The government will charter flights to repatriate those stranded abroad and eligible to enter Cyprus under stringent entry restrictions aiming to contain the spread of coronavirus.
A start will be made with the UK with Transport Minister Yiannis Karousos saying that a hotline has been set up for those who fulfill the provisions of the decree and have the required certificate and are in the UK or can travel via the UK.
The number of call centre is 24841100. The centre will be in operation until 2 am tonight. It will re-open tomorrow from 8 am to 8 pm.
— Yiannis Karousos (@yianniskarousos) March 19, 2020
Karousos said that the call centre has the list of names of those who are eligible and have the required documents.
To be eligible, passengers must either have a certificate that they have tested negative for coronavirus or confirmation from a Cyprus diplomatic mission that they were abroad for medical reasons or on short, professional visits or holidays.
All arrivals are quarantined for 14 days.
The government had tried to persuade airlines that have been flying to Cyprus to pick up tourists to bring Cypriots wishing and eligible to return. But because of difficulties in finding flights, the government has decided to charter flights.
The minister clarified that some flights may arrive at Larnaca or Paphos airports after the decree prohibiting all passenger flights comes into force at 3 am on Saturday, March 21. The ban will be in force for two weeks.
He said people should not be concerned if they do not secure a seat tomorrow, because the airline which will repatriate them will secure a special exemption to fly in.
Foreign Minister Nicos Christodoulides said that diplomatic missions have issued about 1300 documents to those eligible to return.