Cyprus Mail

Coronavirus: Around 3,000 people to be repatriated in May

Around 3,000 Cypriot citizens and legal residents are expected to be repatriated throughout the month of May, Transport Minister Yiannis Karousos said on Monday, adding that between 200 and 300 people are currently daily being flown back to the country.

Karousos said that since March 21, when the decree banning commercial flights came into force, a total of 5,056 people have been repatriated, 4,126 of them between April 13 and May 3.

“The repatriation programme will continue as long as the flight ban lasts,” Karousos said.

Around 80 Cypriots are waiting to be brought back from Russia, as a repatriation flight scheduled to leave Moscow on May 3 has been cancelled and will need to be rescheduled.

“We hope that it will be able to leave tomorrow, if not the ministry will charter a flight to bring them back as it is doing with the UK and Greece.”

At the moment, the majority of repatriation flights have taken off from London, both from Gatwick and from Heathrow airports, Edinburgh, Bristol, Birmingham and Manchester in the UK and from Athens and Thessaloniki in Greece.

Frankfurt airport, on the other hand, served as a repatriation hub for Cypriots living and working in as many as 30 countries.

A repatriation flight from the Netherlands is scheduled to land at Larnaca airport in the next few days.

“We had to face a great deal of different situations so far and we are doing our best to repatriate those who have expressed their wish to do so,” Karousos said, adding that now people who have to attend funerals in Cyprus are being brought back as well.

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