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Coronavirus: Flight pass to double as ‘safe pass’ for tourists

Tourists will be able to move around freely in Cyprus using the flight pass obtained before travelling here in lieu of a ‘coronapass or ‘safe pass’, the tourism ministry told the Cyprus Mail on Friday.

“As long as you have a Cyprus flight pass you can move within the destination in areas where the coronapass is required,” deputy minister of tourism Savvas Perdios said in refence to visitors.

“The Cyprus Flight Pass will give them permission through email to travel to Cyprus, it will also be valid for their movement within the island,” Perdios added.

Cyprus Flight Pass was introduced after the pandemic outbreak to monitor the spread of the virus and has been a requirement for all passengers flying to the island, including Cypriots and permanent residents. People arriving from countries in the orange category must present a negative coronavirus test before their flight and must also get tested at the airport. Visitors from green category countries undergo a coronavirus test at the airport.

According to the rules, visitors coming from abroad must complete the flight pass document ahead of time providing information about their travel history in the last 14 days. Depending on the country’s epidemiological situation and flight categorisation, they should either attach a negative coronavirus test(s), or be vaccinated against Covid-19, or show they had previously contracted the virus and recovered.

The deputy minister said that “whatever applies for locals will be applied for tourists as well.”

This would seem to suggest that unvaccinated tourists whose tests would expire after 72 hours should continue testing during their stay if they wish to visit those places in the government decrees where a coronapass is required, such as restaurants, in the same way locals must.

However, after attempting to seek clarifications later on what the rules would be for unvaccinated tourists, in the absence of the minister, other sources within the tourism industry seemed to imply that these tourists would also be free to move around just using their flight pass in the same way as vaccinated tourists and without needing to re-test during their stay.

The ‘coronapass’ or ‘safe pass’ as it is now being referred to officially, is expected to be introduced in Cyprus with the lifting of the two-week lockdown on May 10. The pass will be required for people to visit cafes, restaurants, shopping malls, gyms, theatres and places of worship. Such a pass entails either having a negative Covid test carried out within the last 72 hours or having received at least one dose of the vaccine three weeks prior or having contracted the virus in the past six months.

Perdios earlier highlighted the importance of the scrapping of the SMS system from next week, which is expected to have a positive result on the tourism industry.

“We all hope that we will see a better tourism year than last year,” he said.

By the end of May, companies will have a clear picture about this holiday season, the deputy minister said.

Cyprus is available as a destination to 65 tourist markets, while vaccinated visitors have the additional advantage of not needing to be tested.

“This is very different from what was happening last year,” he said, where fewer markets were available and vaccinations had not yet started.

 

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