Cyprus Mail

Coronavirus: Travellers from UK struggle to leave quarantine without breaking measures

Airport 01

Travellers from Britain ending their mandatory seven-day hotel quarantine period must make their own way back home, which in some cases could force them to flout the required further three-day self-isolation.

Speaking on Tuesday, permanent resident Joanna Clewley explained that she had left her car at Larnaca airport to ensure the trip back to her house in Famagusta could be carried out without being in contact with others.

“I only found out today, on my last day, that transport back to the airport from the hotel in Limassol will not be provided and I was told to make my own way back,” she told the Cyprus Mail.

“I had to ask and then they told us that we can’t use public transport either.”

The hotel quarantine programme for travellers from the UK was brought it on December 21 and has been extended until January 10.

Permanent residents travelling from Britain are required to take two tests: one at the airport and one after seven days. Provided both are negative, the final three days of the ten-day total self-isolation period are to be carried out at home.

Even so, Clewley’s remaining travel options seemingly put her at odds with the government’s own requirement for a further three days of self-isolation: either take a taxi from the hotel back to Larnaca airport to pick-up her car or have someone else help her get there.

Either option would mean being in a confined space with other people for over 15 minutes, which is the health ministry’s own classification for close contacts of positive cases.

To be sure, two negative tests are required to leave the quarantine hotel but the government still requires three more days in self-isolation.

“In the first place, I also asked them at the airport if I’d be able to drive my car and follow the bus to the hotel in Limassol but they said that was not allowed and now I’m told to find my own way back home, they could have at least arranged transport back to the airport where many people have left their cars,” Clewley said.

She also raised the question as to why residents from Famagusta were taken to hotels in Limassol, or why a hotel in Larnaca was not available for those with their cars at the airport.

“I just want other people to know about these issues because there has been a lack of information from the side of the government,” Clewley said.

“We understand it’s a terrible situation but they have to inform us so we can organise things as safely as possible, it seems they are trying so hard to get this right but then they mess it up.”

The health ministry was not immediately available for comment.

Others have been fortunate enough to have friends or family members who are able to drop off a spare car for those exiting the quarantine hotels, but for many that is not an option.

“I left my car at the airport too but in the end I tested positive so they took me to a resort with other people who tested positive, but they took me by ambulance,” Andreas Ioannou said.

“Using an ambulance, even if it was more or less just a six-seater car with ambulance written on it, seems like a waste of resources.”

Ioannou said he asked officials whether he would be able to drive himself there, but after a health ministry official sought further consultation he was told that the protocols must be strictly followed.

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