News Local 72 to be repatriated from Athens this afternoon (updated)

72 to be repatriated from Athens this afternoon (updated)

A total of 72 people who have secured the necessary documentation are to be repatriated to Cyprus later today.

The Foreign and Transport Ministries said that an Aegean airlines flight from Athens is due at Larnaca Airport at 16.30 today with 72 passengers.

According to an official announcement, after considerable effort it was possible to gather 26 people in Qatar from Australia (17), Qatar (3), Philippines (2), China (1), Japan (1) South Korea (1) and Sri Lanka (1).

They will board the Aegean flight, joining 46 being repatriated from Greece.

All arriving passengers must do 14 days of quarantine in state facilities.

The flight is being offered by Aegean and Hellenic Petroleum which supplied the fuel and the government said it wanted to express its thanks to both companies.

The same airplane will leave 50 minutes later, taking 116 passengers to Athens, the Cyprus News Agency reported earlier.

A ban on all commercial flights is currently in force but the Transport Minister has the right to authorise rescue flights to bring back people stranded abroad and take home tourists and others from Cyprus.

Thousands of Cypriots and other residents have signed up to a portal set up by the Foreign Ministry as it seeks to begin organising repatriation flights.

Strict rules are in force limiting permission only to those who travelled abroad for medical reasons or on a short business trip or holiday.

This excludes the bulk of students, with the exception of those with medical issues.

All must secure a necessary certificate from the diplomatic missions of the Republic of Cyprus abroad to be allowed to board.

As flights have stopped, the only effective option are the rescue flights being organised by the government.

The foreign ministry has indicated that such flights will be carried out from Athens and London, which would require those stuck abroad to make their way there.

The government is under pressure from the families of students, particularly those in the UK where the coronavirus outbreak has deteriorated, to bring them home.

Two students have gone to court asking for an injunction to be allowed home.

Payment of allowance to students abroad starts on Monday

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