The first cases of the Indian variant of Covid-19 have been detected in Cyprus, the health ministry announced on Wednesday.

The variant was detected in four of the samples taken from people found positive to coronavirus. Two cases of the South African have also been detected.

According to the ministry, among the samples sent to the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC) for specialised tests, the Indian variant was detected in four of them, the South African in two and the British variant in 131.

Τhe samples concern cases detected mainly in April, the ministry said.

“The samples where the Indian and South variants were detected, concern people who arrived from Grey category countries after obtaining a special permit,” the health ministry said.

Three people arrived from India, one from Pakistan, one from the Philippines and one from Nepal. These people, upon arrival, were taken to hotels for a 14-day quarantine and, after they were found positive for coronavirus, were taken to a special quarantine area in Tersefanou. They did not come in contact with other people, the ministry said.

It said that all people arriving from Grey category countries must spend 14 days in quarantine. They must also either get PCR tests 72 hours prior to their arrival in Cyprus or get tested upon arrival.

“Despite the measures taken at the entry gates and the conditions for the arrival of passengers according to the country of arrival, there is always the possibility that the mutations will enter the community,” the health ministry said, stressing once more the importance of vaccination.

“As the new variants are more aggressive and cause increased transmissibility and spread of the virus, the only way the scientific community suggests to prevent mutations and curb the aggressive transmission they cause is high vaccination coverage of the population,” it added.

The health ministry urged people to respond positively to the calls for vaccination to ensure that the risk of the virus spreading to the community is reduced and to avoid the deterioration of the epidemiological situation.