Black American Man Shares His Story Of Scary 20-Day Quarantine In Rome, Italy
Photo Credit: Jovan Thomas

Photo Credit: Jovan Thomas

Black American Man Shares His Story Of Scary 20-Day Quarantine In Rome, Italy

COVID-19 , Rome , Italy , traveler story
Brunno Braga
Brunno Braga Aug 4, 2021

What was supposed to be a normal return to the United States after an amazing European vacation, turned out to be a nightmare for American resident Jovan Thomas, who was forced to quarantine in Rome, Italy for 20 days.

On July 11, the 43-year-old Washington, D.C. based psychologist and United States Air Force veteran tested positive for Covid-19 at the airport in Italy, while waiting for his connection to the US.

He had just spent 10 days in Barcelona, Spain and Sardinia, Italy.

“Everything was perfect. I had a great time in Spain with friends. We enjoyed the beaches, the food and everything,” Thomas told Travel Noire.

However, the trouble started when he arrived in Rome. There, Thomas and his friends were tested at the airport, but he was the only person who tested positive for Covid-19.

He was taken to an Italian government facility for Covid positive persons, where he spent 20 days quarantining. Despite being fully vaccinated before heading to Europe, he was forced to quarantine in Rome from July 11 to  August 1. 

“I tested positive for Covid at the airport. I provided proof of my vaccination record along with my passport, but I was immediately quarantined, and against my efforts to inquire about what was going on, I was surrounded by three health officials from the Italian Ministry of Health. Within 20 minutes I was ushered into a van and taken to an unknown location to quarantine in an Italian government facility for Covid positive persons, detained immigrants, and a host of other travelers.”

The US Air Force veteran immediately called the US embassy hotline and was contacted by an agent. 

“He assured me that someone would come out and speak with me,” he explained. “I was able to contact him through his personal cell phone via WhatsApp, but no one visited me. I felt abandoned.”  

Coourtesy of Jovan Thomas

After spending 20 days living in anxiety, Jovan finally tested negative on August 1st, and was told he could get back home. 

“My fear was that I would continue to test positive and remain in quarantine forever,” Thomas said.

During this period, he never showed any symptoms. 

The biggest question, for Thomas, was where he got infected. Since he was not required to show a Covid-19 test before leaving the US, and all of his friends tested negative on the return home, he may have left the U.S. already infected— though he can’t say it is 100% true.

“It is a possibilty, but I really don’t know how I got Covid,” he explained.

Now, Thomas wants people to know that it is very important to get tested before flying to a foreign country, even if fully vaccinated against Covid-19.

“I’m not doing this for exposure, but I wanted to educate other travelers.”

According to Spain’s government, all international travelers must take a COVID-19 test before departing for Spain. Exemptions apply to travelers with a COVID-19 vaccination certificate showing a fully approved vaccination at least 14 days before.

However, the Biden administration put an order into effect requiring anyone flying into the United States to provide a negative result from a coronavirus test taken no more than three days before the trip, regardless of vaccination status.