By George Psyllides and Andria Kades
The cabinet on Friday approved an action plan for easing flight restrictions on June 9 initially including 19 countries whose nationals would need a clean bill of health before flying to Cyprus.
Transport Minister Yiannis Karousos also announced the end of mandatory quarantine on May 25 and the opening of hotels on June 1 in line with health protocols, which will be announced next week.
The action plan included two phases, June 9 to 19, and June 20 onwards.
According to Karousos, the 19 countries have been placed in two categories according to their current epidemiological data.
The first category includes Greece, Malta, Bulgaria, Norway, Austria, Finland, Slovenia, Hungary, Israel, Denmark, Germany, Slovakia, and Lithuania. Six more were placed in category ‘B’: Switzerland, Poland, Romania, Croatia, Estonia, and Czechia.
During the first phase, passengers from countries in both categories would have to furnish a clear Covid-19 test conducted 72 hours previously before they are allowed to board an aircraft to Cyprus.
Cypriot nationals and legal residents would be allowed to take the test upon arrival on the island. They will remain in self-isolation until the result is issued.
In the second phase on June 20 onwards, travellers from the first category would not have to furnish a clean bill of health.
Those coming from countries in the second category will continue to need a health certificate issued 72 hours before departure.
Cypriot nationals and legal residents from those countries will be able to take the test on the island.
Flights from countries not included in the two categories will be allowed but only carrying Cypriot nationals or legal residents and people granted special permission, the minister said.
People from these countries will need a health certificate issued 72 hours before departure. Alternatively, the test can be done in Cyprus, but travellers would have to remain isolated for a day at a designated place or until the result comes out.
All passengers coming from countries not included in the two categories will remain in self-isolation at home for 14 days.
The cost of the test, travel, and quarantine will be paid by the passenger.
People from countries whose authorities cannot provide tests to passengers can be tested upon arrival on the island.
The health ministry continues the evaluation of epidemiological data in various countries in a bid to update the categories.
Deputy Tourism Minister Savvas Perdios said based on the evaluations, more countries may be added to the list in time, perhaps as early as next week.
Not many tourists are expected to come by June 9, he told CNA though more are expected to arrive after June 20 when the certificate will not be required for category A. Nonetheless, July may still be a slow month.
The deputy ministry will begin intensive campaigns to promote Cyprus abroad, particularly in light of its success on handling the pandemic.
Hotels are not expected to incur more costs by following the protocols expected to be laid out by the government next week but will undoubtedly have a fraction of their usual income by limiting the number of people so as to maintain social distancing.
For people already in quarantine by May 25 will be allowed to go home to spend the remaining days.
Those returning between May 25 and June 8 will be tested upon arrival and remain for one day at a designate place or until the result. They will then go home and self-isolate for seven days if coming from countries included in the two categories and 14 days from other countries.