COVID19: Cyprus quarantines 75 people who breached travel ban

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Some 75 people, including 30 Cypriots students who tried to enter Cyprus without proof they did not have coronavirus were quarantined rather than sent back after ugly scenes at the airports.

Initially, Cyprus authorities denied entry to 30 Cypriot students on board two EasyJet flights arriving at Larnaca and Paphos airports after Monday’s 6 pm health certificate deadline came into force.

As of 6 pm on Monday, entry into Cyprus is only permitted to citizens and residents who present a recent health certificate from their country of origin.

Anyone, without proof they are Covid-19-free will be sent back.

The medical certificate must not be older than four days.

The 30 Cypriot students and other passengers tried to beat the deadline as they did not have the necessary health certificate.

An EasyJet flight from Manchester arrived at Paphos at 7.15 pm while the other was an EasyJet flight from Gatwick which arrived in Larnaca at 7.30 pm.

The students were initially told that they would have to return to the UK, but things got heated with students refusing to leave.

Government officials later decided to allow the students in, under the conditions that they would be quarantined for 14 days.

At some point, the police were called in with officers caught on camera pushing back the students who had attempted to enter the airport.

All 75 passengers on both the flights have been taken to designated quarantine facilities on the Troodos mountains where they will remain for 14 days.

Posted by Rafaella Miroslavova on Monday, 16 March 2020

Another flight arriving from Qatar at 6.02 pm was sent back, with the exemption of three passengers who carried the required health certificate, they were also transferred to the Troodos quarantine facilities.

The students were allowed in after the intervention of Transport Minister Yiannis Karousos, who was fuming with companies who allowed passengers on their planes who did not carry the health certificate.

There were Turkish Cypriots university students are among the passengers who arrived Monday night at Larnaca airport from the UK and are now in quarantine.

The Health Ministry has informed the Turkish Cypriot side that these students have the choice to be transferred to the north by ambulance that will come from the occupied areas.

He warned that allowing these flights in was a one-off and would not happen again while the new entry regulations existed.

“No company or anybody should try to violate the decree,” he said.

He said the government was reviewing what legal measures could be taken against the company or its representatives who allowed the passengers to board.

Karousos said the Foreign Ministry has received many calls from Cypriots stranded abroad, either because they were on holiday or for health reasons.

“The government will convene and make announcements on Tuesday about what will happen with these cases.”

Cypriot citizens stranded in the UK as a result of the coronavirus outbreak and measures taken by authorities can contact the following numbers for instructions +44 7899755851 and +44 7444362325.