Cyprus Mail

48 hour negative PCR test for travellers coming from China (updated)

Υπουργός Υγείας – Σύσκεψη με Συμβο
Health Minister Michalis Hadjipantela in Tuesday's meeting

Passengers arriving in Cyprus from China will be required to present a 48-hour negative PCR test for coronavirus before departure as part of the measures to address the surge of infections in the East Asian country.

Random tests will also be carried out on passengers, while a programme to test the airport wastewater will be implemented.

The health ministry has also recommended the use of face mask and called on travellers to observe personal protection and hygiene measures on all flights.

The decisions were announced by the health ministry following a meeting of Health Minister Michalis Hadjipantela with the scientific advisors on Tuesday afternoon. The measures will be put before the council of ministers on Wednesday for approval.

They follow similar measures taken by other countries such as the United States, Australia and Britain to address the situation.

Meanwhile, local experts have reiterated that there is no cause for concern after the increase of coronavirus cases in China, saying the dominant variant there had been detected in Cyprus in August last year.

Health ministry advisor Petros Karayiannis has said the surge concerns Omicron variants and that perhaps it was somewhat excessive that there was such a fuss. He added that it will be concerning if any new variant emerges because of the high transmission of the virus in China.

However, if immunity in the community drops to low enough levels the virus will find a way to circulate, the doctor said, calling on people to get jabbed.

According to health ministry data, the percentage of fully vaccinated people over 60 is 86.7 per cent, while those who received the fourth dose is 27.5 per cent and those aged 60 and older with the fifth is 5.5 per cent. In total, 86.1 per cent of the adult population is fully vaccinated while the rate for the entire population is 73.7 per cent.

Regarding XBB.1.5 – the most transmissible Omicron subvariant that has been detected so far – the World Health Organisation (WHO) and EU officials had said is being detected in small but growing numbers.

WHO on Tuesday advised countries to recommend the use of masks on long-haul flights citing its rapid spread in the United States, where the subvariant accounted for 27.6 per cent of Covid-19 cases in the United States for the week ending January 7.

The variant has also been detected in a number of European countries.

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