proven repeatedly that it will not have a definitive "end"- and will likely have to become part of our trip planning, at least for now, whether to the local grocery store or across the ocean.
It's interesting to compare this piece about the Texans now stuck in Italy with the Forum post a few days ago from the family with some members who also tested positive when returning from France- she was quite matter-of-fact, and they had made their own quarantine arrangements per French guidelines that were safe and for which they had planned (food and etc). Certainly there was no blame cast at the French government nor blame for France as far as where along the way they had been exposed! And I just can't help adding about her mask that I noticed, too, it was NOT worn correctly :) If they were truly worried about their Covid exposure risk they needed N95s or KN95s worn with the nose fully covered....I wonder if that was the only pic they could find for the article where they were masked. Anyway, if it was their photo opp, at the fall wedding in the US I attended my N95 never came off for a second and is featured in the wedding photos for posterity.
Which leads to your own risk management for your trip. Putting it in perspective is important! You are going on a dream vacation, it's not a family emergency. If you decide to go ahead, you need to have contingency plans in place- can you afford that? If not, that should drive your decision, not emotion. That couple from Texas chose to go ahead with their plans but aren't taking responsibility for their actions.

And to your question about quarantine, in Xian there are millions of people currently quarantined by order of the government who can only send someone out for groceries every couple days.
I am currently using leave (so fortunate to have it!) for the rest of the month to avoid exposure at work because of a high risk family member, despite us all being vaxxed/boostered, I know too many breakthrough cases to take a chance. My niece and nephew have been quarantined for going on 3 years because their child isn't eligible for the vaccine and now it's more dangerous than ever. Would they have come to our Thanksgiving last year if they knew then what is happening now? I hope not....anyway, my point is that you are in the privileged position of deciding how much risk you are willing to take. If only somebody had a crystal ball, and we knew what was going to happen. I do miss traveling and wish you good luck that it works out so you can go!

Posted by
17 posts

Reserved my $400 trip-deposit for the June 13-22 Venice/Florence/Rome tour back on May 27, 2021 (literally, I think, the very first day that Rick started taking reservations for 2022), thinking that most of the pandemic would be a distant memory over a year in the future, but man...now I'm starting to get slightly skittish about whether COVID will even be settled down six months from now or not, and am wondering if I should maybe postpone my trip.

Fully vaxxed (and got my Moderna-booster the day before Thanksgiving), but if Omicron or another variant is still raging in Europe in June, the risk of having to quarantine goes up too. Ugh.

Posted by
84 posts

Honestly, I don't think they are whining. First, the Italian Government hasn't even verified they have Covid via a PCR test. The couple reported their home test results to the hotel staff, and they were sent away to quarantine. The article says they must quarantine 10 days after a PCR positive result, and they haven't even gotten the test yet. I'm not sure what date the article was written for them.

I'm not sure about our trip as we will be going to 3 countries, and I just don't want the hassle. I'm not afraid to travel as this year I went to Salt Lake City, Park City, Vail, Breckenridge, Glacier National Park, Maui and Orlando. But I don't want to be stuck somewhere I'm not familiar. I do think I would wait it out until close to your cancellation date before deciding as things will probably change. Our trip is not until August, so I have some time before deciding.

Posted by
37 posts

Anyone who travels out of their country, needs to feel very fortunate if they do NOT test positive when they test before returning home or after they get home.