Covid, Sicilian airports prepare the corner for tampons

For now it’s just a hypothesis, but driven by the alarms coming from the Land of the Dragon, the prevention machine has already started: after the latest anti-Covid ordinance from the Ministry of Health, which obliges Chinese citizens who have entered Italy to antigen test at the airport and in case of molecular positivity, with subsequent sequencing, an area dedicated to swabs could return to the airports of Palermo and Catania, as happened in the darkest months of the pandemic. Yesterday, in fact, ENAC, the national civil aviation body, ordered Falcone e Borsellino to make available an ad hoc corner, which Gesap, the airport management company, promptly identified in the spaces of the Terminal C, while the Sac di Fontanarossa has also made itself available to rearrange a place dedicated to screening.

But will the service actually be activated or not? And by whom will it be carried out, considering that the new directives coincide with the dismantling of the commissioner structures for the epidemic emergency, which in the past, in Palermo and Catania, guaranteed the monitoring of arriving passengers? To answer the first question, remarks Claudio Pulvirenti, regional director of the Usmaf, the maritime, air and border health offices that report to the ministry, “we need to interpret the text of the ordinance, and understand if the obligation to swab only concerns direct flights», thus involving only the airports of Rome and Milan, «where the tests have already started», or also the indirect routes, «therefore the triangulations, which would bring the Sicilian airports into play, where there are no planes coming from China, but a Chinese can very well arrive by making intermediate stops».

In fact, the ministerial text includes «all subjects entering from China», without distinction between direct or indirect flights: a clarification, continues Pulvirenti, «which we expect in the next few hours, through a circular. We remain ready, even if, in the event of activation of the service, the critical issues that we know well would recur». At least three, the same ones found after the ordinances, national and regional, which in the pandemic involved a long list of countries, from India to Malta. The first would concern the airlines, obliged, once again, to ask the passengers in question for a negative test upon boarding, even before the swab to be carried out on arrival: a practice, notes Pulvirenti, “which has often been circumvented”. The second criticality instead consists in the obligation itself: in theory, once they land, the Chinese must undergo the test, “but as has already happened in the past for passengers of other nationalities, it will not be easy to enforce the provision”.

Finally, the problem of “long triangulations” would be re-proposed, because “if it is quite simple to know when a foreign citizen makes a stopover, for example, in Paris to arrive immediately after in Sicily, everything becomes more complicated if the Paris stopover turns into a stay” . On the other hand, the question of personnel is much clearer: who will do the swabs, considering that Usmaf is short of sanitary ware? Certainly not the commissioner structures run in Palermo by Renato Costa and in Catania by Pino Liberti, who met yesterday in the capital of Etna to give , both underline, «the warm and due farewell to “our” boys, to the doctors, nurses, technicians and administrators who have stemmed the advance of the virus on the island» and who, Costa remarked, «will be at the Fair until 31 December of the Mediterranean to make vaccines, like the Japanese soldiers who remained in the jungle”.

It is therefore obvious that any swabs at the airport will be administered by the staff of the provincial health authorities. The Asp of Palermo is already working on it, as well as communicating its intention to maintain the swab and vaccine service at the Fair at this stage, while three other centers for the administration of the anti-Covid serum will be activated from 2 January: all The opening of the Villa delle Ginestre hub, scheduled for today, will be joined next Monday by the «Biondo» Presidium in via La Loggia, the Enrico Albanese in via Papa Sergio I and the dedicated Tommaso Natale Centre. All the information is available on the company website Users will have the option to book the venue, day and time slot for administration of the serum or register access to the drive-ins.

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