COVID19: Cyprus cases shoot up again, tourist list revised excluding Britain, Russia

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Cyprus reported eight new coronavirus cases on Sunday, mostly from repatriated Cypriots, a day after the island celebrated zero COVID-19 cases for the first time since the outbreak on March 9.

The Ministry of Health said of the 365 samples taken from Cypriots returning on repatriation flights, seven cases of COVID-19 were found, while the eighth case resulted from the contact tracing and tests among 142 cases of confirmed coronavirus patients.

This brings the total cases of recorded SARS-CoV-2 infections to 935, with daily reports throughout the past week recording a steady decrease and the government patting itself on the back for bringing the virus under control and removing all lockdown and curfew measures.

These included opening up all public schools on Thursday, although the number of pupils returning to their classes were less than expected.

At the same time, restaurants and cafés reopened for the first time since lockdown, serving customers only in open air areas, while local authorities welcomes beachgoers on Saturday, offering beach beds and allowing longer stays, which had been limited to only as long as was necessary for exercise purposes and a quick dip.

The Ministry of Health said the latest coronavirus cases resulted from 1,953 tests, of which 365 were conducted on Cypriots returning on repatriation flights, 142 from contact tracing linked to known COVID-19 cases. 190 from tests on people working at barbers and hair salons, beauty salons and tattoo parlours, 704 tests from students, teachers and staff at schools, 200 working in retail shops and construction sites, 172 in the health sector and 81 initiated by other private sector workers.

Five patients continue to be treated at Famagusta General, two at Nicosia General are intubated and two more are at the same hospital without assisted ventilation.

Meanwhile, the Cyprus government has revised the list of countries from where travellers will be allowed once Larnaca and Paphos airports fully reopen on June 9, with the second phase on June 20.

The ‘low risk’ countries one or less new cases per 100,000 population, or a COVID-19 mortality rates of up to 10 per 100,000 population or a permissible level of sporadic and cluster of cases, as per WHO definitions, are:

Malta, Greece, Bulgaria, Norway, Austria, Finland, Slovenia, Hungary, Israel, Denmark, Germany and Slovenia.

Countries classified as a ‘higher risk’ include:

Switzerland, Czech Republic, Poland, Romania, Croatia and Esthonia.

Cyprus’ best markets for tourism – Britain and Russia – together accounting for more than 50% of all holiday makers that reached a record 3 mln in recent years, are excluded from the list of countries that will be allowed to send passenger flights to Cyprus. All passengers will be checked at their departing airports before boarding their flights to Cyprus.

No passenger flights and holidaymakers will be allowed from any Middle Eastern countries as well, for the time being.