Cyprus’ improved epidemiological picture might help put the country on Britain’s green list within one or two weeks, a tourist industry professional said on Friday.
The significant drop in the island’s 14-day cumulative diagnosis rate to 431.6 from 689.3 per 100,000 residents moved Cyprus from the dark red to the red category based on the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC). The improvement is expected to translate into placement on the UK’s travel lists. It was previously estimated that the country would be upgraded in up to six weeks.
Cyprus is currently on the ‘amber’ category, which sees travellers incur a ten-day self-isolation upon return to Britain and undergoing two PCR tests.
“After a year and a half [since] the pandemic, the first signs of optimism began to appear,” said the head of the Cyprus Hotel Association (Pasyxe), Haris Loizides said after a meeting with the Leader of the ruling party Disy Averof Neophytou on Friday.
The good epidemiological picture shows that it is “very, very likely that Cyprus will soon be included in the green category and when I say soon, I mean the next one to two weeks,” he said.
Britain, one of the main tourist markets for the island, is expected to review the green, amber and red lists in early June, although the UK government has not yet confirmed an official date.
Neophytou called on the public to be extremely careful since “as the number of cases decreases, we are heading to the green category” which would help boost tourism and in turn contribute to the national economy.
He said hotels were one of the main sectors affected by the pandemic, but hoteliers started seeing an increase in their bookings after the recent relaxation.
“We have won the battle of the pandemic. We roll up our sleeves and we will win the battle of the economy,” Neophytou said.
To ensure the country’s upgrade when Britain next reviews its traffic light list, Transport Minister Yiannis Karousos called on everyone working in the tourist industry to get vaccinated.
“The United Kingdom, [gives] great importance in the percentage of vaccinated population in the assessment of countries,” Karousos said.
Cyprus allows vaccinated tourists from Britain and other countries to visit the island without a negative coronavirus test since May 1.
The airports in Larnaca and Paphos provide flights to 115 destinations from 50 companies in 35 countries, Karousos said. The number of countries is similar to 2019, when destinations included 40 countries, “which was the best tourist season we have ever had,” he added.