A decision to include the United Kingdom in the list of countries from which travel to Cyprus is allowed, is likely to be taken in August, one of the experts advising the government on the coronavirus outbreak told CNA on Wednesday.
Assistant Professor of Internal Medicine & Infection Prevention and Control at the European University Constantinos Tsioutis said it was very likely that the United Kingdom will be included in one of the groups of countries from which visitors are allowed to come to Cyprus, in August.
If that is the case, then it will be Group B, which requires passengers arriving to Cyprus to have a valid negative coronavirus certificate, he said.
Everything depends on the epidemiological picture the country will present in the coming days he said, adding that on the basis of the data so far it would be “very difficult for it to be included in any group in the coming weeks.”
“It is my personal estimation that right now it (the UK) could not be included in a group, whether A or B, and if it is decided to include it in a group it will B and it would have to be done towards the end of this month, possibly in August, provided that the epidemiological picture is that there is a reduction (in cases),” the expert said.
Should it be decided to include the UK in one of the groups in order to support the tourist industry, then additional measures or monitoring may possibly have to be taken, he added.
Asked whether he is worried about the fact that most new coronavirus cases reported in Cyprus are imported, Tsioutis said that this was expected. But he said good safeguards are in place, both to monitor and classify countries and also as regards the steps to be taken should people test positive through tracing of their contacts.
“It is expected and it is something which ought to make us alert which means that the measures already in place will continue,” he said, explaining that he was referring to laboratory testing, random testing and the classification of countries in A and B groups, a classification which is updated.
“This is why we have a specific team, which monitors this picture on a daily basis and recommends to the Ministry to change the category a country is included in when necessary,” he noted.
Asked whether it is expected that new COVID-19 cases will increase further, Tsioutis explained that as the number of people arriving from abroad increases, the number of new cases will also increase, adding that right now one cannot predict how big the increase will be. “The goal is for the numbers to remain at a manageable level,” he said.
Group A is made up of low risk countries Australia, Austria, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Germany, Greece, Switzerland, Japan, Hungary, Iceland, Latvia, Liechtenstein, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Malta, Norway, Slovakia, Slovenia and South Korea.
Group B concerns countries with increased risk compared to Group A. It currently lists Bulgaria, Belgium, France, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Lebanon, Jordan, Holland, Spain, Poland, Romania, Serbia and United Arab Emirates.
Passengers arriving from Category A countries are not obliged to present a coronavirus-free certificate. Passengers arriving from Category B countries, must have been tested by a recognised laboratory within the last 72 hours prior to their departure and have a negative PCR certificate for COVID-19.
All passengers, irrespective which country they are arriving from, must submit an application at CyprusFlightPass (https://cyprusflightpass.gov.cy/) within 24 hours prior to their flight’s departure.