Days before June 20 and phase two of the reopening of the airports, a high level meeting at the Presidential Palace today will evaluate the ‘pilot run’ since June 9 and prepare for the next steps, Demetra Landou reports for Phileleftheros.
The first test with the opening of the airports has brought to the forefront concerns regarding the coronavirus outbreak, given that the vast majority of new Covid-19 cases reported in the past few days concern repatriations, she adds.
Fluctuations as regards the epidemiological situation of various countries led to changes in the lists of low and higher risk countries. Among the changes, Israel was moved from Group A countries (which from June 20 will not require a coronavirus free certificate) to Group B (which will continue to do so) while a number of Group B countries were moved to Group A.
Today’s meeting aims at the better coordination of the various ministries and departments, in view of phase two of the opening of the airports on June 20.
Taking part will be Hermes Airports, the ministries of health, transport and justice, the deputy ministry of tourism and police.
They will review experience gained so far since commercial flights started on June 9. The resumption of flights, with requirement for all arrivals to have tested for coronavirus prior to departure, except for Cypriots and residents who can do so here, was widely seen as a trial run in anticipation of Saturday.
However, Transport Minister Yiannis Karousos was quick to clarify yesterday that there are no changes in the planning when asked whether the fact that Cyprus’ new coronavirus cases were almost exclusively imported.
Rather, he said, the results show that Cyprus has prepared well for the opening of the airports. And he said that new rapid tests to be made available at the airports in the next few days will mean arrivals will not need to stay at hotels overnight but will simply wait at the airport for the result.
Phileleftheros also reports that instructions have been given to police as to how they should work with the health and transport ministries to locate and book those who break the self-isolation requirement.
Hermes Airports representatives will brief the meeting about what has been done regarding Cyprus’ air connectivity.
The situation regarding airlines remains fluid. Some airlines are starting their schedules on June 20, others are postponing them for later.
Tourism officials are also expected to set out their views regarding Cyprus’ biggest markets — the UK, Russia and Sweden — all of which remain in Group C which means that visitors are not currently allowed to come to Cyprus. Arrivals from Group C are restricted to Cypriots and permanent residents.