Travellers arriving from China must carry a negative PCR test taken 48 hours before departure to enter Cyprus, the Health Ministry announced on Tuesday, as part of a set of measures aimed to reduce the impact of a fresh COVID-19 outbreak in China.
Random tests will also be carried out on passengers, while a programme to test wastewater in airports and airplanes will be implemented.
The Health Ministry also recommended the use of personal protective masks and urged travellers to observe personal protection and hygiene measures.
The measure follows similar decisions taken by other EU countries and recommendations by the World Health Organisation.
In Europe, the XBB.1.5 subvariant is being detected in small but growing numbers, WHO/Europe officials said at a press briefing on Tuesday.
Passengers should be advised to wear masks in high-risk settings such as long-haul flights, said the WHO’s senior emergency officer for Europe, Catherine Smallwood, adding: “this should be a recommendation issued to passengers arriving from anywhere where there is widespread COVID-19 transmission”.
XBB.1.5 – the most transmissible Omicron subvariant that has been detected so far – accounted for 27.6% of COVID-19 cases in the United States for the week ending Jan. 7, U.S. health officials have said.
It remains unclear if XBB.1.5 will cause its own wave of infections around the world. Current vaccines continue to protect against severe symptoms, hospitalisation and death, experts say.