Cyprus Mail

Coronavirus: More tests to be carried out on arrivals

Health authorities said on Tuesday they were ramping up screening at airports in a bid to catch infected people early as flights to the island increase.

“In light of the expansion of the flight programme to Cyprus’ airports, the increase in the number of random checks aims to ensure that imported infections are spotted in time, enabling better management and limiting the possibility of transmission of the virus to the community,” the health ministry said in a statement.

The ministry said the number of passengers undergoing random testing upon arrival would be increased to 600 from 300 daily.

In addition, the ministry will adopt the suggestion of the scientific advisory committee to raise the number of tests using a particular method at no extra cost with the aim of maximising the number of people taking part.

The method is expected to be applied in the next few days.

It is understood that authorities will be applying group, or pool, testing, where small groups of people are tested using only one test.

It is a faster method where samples from several individuals are mixed together and tested as one. If positive, the pool members are retested individually.

The health ministry also on Tuesday issued a new decree specifying asylum seekers will be tested for the coronavirus before being admitted to reception centres.

For refugees currently in either of the two migrant centres, the head of the asylum service will determine whether they are tested or re-tested.

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