COVID19: Nearly 800 quarantined as Cyprus flight ban enforced

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Some 779 people who returned to Cyprus from abroad since March 16 have been quarantined in seven hotels across the island, the Ministry of Health has said.

It has established a coordination centre through which all necessary steps are taken to ensure the safest and most comfortable possible transport and stay of the people who are in isolation.

In the framework of measures put in place to contain the coronavirus, the Ministry has placed in quarantine 779 who arrived in Cyprus from abroad since March 16 until 1500 hours of March 21.

Cyprus requires everyone who enters the country to have a health certificate and if allowed in must go into quarantine for two weeks at a government-designated facility.

Those who have arrived since Monday were placed in quarantine for a period of 14 days at seven hotels across Cyprus.

Another 439 people are expected to arrive in Cyprus from the UK on board three government-chartered flights.

The Health Ministry has established a Coordination Centre which is coordinating actions on a 24-hour basis to ensure as much as possible the comfortable and safe transport of those who are isolated in the hotels.

Citizens who arrive in Cyprus following an operation or who suffer from a serious illness or are accompanying minors are placed in isolation in their own homes.

To ensure that isolation rules “are strictly observed” National Guard soldiers are on duty outside premises and a private security company is guarding indoor hotel premises.

The Volunteerism Commissioner is organising the purchase and distribution of packages containing personal hygiene products.

Health officials will visit people in isolation to inform them about relevant coronavirus matters, the need to strictly follow the rules to contain the virus from spreading and to take their temperature.

Coordination is ongoing for the immediate provision of health care for anyone who needs it, in cooperation with their GPs, as well as the provision of medication they may need if it runs out.

All hotels hosting people in quarantine are provided with consumables such as gloves, masks and antiseptic liquid.

A decree has been in place from Saturday 0300 hours local time (0100 GMT) prohibiting flights to land in Cyprus airports for 14 days.

Cargo carrying aircraft are exempt, as well as flights arriving empty to transport foreign nationals back home, or flights which land for humanitarian or emergency reasons.

Paphos airport

In the meantime, eleven flights are scheduled to depart from Paphos airport for Berlin, London, Manchester and Birmingham to carry foreign nationals home.

Airport sources told CNA that it is likely that there will be more flights chartered by the British government to repatriate British nationals.

On Friday, over 715 passengers departed from Paphos on five different flights. Two flights took off for Manchester, one was bound for Stansted, another for Gatwick and one for Birmingham.