Delta Air Lines is about to launch a first-of-its-kind COVID-19 testing program that will finally allow trans-Atlantic travel.

According to a news release, the company teamed up with Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport and the Aeroporti di Roma to create a trial program that will enable quarantine-free entry into Italy.

Starting December 19, the trial will test both customers and crew on newly relaunched flights from Atlanta to Rome. 

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The State of Georgia and the Italian government have demonstrated leadership in testing protocols and practices that can safely reopen international travel without quarantine requirements.

Steve Sear, Delta

Under the program, all U.S. citizens who are permitted to travel to Italy for reasons such as work, health, and education will be exempt from quarantine.

To fly between Atlanta and Rome, customers will need to test negative for COVID-19 through four different means — A COVID test taken up to 72 hours before departure, a rapid test at the airport in Atlanta before boarding, a rapid test upon arrival in Rome, and a rapid test at Rome-Fiumicino before returning to the U.S. 

According to Delta, the company has worked closely with the Mayo Clinic to create the testing protocols needed for the program. 

"Based on the modeling we have conducted, when testing protocols are combined with multiple layers of protection... 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,” said Henry Ting, M.D., from the Mayo Clinic. 

Delta Air Lines has also worked with the Georgia Department of Public Health and the Italian government to safely reopen international travel. 

 
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