The streamlined testing system at airports is up and running in Paphos – with results obtained within 90 minutes – with Larnaca expected to be ready by Thursday.
“We’re happy with the process so far – we have simplified the system, ironed out some issues and expecting good results,” Christos Papamichael, communications official of the transport ministry, told the Cyprus Mail.
He explained that the quick testing system at airports is not in fact a new type of test but instead laboratory settings have been set up at the airports.
The goal is to eliminate overnight stays at hotels for tourists and those being repatriated while they wait for their results. Instead, special areas at the airport have been designated where travellers wait for about two hours.
“There are mobile phone charging facilities, vending machines, toilets and everything else that is to be expected,” he said.
“As time has passed obviously everyone is more experienced and by setting up lab testing capabilities at the airport of course we reduce the amount of time taken,” he said.
Papamichael explained that the testing set-up is already operating at Paphos airport and the results so far are very promising, with travellers receiving their results within 90 minutes.
“There may be some bumps in the road, that’s inevitable, but we are pleased so far and we are constantly learning and evaluating the systems to make them as smooth as possible.”
Paphos reopened to air traffic on Sunday.
As regards to Larnaca airport, he said that preparations are underway and it should be ready by Wednesday or Thursday.
He also said that more testing machinery has been ordered as well as many more tests.
As for those who do test positive, health ministry spokesperson Margarita Kyriacou said that the process remains the same.
“If a tourist were to test positive then of course we have the designated hotels and if a repatriated person tests positive then they remain at home for two weeks,” she told the Cyprus Mail.
As for repatriation flights, it appears that Luton will remain the central hub in the UK.
Nikos Petrou, founder of a Facebook group helping students in the UK, told the Cyprus Mail that planned flights from Manchester and Edinburgh have been cancelled as only 12 people signed up for them.