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UK should be added to Group B countries, but not yet, says Karayiannis

The United Kingdom should be added to Group B countries from which a PCR test certificate needs to be submitted, member of the team of experts advising the government on Covid-19 Petros Karayiannis has told CNA, noting that for the time being there are hurdles to adding the country to the list due to surges in cases there as well as local lockdowns.

Asked when the UK will be added and to which category, he said that “this depends on its epidemiological situation in the coming days,” adding that there is a spike now in the country with local lockdowns like that of Leicester.

“If there is a wider spread then it will be hard to incorporate it even in Category B,” he emphasised.

Asked to comment on Deputy Tourism Minister Savvas Perdios’ remarks that July 15 sounds like a very reasonable date for flights from the UK to start, Karayiannis said that if the country is added to Category B then Cyprus could welcome UK travellers upon submission of a Covid test.

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He added that it would be good to set a date for the start of flights from the UK so that travel agents and airlines can plan accordingly.

In response to a remark that Cyprus has recorded many imported cases, Karayiannis said that this does not raise concerns given that the cases are identified at airports.

“This is not a daily occurrence. It happens more or less every two days and they come from countries that we know are not part of the two groups,” he noted, mentioning that most of the cases in recent weeks were from Category C countries through interim stops.

He added that this will continue: “This situation is expected, that some who belong to Category C countries will travel from airports that fall within Category A or B. These people state their destinations on the form. If they don’t have a certificate upon arrival in Cyprus then their sample is taken at the airport.”

Asked if we should be concerned about the cases who test negative initially and positive later, Karayiannis said that Category C travellers self-isolate for 14 days. Therefore, he went on, we should not be concerned as there is no risk of transmission given that they adhere to the self-isolation.

Asked on vaccine progress, Karayiannis said that scientists are racing against time to find the right vaccine for Covid-19.

“There are 6-7 vaccines at the moment that are more advanced than others; two from the UK, one from Russia, one from the USA and two from China, which are at an advanced trial stage. We need to wait for the results,” he concluded.

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