Cyprus divides countries into groups for reopening flights

Cyprus on Friday presented a roadmap for resumption of commercial flights next month from selected countries with low COVID-19 infection rates, news wires reported. Transport Minister Yiannis Karousos said flights will begin in two phases, on 9 and 20 June, from two groups of countries, recommended by an advisory body of medical experts.

The first group is comprised of Greece, Malta, Bulgaria, Norway, Austria, Finland, Slovenia, Hungary, Israel, Denmark, Germany, Slovakia and Lithuania. The second group is made up of Switzerland, Poland, Romania, Croatia, Estonia and the Czech Republic.

More countries will be added to the two groups in the coming days, the minister said. Medical experts will assess the course of the pandemic in the UK and Russia before flights from those countries can begin.

Karousos said starting on 9 June, passengers arriving from countries in either group must obtain three days prior to departure a health certificate confirming that they are virus-free. Starting 20 June, passengers from the first group of countries won’t need health certificates, but those from the second group will still be required to obtain them.

Aircraft arriving from any country not included in either group will only be permitted to carry Cypriot citizens or foreign nationals who permanently reside in Cyprus, or anyone who has been granted special permission. These passengers will also have to obtain a health certificate three days prior to departure. They can opt to be tested in Cyprus, but will have to stay in self-isolation for one day in designated accommodation.

Passengers arriving from any other country are required to self-isolate at home for 14 days. Anyone arriving from countries that don’t have labs capable of conducting specialized tests for the virus can be tested in Cyprus. Passengers will have to cover costs relating to testing, quarantine accommodations or transport.

Karousos said hotels that have been shuttered since a strict stay-at-home order was imposed in late March, and lifted earlier this week, will open their doors on 1 June. Cyprus relies heavily on tourism. The sector directly accounts for 13% of the east Mediterranean island nation’s gross domestic product. Government tourism officials estimate that the country will lose 70% of the initially anticipated €2.6bn tourism-generated revenues this year.

So far, Cyprus, with a population of around 880,000, has reported 927 confirmed coronavirus infections and 17 deaths.

More on this subject: Coronavirus

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